Big Idea: The gospel equips us to face life.
Recently, our cat demonstrated a previously unknown ability to push open the dog door and escape into the backyard, before going under our fence to explore the wide world. After two days, last Sunday, she decided that being hungry and cold was worse than being pampered and stroked. She loves to play hard to get, so she went under the shed in our backyard, meowed so we would come to get her, and darted away when we tried. Imagine your author, in a dress shirt, tie, and black slacks, crawling around on the dirt trying to catch an orange tabby cat who was not sure if she wanted to be caught. I did not have anything to catch her with and did not have the right shoes or clothes to mount a foot pursuit. I was not equipped for the challenge I faced. My wife, who, in addition to being very pretty, is very smart, tried a more indirect approach involving a bowl of food (interestingly, the same technique she uses to get me to come home from the office). She came with the right tools and was able to complete the job.
Many of us have had a job that did not provide us with the tools or training we needed, or have simply started a project we did not have the skills to finish. But God does not make mistakes. He gives us a task much more difficult than catching a cat or building a spaceship but fully equips us to do it. In Ephesians 6, in a vivid word picture based in Roman armor, Paul instructs his readers to put on the full armor of God. The word “of” can have different meanings: the armor that comes from God or God’s own armor. In light of the parallels with Isaiah 59:17, it seems that both apply. When we put on the armor of God, we are putting on the strength Christ has secured for us.
Fighting spiritual battles in physical strength is a strategy of foolishness, where the weapons we choose could never be fit for the work we need. To live the Christian life, worldly wisdom and half-measures will never do. We must put on every piece of God’s armor to allow us to stand firm.
Discussion Idea: Verse 18 is often left out of discussions about the armor of God. How is prayer (“at all times and on every occasion”) integral to receiving the equipment God has given us?
Prayer Focus: Lord, help me to be faithful and persistent in prayer, always ready to face the challenges of life with Your resources rather than my own.