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Darlene

Ephesians 6:10-13

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I have been swamped with trying to get this garden off the ground and all the issues that go with that, and over the last week, I have added to that, being swamped at my site. The new membership has exploded (over 80 new members just this month) as people come flocking in, scared, panicking, etc. The Mods and I have been trying as best we can, to share the knowledge and experience that we've gained over the years. For some reason, I'm just sensing that this panic, fear will only gain momentum and that is just heartbreaking.

 

So, I was just sitting here, marveling at how crazy things are getting very quickly and I suddenly felt the need to do the next installment on this Ephesians study. This 6th chapter is on spirtual battling, and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are in a spiritual battle that has only just begun.

 

I dunno about you, but I need to learn better how to stand, in Him, in the days ahead.

 

Heavenly Father,

 

Last night I was flipping through the pages of my bible and thinking about how much I've come to love Your Word. It somehow gives me peace knowing that I have Your Bible, that it will become even more important in the days ahead, no matter what we face.

 

It's as if I can 'see' the armys gathering together and they've begun to march towards that Great Conflict. All I know is that I need and want to get as close to You as I possibly can...to harbor and find safety beneath the shadow of Your Wings.

 

Teach us Father, how to more effectively war in this spiritual realm. Protect us and bless us in these uncertain days ahead. It's as if everything is accelerating quicker as each second goes by.

 

I just had a thought Lord...were all the preceeding chapters in Ephesians, getting us ready (learning who we are in Christ, about Your great love for us, about being more holy, etc) and putting us in position, building the right foundation, for this last chapter in Ephesians about the war in the spiritual realms? I can't help but think that out of all the books of the Bible that you laid on my heart, that it would be this particular one, where it specifically teaches us these things.

 

 

10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

 

Henry writes, "Here is a general exhortation to constancy in our Christian course, and to encourage in our Christian warfare. Is not our life a warfare? It is so; for we struggle with the common calamities of human life. Is not our religion much more a warfare? It is so; for we struggle with the opposition of the powers of darkness, and with many enemies who would keep us from God and heaven. We have enemies to fight against, a captain to fight for, a banner to fight under, and certain rules of war by which we are to govern ourselves. "Finally, my brethren (v. 10), it yet remains that you apply yourselves to your work and duty as Christian soldiers." Now it is requisite that a soldier be both stout-hearted and well armed. If Christians be soldiers of Jesus Christ,

 

I. They must see that they be stout-hearted. This is prescribed here: Be strong in the Lord, &c. Those who have so many battles to fight, and who, in their way to heaven, must dispute every pass, with dint of sword, have need of a great deal of courage. Be strong therefore, strong for service, strong for suffering, strong for fighting. Let a soldier be ever so well armed without, if he have not within a good heart, his armour will stand him in little stead. Note, spiritual strength and courage are very necessary for our spiritual warfare. Be strong in the Lord, either in his cause and for his sake or rather in his strength. We have no sufficient strength of our own. Our natural courage is as perfect cowardice, and our natural strength as perfect weakness; but all our sufficiency is of God. In his strength we must go forth and go on. By the actings of faith, we must fetch in grace and help from heaven to enable us to do that which of ourselves we cannot do, in our Christian work and warfare. We should stir up ourselves to resist temptations in a reliance upon God's all-sufficiency and the omnipotence of his might."

 

Clarke comments, "Finally] Having laid before you, your great and high calling, and all the doctrines and precepts of the Gospel, it is necessary that I should show you the enemies that will oppose you, and the strength which is requisite to enable you to repel them.

 

Be strong in the Lord] You must have strength, and strength of a spiritual kind, and such strength too as the Lord himself can furnish; and you must have this strength through an indwelling God, the power of his might working in you."

