Ephesians 6:10 – 18 (MSG) And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
We commit to living our lives for Christ; to take off the old self and put on the new (2 Corinthians 5:17), to do things that please and bring honor and glory to Him. So why do we feel so beat up and deflated sometimes? Why are we living in all this chaos and heartache? Why does it seem like things… life changing, tough things… keep getting piled on top of us?
One reason… Satan and his minions have to work over-time to distract us from our lives in Christ. He is so angry that the more we know and grow in Christ, the closer we get to Him. When we take a step closer and say “Yes!” to Christ, Satan’s blood boils! He hates us even more. In Christ, we are a force with which to be reckoned… and Satan knows it.
We have been given the weapons to defeat Satan, our adversary. But how well do we use them? I know for me sometimes, it’s so easy to take my eyes off of Christ and not use the weapons I’ve been given as a child of God when chaos begins to brew. Instead of focusing on Christ and relying on the armor of God, I tend to focus on the unpleasantness of the situation… anyone with me?
Last night I was given a good visual reminder of using the armor of God during the thick of the fight. It involved the shield of faith. When I think about a shield, I think about the Roman soldiers and the shield they carried into battle. This shield covered most of the front of their body. When the soldiers would come under direct attack, they would lock their shields together for even greater protection. There was safety behind the line of connected shields.
This concept is just as true for us today. Going back to last night, a friend of mine had to have a very hard discussion with someone. She was going to have to take a HUGE step of faith and leave everything she knew to be comfortable and step out into the unknown. She was so afraid. She sent a quick group text and asked us all to pray. I thought back to the soldiers with their locked shields and saw an image of each person in that group chat standing strong and praying for our sister in need.
It’s so important for us to be in community with a group of like-minded people. We do not have to walk through these battles alone. With Christ as our leader and the Holy Spirit as our guide, we too can band together as brothers and sisters in Christ with our shields of faith locked together and protect ourselves from Satan’s fiery arrows.
Do you have Godly friends that will stand with you in the thick of the fight? If not, I encourage you to find a group of people who will love and encourage you, pray with you, and hold you accountable. You don’t have to fight the battles of life alone.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Ephesians 6:16 (NIV) In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.