10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength. 11 Put on God’s armor so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. 12 We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. 13 Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. 14 So stand with the belt of truth around your waist, justice as your breastplate, 15 and put shoes on your feet so that you are ready to spread the good news of peace. 16 Above all, carry the shield of faith so that you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.
18 Offer prayers and petitions in the Spirit all the time. Stay alert by hanging in there and praying for all believers. 19 As for me, pray that when I open my mouth, I’ll get a message that confidently makes this secret plan of the gospel known. 20 I’m an ambassador in chains for the sake of the gospel. Pray so that the Lord will give me the confidence to say what I have to say.
Today is Memorial Day, the day we honor our fallen military personnel who have served in the United States Armed Forces. When I think of honoring our fallen, I think of the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, in all kinds of weather and pandemic, the vigilant Tomb Sentinels never leave their post unguarded. During the changing of the guard the relief commander tells the relieved guard to, “Pass on your orders” and the relieved guard says, “Post and orders remain as directed” then the incoming guard replies, “Orders acknowledged.”
Like the guards, Paul is passing on his farewell instructions to the Ephesians and is telling us we have to be vigilant and ready to fight against all the spiritual powers of evil. Paul uses the battle gear of a Roman soldier to show how God arms us from our head to our feet. We can’t do spiritual battle unless we are fully dressed in all the protective gear of truth, justice, the good news of peace, faith, salvation, and the Spirit, which is God’s word. Where do we get the strength to fight? Our strength comes from our union with God through Christ. God supplies us with all the equipment and strength we will need to struggle with evil and stay at our post and be victorious through Christ.
Paul’s final command is that we pray with perseverance, in the Spirit, for each other. Prayer binds us together with each other as the body of Christ and connects us to God. Prayer enables us to keep “hanging in there” always alert, to do spiritual battle.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Are you hanging in there? Are you prepared for battle? Do you have strength for the fight? Now is a good time to check your spiritual protective gear of truth, justice, the good news of peace, faith, salvation, and the Spirit, God’s word. Is anything missing? What needs work in your life?
Prayer: Merciful God, you have strengthened us and armed us, from our head to our feet with spiritual protection and weapons to fight evil. Help us to always remain alert, always pray for each other and never leave our post until we have victory through you. Amen.