If you thought you were going into battle, how would you protect yourself?
The Fight against Evil
10 Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11 Put on all the armour that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armour that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.
14 Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armour. 15 Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16 Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.
18 Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. 19 Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. 20 I was sent to do this work, and that’s the reason I am in jail. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should.
Imagery of the Christian Faith as a battle have, probably quite rightly, gone out of fashion. Hymns such as ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross and ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’, once so popular, are not now sung very often.
Yet the writer to the Ephesians, reminds us that there is a battle, the struggle of good over evil is still raging, and if we choose to follow the way of Jesus, we will be caught up in it. So if that is the case, how do we protect ourselves?
The image of armour, or perhaps more helpfully protective clothing, gives us an idea.
If you don’t want to get burnt, you wear fire-proof clothing to keep you safe and able to breathe.
We need to clothe ourselves in God’s ways – to defend ourselves from wrong possibilities with truth, justice, faith, peace and God’s power. These are the characteristics we should surround ourself with – the way we should live if we want to be able to fight against wrong.
And, again, pray. Pray for ourselves, but pray also for others. Pray for safety, pray to behave the right way, pray that others will see God’s ways to live.
Then we’ll be ready for the fight.
sometimes life is a battle
– the battle to do the right thing;
the battle to stand up against injustice,
and a general turning from you.
Lord I pray that you will equip me for the fight,
keep me safe,
that I may stay firm and strong
in your ways,
and live for truth,
justice and peace