 

Calvin states, " Finally. Resuming his general exhortations, he again enjoins them to be strong, — to summon up courage and vigor; for there is always much to enfeeble us, and we are ill fitted to resist. But when our weakness is considered, an exhortation like this would have no effect, unless the Lord were present, and stretched out his hand to render assistance, or rather, unless he supplied us with all the power. Paul therefore adds, in the Lord. As if he had said, “‘You have no right to reply, that you have not the ability; for all that I require of you is, be strong in the Lord.” To explain his meaning more fully, he adds, in the power of his might, which tends greatly to increase our confidence, particularly as it shews the remarkable assistance which God usually bestows upon believers. If the Lord aids us by his mighty power, we have no reason to shrink from the combat. But it will be asked, What purpose did it serve to enjoin the Ephesians to be strong in the Lord’s mighty power, which they could not of themselves accomplish? I answer, there are two clauses here which must be considered. He exhorts them to be courageous, but at the same time reminds them to ask from God a supply of their own deficiencies, and promises that, in answer to their prayers, the power of God will be displayed."

 

11. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

 

Henry states, "They must be well armed: "Put on the whole armour of God (v. 11), make use of all the proper defensitives and weapons for repelling the temptations and stratagems of Satan—get and exercise all the Christian graces, the whole armour, that no part be naked and exposed to the enemy." Observe, Those who would approve themselves to have true grace must aim at all grace, the whole armour. It is called the armour of God, because he both prepares and bestows it. We have no armour of our own that will be armour of proof in a trying time. Nothing will stand us in stead but the armour of God. This armour is prepared for us, but we must put it on; that is, we must pray for grace, we must use the grace given us, and draw it out into act and exercise as there is occasion. The reason assigned why the Christian should be completely armed is that he may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil—that he may be able to hold out, and to overcome, notwithstanding all the devil's assaults, both of force and fraud, all the deceits he puts upon us, all the snares he lays for us, and all his machinations against us."

 

Clarke comments, "Put on the whole armour of God] endusasqe thn panoplian tou qeou. The apostle considers every Christian as having a warfare to maintain against numerous, powerful, and subtle foes; and that therefore they would need much strength, much courage, complete armour, and skill to use it. The panoply which is mentioned here refers to the armour of the heavy troops among the Greeks; those who were to sustain the rudest attacks, who were to sap the foundations of walls, storm cities, &c. Their ordinary armour was the shield, the helmet, the sword, and the greaves or brazen boots. To all these the apostle refers below. See on ver. 13.

 

The wiles of the devil.] tav meqodeiav tou diabolou? The methods of the devil; the different means, plans, schemes, and machinations which he uses to deceive, entrap, enslave, and ruin the souls of men. A man's method of sinning is Satan's method of ruining his soul. See on ver. 14."

 

Calvin states, "Put on the whole armor. God has furnished us with various defensive weapons, provided we do not indolently refuse what is offered. But we are almost all chargeable with carelessness and hesitation in using the offered grace; just as if a soldier, about to meet the enemy, should take his helmet, and neglect his shield. To correct this security, or, we should rather say, this indolence, Paul borrows a comparison from the military art, and bids us put on the whole armor of God. We ought to be prepared on all sides, so as to want nothing. The Lord offers to us arms for repelling every kind of attack. It remains for us to apply them to use, and not leave them hanging on the wall. To quicken our vigilance, he reminds us that we must not only engage in open warfare, but that we have a crafty and insidious foe to encounter, who frequently lies in ambush; for such is the import of the apostle’s phrase, THE WILES (τὰς μεθοδείας) of the devil".

 

12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places

 

Henry writes, "This the apostle enlarges upon here, and shows,

 

