Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-24
Observation: Paul finishes the letter to the Ephesians by encouraging them to be strong in the Lord and protect themselves against the enemy and evil of the world.
Application: Remember your high school prom and the process of renting a real three-piece suit? It took a lot of work to find the perfect suit for you (or in the case of most ladies, for your date). You had to find a vest or tie in a color that perfectly matched your date's dress, you had to decide whether you were going with a classic black or a more trendy (but not really) white suit. You had to decide if you were going to top it all off with a hat. (Please, Lord, NO. Just....no.) And then when it came time for prom itself, you had to put it all on , which was a process in and of itself. It was time to suit up.
Paul talks about how we all need to "suit up" -- although we're not suiting up to take prom pictures; we're suiting up for quite a bigger purpose:
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all of the strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places.”
Okay, Paul, I was following you up until “stand firm,” and then it got pretty dark pretty fast. Strategies of the devil? Evil rulers? Authorities of the unseen world? Mighty powers in this dark world? Evil spirits? What are you even talking about Paul?
While Paul’s words certainly aren’t something you’re going to find on the back of a coffee mug, they’re important. In fact, they’re essential to understanding the true calling God has put on our lives.
Simply put, Paul’s saying there’s evil in the world. The devil is real. He’s not just some creature in a Halloween costume with devil ears and a pitchfork – he’s the real deal. In 1 Peter 5:8, we read that the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” This just keeps getting darker. Trust me, I know.
The devil has one goal: to keep us from Christ. And he’s deceptively good at it. He’ll attack us by any means necessary to keep us from pressing on towards Jesus. He’ll use a relationship, an opportunity, a setback, a whisper, anything he can manipulate to keep our eyes on the things of this world and off Jesus. His attacks don’t always feel like deafening blows; they sometimes feel like small disappointments and doubts. They can leave us discouraged, doubtful, deceived, looking for answers in all the wrong places, questioning truth, and forgetting our true purpose.
But the good news is God is bigger than the devil, and he’s equipped us to take him on as well. We just have to suit up:
“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”
Put on truth, peace, righteousness, faith, salvation, the Word of God – and nothing can defeat you. No lie, no whisper, no relationship, no situation, no physical ailment, no hurt can defeat you. You can resist all evil, and in the end, you will be standing firm.
Today, ask yourself where you’ve let evil into your life. What lies do you believe about yourself that aren’t true? What have you fooled yourself into thinking is acceptable but is actually sinful? Where have you let greed, pride, and selfishness take root in your life?
Suit up, stand firm. Your God is bigger.
Prayer: God, thank you for giving me every weapon I need to defeat evil in my life. I pray I can wear your armor, that it’ll protect me from every attack, every lie, every deceit. I praise you and pray I can walk boldly and strongly in your strength today. Amen.