March 17 – Stand Firm

Ephesians 6: 10 – 13 NLT

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we (some manuscripts say ‘you’) 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.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.” 

That first verse is the clinching verse for me. “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power”. It’s not me that has to be strong. It’s God who is strong! The idea of standing strong against “evil rules and authorities of the unseen world” is extremely scary, especially if it was all my responsibility.

There are some things we know are true. We know that before we accepted Christ as our personal Saviour, we “were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins”. (2: 1) We also know that “when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” (1: 13 – 14) We know we have been changed. Instead of being “dead”, we are now alive in Christ and part of God’s family.

However, we are also aware that we are not perfect. Paul mentions the frustration that brings to each one of us in the book of Romans. Let’s take a look at what Paul said:

Romans 7:19-25 to Romans 8:2

“ I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart.23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

Once again, we are reassured that things are different now that we belong to Christ Jesus. So, this reality of fighting the devil is not one that should frighten us completely. We need to be aware, but not terrified. The Apostle John agrees with this. “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world”, (1 John 4:4) But we do need to be aware that Satan would love to cause havoc in our lives so that he can destroy God’s reputation in this world.

Chuck Swindoll says in his Insight for Living: Galatians/Ephesians, “We see proof of this depravity in our world every day. Violent crime, devastating wars, religious deception, moral deterioration, political corruption – the list has no end. We don’t even have to turn on the television or surf the Internet to see the results of satanic wickedness. We merely need to look within and around us as we observe the sin – the disharmony, selfishness, and corruption – in our own marriages, families, neighbourhoods, and churches. Taking advantage of humanity’s fallen nature, the forces of evil can lead the unwary and unprotected believer away from the right path and into a path of destruction.” (pages 303 – 304)

We do need to put on God’s armour. There is a battle in this world between God and Satan. And we will take a look at that armour starting tomorrow. But again, know that we are on the winning side. I’m going to close today with Paul’s prayer from Ephesians 1 – a reassurance that God is in control.

Ephesians 1: 17 – 23

“asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.”

AMEN

Our song for today is Stand In Your Love by Josh Baldwin

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