1. What our danger is, and what need we have to put on this whole armour, considering what sort of enemies we have to deal with—the devil and all the powers of darkness: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, &c., v. 12. The combat for which we are to be prepared is not against ordinary human enemies, not barely against men compounded of flesh and blood, nor against our own corrupt natures singly considered, but against the several ranks of devils, who have a government which they exercise in this world. (1.) We have to do with a subtle enemy, an enemy who uses wiles and stratagems, as v. 11. He has a thousand ways of beguiling unstable souls: hence he is called a serpent for subtlety, an old serpent, experienced in the art and trade of tempting. (2.) He is a powerful enemy: Principalities, and powers, and rulers. They are numerous, they are vigorous; and rule in those heathen nations which are yet in darkness. The dark parts of the world are the seat of Satan's empire. Yea, they are usurping princes over all men who are yet in a state of sin and ignorance. Satan's is a kingdom of darkness; whereas Christ's is a kingdom of light. (3.) They are spiritual enemies: Spiritual wickedness in high places, or wicked spirits, as some translate it. The devil is a spirit, a wicked spirit; and our danger is the greater from our enemies because they are unseen, and assault us ere we are aware of them. The devils are wicked spirits, and they chiefly annoy the saints with, and provoke them to, spiritual wickednesses, pride, envy, malice, &c. These enemies are said to be in high places, or in heavenly places, so the word is, taking heaven (as one says) for the whole expansum, or spreading out of the air between the earth and the stars, the air being the place from which the devils assault us. Or the meaning may be, "We wrestle about heavenly places or heavenly things;" so some of the ancients interpret it. Our enemies strive to prevent our ascent to heaven, to deprive us of heavenly blessings and to obstruct our communion with heaven. They assault us in the things that belong to our souls, and labour to deface the heavenly image in our hearts; and therefore we have need to be upon our guard against them. We have need of faith in our Christian warfare, because we have spiritual enemies to grapple with, as well as of faith in our Christian work, because we have spiritual strength to fetch in. Thus you see your danger."

 

This is a very important commentary to me because as I read it, the thought crossed my mind, "here we are, with all our guns and ammo, willing to shoot to the death these things that are HUMAN , and yet, the Word states that we wrestle NOT against humans (flesh and blood), but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. It sure isn't going to do me any good to aim my AK47 against a spiritual enemy, and so, for me, I am beginning to see once again, the critical need to first and foremost, get my spiritual life in order. The battle will take place spiritually, as it is enacted here on earth, and the stronger I get spiritually, the less these evil principalities can over take me.

 

It was also very interesting to be reminded that there is war in the heavenlies, trying to thwart and stop the prayers/communication from my heart here on earth to the throne of God (this is scriptural).

 

For me, as I go into these very dark days ahead, I need to focus more on this spiritual equipping for the spiritual battle that lies before me and fight from that position instead of being blinded by the enemy thinking that it is all about flesh and blood.

 

Clarke writes, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood] ouk estin hmin h palh prov aima kai sarka? Our wrestling or contention is not with men like ourselves: flesh and blood is a Hebraism for men, or human beings. See the note on Gal. i. 16.

 

The word palh implies the athletic exercises in the Olympic and other national games; and palaistra was the place in which the contenders exercised. Here it signifies warfare in general.

 

Against principalities] arcav? Chief rulers; beings of the first rank and order in their own kingdom.

 

Powers] exousiav, Authorities, derived from, and constituted by the above.

 

The rulers of the darkness of this world] touv kosmokratorav tou skotouv tou aiwnov toutou? The rulers of the world; the emperors of the darkness of this state of things.

 

Spiritual wickedness] ta pneumatika thv ponhriav? The spiritual things of wickedness; or, the spiritualities of wickedness; highly refined and sublimed evil; disguised falsehood in the garb of truth; Antinomianism in the guise of religion.

 

In high places.] ev toiv epouranioiv? In the most sublime stations.

 

But who are these of whom the apostle speaks? Schoettgen contends that the rabbins and Jewish rulers are intended. This he thinks proved by the words tou aiwnov toutou, of this world, which are often used to designate the Old Testament, and the Jewish system; and the words en toiv epouranioiv, in heavenly places, which are not unfrequently used to signify the time of the NEW TESTAMENT, and the Gospel system.

 

By the spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, he thinks false teachers, who endeavoured to corrupt Christianity, are meant; such as those mentioned by St. John, 1 John ii. 19: They went out from us, but they were not of us, &c. And he thinks the meaning may be extended to all corrupters of Christianity in all succeeding ages. He shows also that the Jews called their own city µlw[ l r sar shel olam, kosmokratwr, the ruler of the world; and proves that David's words, Psa. ii. 2, The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, are applied by the apostles, Acts iv. 26, to the Jewish rulers, arcontev, who persecuted Peter and John for preaching Christ crucified. But commentators in general are not of this mind, but think that by principalities, &c., we are to understand different orders of evil spirits, who are all employed under the devil, their great head, to prevent the spread of the Gospel in the world, and to destroy the souls of mankind.

