Our text is from Ephesians chapter 6, the call to arms, the call to Christian warfare! In a previous article, we saw that that word 'finally' means 'in addition to all that I have said'. This is the key concluding exhortation. Here is the call to arms, and in verse 11, the purpose for that call, in order that we might arm ourselves; and verse 12, the reason for it all, because we are in a wresting conflict. We are in a conflict which we cannot opt out of. There is no holiday in the spiritual realm, as a great man of GOD said. To be strong in the LORD. In the Prophet, Daniel, we read,
'They that know their GOD, shall be strong and do exploits.'
All our strength is found in the LORD, and to be strong we need, as in physical, proper diet, we need exercise, we need adequate rest.
And all these things are also found spiritually. Our diet is the Word of GOD; our exercise is putting into practice what GOD has told us; and rest means that we know how far we can extend ourselves without over reaching ourselves, and burning out. Others benefit from this as well. As we are strong, others are encouraged as they see us standing. In particular, when they see that the same crisis that faces the Believer is not such a disaster to the Believer, as it is to them. An unbeliever should be able to look at a Believer, a follower of Messiah, and say, 'How is it that they are coping? I'm not able to handle it. How can they?'
Here's an example for us in Acts, Chapter 27. Shaul was in a storm, he was on his way to Rome, and a hurricane, a typhoon, had overtaken the ship. And it looked as though they were all going to find a watery grave, that they were all going to die. But look at what Paul says to them. Acts 27 and verse 33:
'And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food saying, 'Today is the fourteenth day you have waited, and continued without food, and eaten nothing. Therefore, I urge you to take nourishment. For this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.' And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to GOD in the presence of them all. And when he had broken it, he began to eat. Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves.' His example encouraged them.
So we are not only strong for ourselves, but by our example of faith, and hope, and joy, and peace; others can get help just when their feet are slipping. The important thing is, we are strong in the LORD, and in the power of His might. We have no strength of our own. The LORD, YESHUA said,
'Without Me, you can do nothing.' But in Him, we can do all things. As Shaul said,
'I can do all things through Messiah Who strengthens me.' 'Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.' We need to know this.
And our greatest secret is total dependence. Total dependence on Him! No trust in ourselves. Our trust is completely in Him. Shaul, when he wrote to the Corinthians, said,
'You know our trouble which came to us in Asia,'(it's found in 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 1, verse 8),
'we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in GOD Who raises the dead, Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in Whom we trust that He will still deliver us.'
Even Shaul, that great man of GOD, came to a situation where he thought, 'this is the end. I cannot possibly survive this. This crisis will surely destroy me. I might as well give up.' And the LORD said to him in effect, 'That's the best thing you have ever said, Shaul! Just give up! When you come to nothing; when you have come to the end of your resources, you have only just begun with Mine!'
And so Shaul found out GOD raises the dead, and GOD raises us from so great a death! We find this in our crisis as well. That GOD steps in, and when we think it is all over, He transforms the situation.
Well we are to
'be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might.' There's the call, and here is the purpose for the call.
'Put on the whole armour of GOD, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.' This armour, is spiritual. It's for attack as well as for defence. The sword, after all, is not all for defence, it is for attack. The shield is for defence, but you also have this sword with which you can parry and thrust at the enemy. We are obviously talking about spiritual conflict here, so that the weapons, also, have to be spiritual.