Am I fully armed for every spiritual battle?
Quote - “The attitude of some many Christians today is anything but
fierce. We’re passive, acquiescent. We’re acting as if the battle is
over…” - Waking the Dead (Eldredge), p. 168.
The tendency is toward one of two extremes when exploring spiritual
warfare – to minimize it so that Christians aren’t alerted to the
danger, or to maximize it so it is blamed for matters where human
responsibility is the primary issue. This passage emphasizes both God’s
part and our part in being fully armed for spiritual battle.
- Our Strength (10)
- “Be strong in the Lord” – our power apart from Christ is no match
for our Enemy, but “in the Lord” our dependence is upon the power of
Christ and Satan is no match for the power of Christ! James (4:7) makes
it clear our strength is found in submission - “Submit yourselves, then
to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Our strength is
found in a pattern of submission to Christ and resistance to Satan.
- In the physical world, resistance builds strength (in exercise,
setting the resistance higher on cardio equipment or lifting more weight
builds strength) – true in the spiritual world as well! Christ provides
the strength we need – remember Paul’s earlier prayers focused on the
power of God (1:15-23; 3:14-21)
- Our Struggle (11b-12)
The term would have been recognized by original readers as commonly used
for the “wrestling event” which was a prominent part of the athletic
games in Olympia, Greece. “Struggle” implies strenuous effort, stamina,
fitness (implying conditioning before the struggle ever begins).
When my son Chris wrestled I learned both strength and strategy are
important, and that often strategy involved counter-moves to the
- Satan’s schemes (11b) – “schemes” is methodia, from which we get
“methods.” Schemes pictured in different ways in the Bible: Lion
stalking prey (I Peter 5:8), Satan “taking territory” (Ephesians 4:27 –
“foothold” includes the idea of topography, or giving up ground). Satan
takes his territory subtly and slowly (“inch by inch, anything is a
cinch”) – from toehold > foothold > stronghold (II Corinthians
- Satan’s spiritual forces (12). Not a physical struggle (flesh and
blood), but a spiritual struggle (rulers, authorities, powers, spiritual
forces). Becoming harder and harder for people to believe – majority of
Christians don’t believe in the devil (Barna’s survey). Whereas belief
in God gives Him power in your life, unbelief in the devil gives him
power in your life! Satan, because he is not omnipresent, omnipotent,
omniscient (not God!) relies on an organization of “spiritual forces”
- Our Stand (11, 13-18)
- Obviously emphasized – “stand” (11, twice in 13, 14). “Stand your
ground” (13) carries the idea of holding a critical position while under
attack. Must make our stand (Custer’s last stand) – can’t run or hide.
You are either “standing your ground” or “giving up ground” (losing
ground) by giving Satan a foothold.
- Danger of standing alone – need for community. Example of Jesus
interceding for Peter when “Satan asked to sift you as wheat.” (Luke
- We need the “full armor of God” (13-17) – God provides the
resources, but we must wear what we’ve been given – are some Christians
spiritual “streakers” who go into battle undressed and unarmed?
There is power in prayer – other than final greetings, Paul ends his
letter to the Ephesians with prayer requests – for all of the Lord’s
people, and for Paul’s fearlessness in proclaiming the gospel.
Reflection & Action
Use the guide for either personal devotions or group discussion.
© Wayne Schmidt