 

The spiritual wickedness are supposed to be the angels which kept not their first estate; who fell from the heavenly places but are ever longing after and striving to regain them; and which have their station in the regions of the air. "Perhaps," says Mr. Wesley, "the principalities and powers remain mostly in the citadel of their kingdom of darkness; but there are other spirits which range abroad, to whom the provinces of the world are committed; the darkness is chiefly spiritual darkness which prevails during the present state of things, and the wicked spirits are those which continually oppose faith, love, and holiness, either by force or fraud; and labour to infuse unbelief, pride, idolatry, malice, envy, anger, and hatred." Some translate the words en toiv epouranioiv, about heavenly things; that is: We contend with these fallen spirits for the heavenly things which are promised to us; and we strive against them, that we may not be deprived of those we have."

 

Calvin writes, "For we wrestle not. To impress them still more deeply with their danger, he points out the nature of the enemy, which he illustrates by a comparative statement, Not against flesh and blood. The meaning is, that our difficulties are far greater than if we had to fight with men. There we resist human strength, sword is opposed to sword, man contends with man, force is met by force, and skill by skill; but here the case is widely different. All amounts to this, that our enemies are such as no human power can withstand. By flesh and blood the apostle denotes men, who are so denominated in order to contrast them with spiritual assailants. This is no bodily struggle.

 

Let us remember this when the injurious treatment of others provokes us to revenge. Our natural disposition would lead us to direct all our exertions against the men themselves; but this foolish desire will be restrained by the consideration that the men who annoy us are nothing more than darts thrown by the hand of Satan. While we are employed in destroying those darts, we lay ourselves open to be wounded on all sides. To wrestle with flesh and blood will not only be useless, but highly pernicious. We must go straight to the enemy, who attacks and wounds us from his concealment, — who slays before he appears.

 

But to return to Paul. He describes our enemy as formidable, not to overwhelm us with fear, but to quicken our diligence and earnestness; for there is a middle course to be observed. When the enemy is neglected, he does his utmost to oppress us with sloth, and afterwards disarms us by terror; so that, ere the engagement has commenced, we are vanquished. By speaking of the power of the enemy, Paul labors to keep us more on the alert. He had already called him the devil, but now employs a variety of epithets, to make the reader understand that this is not an enemy who may be safely despised.

 

Against principalities, against powers. Still, his object in producing alarm is not to fill us with dismay, but to excite us to caution. He calls them κοσμοκράτορας, that is, princes of the world; but he explains himself more fully by adding — of the darkness of the world. The devil reigns in the world, because the world is nothing else than darkness. Hence it follows, that the corruption of the world gives way to the kingdom of the devil; for he could not reside in a pure and upright creature of God, but all arises from the sinfulness of men. By darkness, it is almost unnecessary to say, are meant unbelief and ignorance of God, with the consequences to which they lead. As the whole world is covered with darkness, the devil is called “the prince of this world.” (John 14:30.)

 

By calling it wickedness, he denotes the malignity and cruelty of the devil, and, at the same time, reminds us that the utmost caution is necessary to prevent him from gaining an advantage. For the same reason, the epithet spiritual is applied; for, when the enemy is invisible, our danger is greater. There is emphasis, too, in the phrase, in heavenly places; for the elevated station from which the attack is made gives us greater trouble and difficulty.

 

An argument drawn from this passage by the Manicheans, to support their wild notion of two principles, is easily refuted. They supposed the devil to be (ἀντίθεον) an antagonist deity, whom the righteous God would not subdue without great exertion. For Paul does not ascribe to devils a principality, which they seize without the consent, and maintain in spite of the opposition, of the Divine Being, — but a principality which, as Scripture everywhere asserts, God, in righteous judgment, yields to them over the wicked. The inquiry is, not what power they have in opposition to God, but how far they ought to excite our alarm, and keep us on our guard. Nor is any countenance here given to the belief, that the devil has formed, and keeps for himself, the middle region of the air. Paul does not assign to them a fixed territory, which they can call their own, but merely intimates that they are engaged in hostility, and occupy an elevated station."

