Bert Lewis, faithful and gifted writer for Live and Proclaim Ministries sent this article in late June. It was to be the ministry website article for July. A long list of unexpected responsibilities, commitments, travel, and other issues developed in July so I suspended posting on Live and Proclaim until August. God knew the perfect timing for this article. During the last week our national news reports have been rampant with violence and vitriol…a perfect time for Christians to be reminded of the real battle that we face and how we are to arm ourselves to win. The message of this article is vital to a daily walk with our Savior that is filled with peace and rest. Tommye Lambert, President, Live and Proclaim
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11)
Temptation in this life never ends. Satan, the father of lies is pleased when we give into temptation. He knows that as a child of God he can’t change our relationship with our Heavenly Father, so he instead tries to break our fellowship with Him, and at the same time destroy our testimony before others.
We have all faced temptation, but it’s hard to imagine any time in which temptation to sin and secular conformity has been greater than it is today. As adults, we face many temptations in our careers, in our marriages, as we lead our families and in many other situations. Our children encounter temptation in the decisions they face, as well: to conform to peer pressure in order to be accepted, whether or not to remain sexually pure until marriage, appropriate friendships, plus many more.
Human temptation began in the Garden and has been with us ever since. A vital question faces Christians as we are bombarded with ever increasing temptations:
How do we keep temptation from becoming sin and avoid suffering the resulting painful consequences?
Thankfully, God’s Word provides the answer:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”
Paul knew spiritual warfare was real and he knew those in the church at Ephesus faced their own temptations. Using the image of a Roman soldier, he set forth the means in which Christians can stand against these evil schemes. Notice in the passage that Paul says, “the whole armor of God”, both the defensive weapons to shield from attacks and the one offensive weapon, the “sword of the Spirit” or the Word of God. Paul used this image so the people in the church at Ephesus would know that the LORD had provided them all the spiritual resources necessary to stand firm.
As Christians, we must be fully armed to battle against the world today. It is not really the world we are battling, but “spiritual forces of evil,” and our world is just a pawn. Far too often, we battle temptation in our own strength. Instead of His armor, we put the armor of self-help, a determined inner will or our own best effort. The devil loves it when we clothe ourselves with that kind of armor because it spells our certain defeat. The battle can never be fought in the flesh. Our flesh is weak. But when we put on the whole armor of God; now that’s real power, power that comes from a Divine source; the Spirit of God working through His Word.
Why is it we keep relying on our best efforts when they fail us over and over? Will we ever humble ourselves and realize we are no match for the enemy? Will we be weak enough to gain real strength, strength that comes from above?
Paul knew God’s strength was magnified in his weakness, and Paul’s only surrender in battle was to his Savior, Jesus Christ. Isn’t it time you surrendered to Him as well?