Daily Update #149

Today’s readings –    Ephesians 6:10-20    Psalm 144:1-2; 9-11    Luke 13:31-35

Pause:  Lord Jesus, still our hearts and minds now, as we prepare to hear from your word.  Help us to see the reality of this fallen world, as well as the glory of the victory which you have won through the perfect work of the Lord Jesus on the cross.  
Amen

All three of our readings today speak of conflict, so there’s definitely a martial theme in the air!  

From the warning which the self-serving and deceitful Pharisees give to Jesus about Herod’s malign intentions against him (which were a thinly veiled attempt by the enemy to distract him from the cross), to the divine training and protection which David praises God for in Psalm 144 and the armour of God which Paul describes in our passage in Ephesians, the theme rings out.  Prepare and stand ready – we are in a time of conflict – there’s a war on!  

Paul urges us to be strong and to take a strong stand against the devil’s schemes, but notice particularly how we are to do this.  We are to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  The armour which we are to don is the full armour of God.  It’s clear that it is not in our own strength that this battle must be fought.  It is not our own skills or capabilities that need to be deployed in this war.  Instead we are to fight in the Lord’s strength and using the armour which he supplies.  

The reason for this is clear from Ephesians 6:12, where Paul lifts the veil on the nature of the war in which we are engaged.  This is no matter of mortal opponent and flesh and blood enemy.  There is a spiritual war on and the enemy is none other than the devil and all his fellow satanic powers and spiritual forces which are at work in this dark world, as well as in the heavenly realms.  The enemy is spiritual, implacably opposed to the Lord God of Hosts, and prowling around seeking to wreak havoc, destruction and death on all who align themselves with God our Father and his son the Lord Jesus Christ.  

So we are to don all the protective and offensive armour and weaponry which our Lord God provides and to be alert and ready to serve.  Paul emphasises the need for us to stand our ground, stand and stand firm!  It’s hard to miss his command!  But yet recall the victory which our God has won over death through the cross of Jesus, witnessed to by Jesus’ glorious resurrection and ascension!  Also, look closely at the weapons we have been provided with to ensure that we can be effective in the battle.  We are protected comprehensively by truth, Christ’s righteousness which he graciously gives us, ready to serve because of the gospel of peace, extinguishing all attacks with the shield of faith, supplemented by protection from the helmet of salvation and equipped with the power of the Holy Spirit through the sword which is the word of God.  

We may feel weak and exposed in the face of the terrifying demonic powers assailed against us, yet our God makes sure that we have all we need to stand and fight, if only we will have faith and take possession of, and use, all the armour which he graciously provides for our protection.  

Without in any way underestimating the challenge of the powers arrayed against us, Paul clearly teaches us that we can be more than conquerors in the strength which God provides to his redeemed people whom he loves unreservedly.  

Yet more grounds, brothers and sisters in Christ, to be greatly encouraged.  The victory has been won by our Lord Jesus Christ.  There is a “mopping up” operation to engage in and we are called to join in seeking out those whom God is calling into his kingdom.  We have all we need to be fearless and to get busy in the war against our defeated enemy, let’s keep praying and stay alert!  

Prayer

Almighty God,
thank you that the Lord Jesus won the victory over the devil and all the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms through laying down his life for us at the cross.  
Thank you that you equip each one of us with invincible armour so that we can serve you by taking up the roles you have assigned to each one of us in the spiritual battle which is being waged.  
Give us courage and determination so that we can and will stand, in the face of fearsome opposition.  
Keep us prayerful and alert as we seek to serve you faithfully.  
We ask all this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

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