 

13. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 

Henry writes, "What our duty is: to take and put on the whole armour of God, and then to stand our ground, and withstand our enemies.

 

(1.) We must withstand, v. 13. We must not yield to the devil's allurements and assaults, but oppose them. Satan is said to stand up against us, 1 Chron. xxi. 1. If he stand up against us, we must stand against him; set up, and keep up, an interest in opposition to the devil. Satan is the wicked one, and his kingdom is the kingdom of sin: to stand against Satan is to strive against sin. That you may be able to withstand in the evil day, in the day of temptation, or of any sore affliction.

 

(2.) We must stand our ground: And, having done all, to stand. We must resolve, by God's grace, not to yield to Satan. Resist him, and he will flee. If we distrust our cause, or our leader, or our armour, we give him advantage. Our present business is to withstand the assaults of the devil, and to stand it out; and then, having done all that is incumbent on the good soldiers of Jesus Christ, our warfare will be accomplished, and we shall be finally victorious.

 

(3.) We must stand armed; and this is here most enlarged upon. Here is a Christian in complete armour: and the armour is divine: Armour of God, armour of light, Rom. xiii. 12. Armour of righteousness, 2 Cor. vi. 7. The apostle specifies the particulars of this armour, both offensive and defensive. The military girdle or belt, the breast-plate, the greaves (or soldier's shoes), the shield, the helmet, and the sword. It is observable that, among them all, there is none for the back; if we turn our back upon the enemy, we lie exposed."

 

"If we turn our back on the enemy, we lie exposed"...wow, that really hits home.

 

Clarke comments, Wherefore] Because ye have such enemies to contend with, take unto you - assume, as provided and prepared for you, the whole armour of God; which armour if you put on and use, you shall be both invulnerable and immortal. The ancient heroes are fabled to have had armour sent to them by the gods; and even the great armour-maker, Vulcan, was reputed to be a god himself. This was fable: What Paul speaks of is reality. See before on ver. 11.

 

That ye may be able to withstand] That ye may not only stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, but also discomfit all your spiritual foes; and continuing in your ranks, maintain your ground against them, never putting off your armour, but standing always ready prepared to repel any new attack.

 

And having done all, to stand.] kai apanta katergasamenoi sthnai? rather, And having conquered all, stand: this is a military phrase, and is repeatedly used in this sense by the best Greek writers. So Dionys. Hal. Ant., lib. vi., page 400: kai panta polemia en oligw katergasamenoi cronw? "Having in a short time discomfited all our enemies, we returned with numerous captives and much spoil." See many examples in Kypke. By evil day we may understand any time of trouble, affliction, and sore temptation.

 

As there is here allusion to some of the most important parts of the Grecian armour, I shall give a short account of the whole. It consisted properly of two sorts: 1. Defensive armour, or that which protected themselves. 2. Offensive armour, or that by which they injured their enemies. The apostle refers to both.

 

I. DEFENSIVE armour: perikefalaia, the HELMET; this was the armour for the head, and was of various forms, and embossed with a great variety of figures. Connected with the helmet was the crest or ridge on the top of the helmet, adorned with several emblematic figures; some for ornament, some to strike terror.

 

For crests on ancient helmets we often see the winged lion, the griffin, chimera, &c. St. Paul seems to refer to one which had an emblematical representation of hope.

 

zwma, the GIRDLE; this went about the loins, and served to brace the armour tight to the body, and to support daggers, short swords, and such like weapons, which were frequently stuck in it. This kind of girdle is in general use among the Asiatic nations to the present day.

 

qwrax, the BREAST-PLATE; this consisted of two parts, called pterugev or wings: one covered the whole region of the thorax or breast, in which the principal viscera of life are contained; and the other covered the back, as far down as the front part extended.

 

knhmidev, GREAVES or brazen boots, which covered the shin or front of the leg; a kind of solea was often used, which covered the sole, and laced about the instep, and prevented the foot from being wounded by rugged ways, thorns, stones, &c.

 

ceiridev, GAUNTLETS; a kind of gloves that served to defend the hands, and the arm up to the elbow.

