“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”
Temptation in this life never ends. Satan, the father of lies is pleased when we give into temptation. He knows that as a child of God he can’t change our relationship with our Heavenly Father, so he instead tries to break our fellowship with Him, while at the same time destroy our testimony before others. We have all faced temptation, but it’s hard to imagine any time in which temptation to sin and secular conformity has been greater than it is today. As adults, we face many temptations; in our careers, in our marriages, as we lead our families and in many other situations. Our children encounter temptation in the decisions they face; to conform to peer pressure in order to be accepted, whether or not to remain sexually pure until marriage, appropriate friendships plus many more. Though it may seem as if temptation has never been greater, human temptation began in the Garden and has been with us ever since. But temptation is not sin, so the question for us to ask is how we keep it from becoming so and suffering the painful consequences as a result of it.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” Paul knew spiritual warfare was real and he knew those in the church at Ephesus faced their own temptations. Using the image of a Roman soldier, he set forth the means in which Christians can stand against these evil schemes. Notice in the passage that Paul says, “the whole armor of God”, both the defensive weapons to shield from attacks and the one offensive weapon, the “sword of the Spirit” or the Word of God. Paul used this image so the people in the church at Ephesus would know that the LORD had provided them all the spiritual resources necessary to stand firm.
As Christians, we must be fully armed to battle against the world today. That is because it’s not really the world we are battling, but “spiritual forces of evil” in which our world is just a pawn. Way too often, we battle temptation in our own strength. Instead of His armor, we put the armor of self help, a determined will or our best effort. The devil loves it when we clothe ourselves with that kind of armor because it spells our certain defeat. This battle can never be fought in the flesh. Our flesh is weak. But when you put on the whole armor of God; now that’s real power, power that comes from a Divine source; the Spirit of God working through His Word. Why do we keep relying on our best efforts when they fail us over and over? Will we humble ourselves and realize we are no match for the enemy? Will we be weak enough to gain real strength, strength that comes from above? Paul knew God’s strength was magnified in his weakness, and his only surrender in battle was to his Savior, Jesus Christ. Isn’t it time you surrendered to Him as well?
Father, we need to trust your armor and not our own. I am of the flesh and sold under sin, but my heart’s desire is to please you. I renounce my own efforts in doing this because I realize that I am no match for the devils schemes. By the power of your Spirit through the power of the Word, let me be strong in the Lord and rely on the strength of His might.