Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. -- Ephesians 6: 13 (NLT)
Have you ever left your house but forgot to put on your pants? How about going to work without your shoes on? Go to church without a shirt? Of course not. We spend careful attention to make sure that we put on every piece of clothing before we dare step out of the house. Some even make sure everything matches! But when it comes to our spiritual clothing we tend to be more haphazard. We are either not as cautious or not as aware. When it comes to the temporal we can be so self-conscious but when it comes to the things of God we are not as spirit-conscious as we ought to be. And while mistakes on the former may lead to a fashion faux pas, errors in the latter carry much more significance.
There are three essential truths in the key verse today. First, we are in a battle. I know that this is not a popular preaching point because it grates against feel-good Christianity. We must realize that when the enemy of your soul comes against you all the pop-psychology and motivational speeches in the world will not help you. This battle is outlined in the verse just prior to the key verse:
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. -- Ephesians 6: 13 (NLT)
I know sometimes it is easy to skip over verses like these in favor of more user-friendly Scripture but pause for a second and realize today that our battle is against evil rulers and authorities who possess mighty powers and against evil spirits. I say this not to frighten but to equip. For greater is He that is in you then those evil spirits you war against.
The second essential truth from the key verse is the goal we need to have as believers. We need to be striving to stand firm in our faith against the schemes of the enemy. The devil seeks to knock us down. To knock down our faith. To knock down our walk with God. To minimize the work God has set aside for us. Another church culture shock is that we were not saved to spend an hour and a half in a pew each week.
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. -- Ephesians 2: 10 (NLT)
God has a plan for you beloved. It involves all sorts of good works. It will result in glory for His name and for the advancement of His kingdom. There will be people in heaven because of the good works He has set aside for you. But to complete those works you need to be outwardly focused on the world that is lost and desperately seeking a savior. We cannot be that if we are constantly inwardly focused on ourselves because we are losing the spiritual battles the enemy engages us in. We must stand firm.