 

aspiv, the clypeus or SHIELD; it was perfectly round, and sometimes made of wood, covered with bullocks' hides; but often made of metal. The aspis or shield of Achilles, made by Vulcan, was composed of five plates, two of brass, two of tin, and one of gold; so Homer, Il. U. v. 2lxx. -Ñ epei pente ptucav hlase kullopodiwn, tav duo calkeiav, duo dÆ endoqi kassiteroio, thn de mian xrushn.

 

Five plates of various metal, various mold, Composed the shield; of brass each outward fold, Of tin each inward, and the middle gold.

 

Of shields there were several sorts: gerrwn or gerra, the gerron; a small square shield, used first by the Persians.

 

laishion, LAISEION; a sort of oblong shield, covered with rough hides, or skins with the hair on.

 

pelth, the PELTA; a small light shield, nearly in the form of a demicrescent, with a small ornament, similar to the recurved leaves of a flower de luce, on the center of a diagonal edge or straight line; this was the Amazonian shield.

 

qureov, the scutum or OBLONG SHIELD; this was always made of wood, and covered with hides. It was exactly in the shape of the laiseion, but differed in size, being much larger, and being covered with hides from which the hair had been taken off. It was called qureov from qura, a door, which it resembled in its oblong shape; but it was made curved, so as to embrace the whole forepart of the body. The aspis and the thureos were the shields principally in use; the former for light, the latter for heavy armed troops.

 

II. OFFENSIVE armour, OR WEAPONS; THE FOLLOWING WERE CHIEF: egcov, enchos, the SPEAR; which was generally a head of brass or iron, with a long shaft of ash.

 

doru, the LANCE; differing perhaps little from the former, but in its size and lightness; being a missile used, both by infantry and cavalry, for the purpose of annoying the enemy at a distance.

 

xifov, the SWORD; these were of various sizes, and in the beginning all of brass. The swords of Homer's heroes are all of this metal.

 

macaira, called also a sword, sometimes a knife; it was a short sword, used more frequently by gladiators, or in single combat. What other difference it had from the xiphos I cannot tell.

 

axinh, from which our word AXE; the common battle-axe.

 

pelekuv, the BIPEN; a sort of battle-axe, with double face, one opposite to the other.

 

korunh, an iron club or mace, much used both among the ancient Greeks and Persians.

 

toxon, the BOW; with its pharetra or quiver, and its stock or sheaf of arrows.

 

sfendonh, the SLING; an instrument in the use of which most ancient nations were very expert, particularly the Hebrews and ancient Greeks.

 

The arms and armour mentioned above were not always in use; they were found out and improved by degrees. The account given by Lucretius of the arms of the first inhabitants of the earth is doubtless as correct as it is natural.

 

Arma antiqua manus, ungues, dentesque fuere, Et lapides, et item silvarum fragmina rami, Et flammae, atque ignes postquam sunt cognita primum: Posterius ferri vis est, aerisque reperta: Sed prius aeris erat quam ferri cognitus usus: Quo facilis magis est natura, et copia major.

 

Deuteronomy Rerum Nat., lib. v. ver. 1282.

 

Whilst cruelty was not improved by art, And rage not furnished yet with sword or dart; With fists, or boughs, or stones, the warriors fought; These were the only weapons Nature taught: But when flames burnt the trees and scorched the ground, Then brass appeared, and iron fit to wound.

 

Brass first was used, because the softer ore, And earth's cold veins contained a greater store. CREECH.

 

I have only to observe farther on this head, 1. That the ancient Greeks and Romans went constantly armed; 2. That before they engaged they always ate together; and 3. That they commenced every attack with prayer to the gods for success. "

 

Calvin writes, "Wherefore take unto you. Though our enemy is so powerful, Paul does not infer that we must throw away our spears, but that we must prepare our minds for the battle. A promise of victory is, indeed, involved in the exhortation, that ye may be able. If we only put on the whole armor of God, and fight valiantly to the end, we shall certainly stand. On any other supposition, we would be discouraged by the number and variety of the contests; and therefore he adds, in the evil day. By this expression he rouses them from security, bids them prepare themselves for hard, painful, and dangerous conflicts, and, at the same time, animates them with the hope of victory; for amidst the greatest dangers they will be safe. And having done all. They are thus directed to cherish confidence through the whole course of life. There will be no danger which may not be successfully met by the power of God; nor will any who, with this assistance, fight against Satan, fail in the day of battle."

 

Heavenly Father,

 

I'm just sitting here thinking 'wow'. I don't know why, but I just feel a real burden to acquaint myself with these particular scriptures. In fact, when I first began this Ephesians study, I knew these scriptures were located at the end and I looked forward to getting to them. Now, however, I'm not feeling like I'm looking forward to getting to them, I'm feeling that I NEED to get to them.

 

It's not as if I'm anything great by human standards, but I just feel the drive inside, this burden, whatever its called, to remind people about this spiritual battle ahead. I'm not even 'there' (wherever there is) so I need it just as much as the next person, but as I learn, I want others to learn too because I know if we're going to 'make it' in the days ahead, that we above all, place You, our spiritual lives, etc first and foremost.

 

It's not gonna matter whether or not I have 40,000,000,000,000 rounds of ammo. It's not gonna matter if I have 92,000,000,000lbs of grain. If I don't have You, first and foremost, the rest will never matter...it will be like trying to hold on to these things like water that escapes through my finger tips.

 

So Father God, because You are our Heavenly Father, because You are in control, because You are our hope, You are everything, I come before Your throne, a little scared (well not too much because You give me Your peace), greately concerned, wanting and needing You to be first and foremost in my life alone. I have so much responsibility, so much work to do, so many needs and I'm not able to accomplish much of it at all, but YOU are exceedingly able to do all things so in You I place my trust, my hope, my pleas.

 

Teach me Lord, teach me all that I need to learn to stand in the days ahead. Give me Your strength, Your wisdom, Your understanding, Your direction, Your everything so that You might be glorified. I guess what I'm saying, once again, is here I am Lord...take my life, use it as You see fit, because I already know that despite ALL my best intentions that the days ahead will cause me to stumble and fall if I don't 'hide myself in You'...

 

Once again, open our spiritual eyes, ears and heart that we might learn Your thoughts, Your ways. Bless and keep Your people safe in the coming days, help us to help the many who will cross our paths, lost, confused, afraid. You are the only hope there is.

 

And Jesus? Without You...without all You have done for us, none of this would be possible. These prayers, these pleas, these needs, none of it, so thank You for the sacrifice You made, for me and us that we might have access to the Father, who loves us.

 

In Jesus Name,

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It's interesting to me about the very order of 'putting on the armor'. First, we gird our loins (most private parts of our selves) with Truth. Then, we take on the Breastplate of Righteousness, then we begin to walk out the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. Then we take up the shield of faith with which to quench the fiery darts of the enemy (protect and discern everything and anything that might enter into our hearts or minds and use the shield to reject it when we know it's not of Him). Then, we take on the helmet of salvation (our thinking with the mind of Christ?), then take up the sword of the spirit which is the word (rhema spoken word) of God for direction.

 

I think it's important to recognize this as specific instruction from Paul to literally take up these armaments in prayer and faith in what we cannot see each and every day. Since it is indeed a spiritual battle, I usually ask the Lord to cancel the plans of the enemy that have been laid against me and those that I love every day. It's part of what 'fighting in the Spirit' is about and goes along with Pauls instructions in 2 Corinthians 10.

 

Another thing that is important about this scripture direction in particular is to recognize that these implements of war (and they are real, believe me) are first described in Is 59:15 as the armor of God Himself. Very interesting if you go read the scriptures in Is 59 because it gives us a completely different understanding about what this armor is through God's eyes. Also, in Is 58 the Lord makes reference to the covering for our back. No flesh is to be left hanging out lol.

 

Father, I pray that each of your little ones have the unction and leading from you to take your word literally and pray to take up Your armor daily that we may indeed stand in You having been raised up with You according to Your word. It IS you that has our back. Your Grace is indeed sufficient and Your Power is perfected in our weakness. Amen.

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