Read His Words Before Ours!
“Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this, I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should.” Ephesians 6:19-20
We’ve studied the different components of God’s armor as we’ve journeyed through Shielded together: the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, sandals of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Every piece of armor evokes powerful imagery of what spiritual warfare looks like when battled God’s way, and it looks nothing like what we might picture on our own.
In a nutshell, He shields us with His armor as He fights for us. We have only to stand firm.
Following such an impassioned illustration and instruction, Paul’s plea for the Ephesians to pray for his own boldness feels…a little out of place. In fact, it brings several questions to mind.
If Paul was indeed adequately covered and “suited up” in the armor of God, why would he need to beseech other believers to pray for his boldness in speaking the gospel? Wouldn’t the presence of spiritual armor automatically make him bold? What does this imply about the overarching purpose of the armor itself?
All good questions; let’s unpack them. Paul’s illustration of the armor of God is intended to give us solid imagery regarding who our battle is against: the enemy and his forces, and how we are to withstand him: by keeping our minds and wills submitted and purposed in the Kingdom as we go about our daily lives. We know all Scripture is God-breathed and inerrant, so with that in mind, what can we conclude from Paul’s plea?
To answer that question, we must dig a little deeper.
Every human is comprised of body, soul, and spirit. Our body is made up of flesh, blood, and bone; our soul consists of mind, will, and emotions. and our spirit contains wisdom, communion, and conscience. Paul gave a nod to this distinction when he wrote about the constant tension he found himself living within.
In the verses we’re studying today, Paul is talking about two of the different components of our being. As he expounds on the spiritual armor, he is addressing our – and his – spirit. When he asks the Ephesians to pray for his boldness, he is addressing his personal battle within his own soul, which is the mind, will and emotions.
Can you relate? I know I can. The sad, and very real truth, is the vast majority of us are far less concerned with anything the enemy might do than we are concerned about what other people might do or say.
Ouch. That manages to make me wince and be comforted simultaneously; even Paul warred with himself in the same way. His plea for boldness may as well be my own.
Or yours, too, maybe?
Think about it. Have you ever found yourself stirred by the Spirit? With sweaty palms, your heart pounding in your chest, and stomach rolling because you knew you were being moved to respond, to speak, to give, to share, to witness, to love…but then you didn’t do it? Have you felt the wave of sorrow that rushes over you when you failed to submit in the moment?
My friend. You’re not alone. I’ve been there. And Paul was there, too.
But do you notice what he didn’t ask the Ephesians to pray for?
Paul didn’t ask for safety.
He didn’t ask the enemy’s plans would be foiled.
He didn’t ask for his survival, or to be freed from chains, either.
No; instead, he asked for boldness.
Paul knew God would fight the real enemy for him, so he asked for help battling his own mind, will and emotions so he would be able to accomplish the task he had been commissioned for: preaching the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike.
Where do you stand, Sister? Do you find yourself shying away from the opportunities the Lord gives you to be a light in this dark world? Do you battle your own anxiety, or fear, or worry about what others may think?
Confess your worry and fear to the Lord, and ask Him to bolster your spirit. Then, reach out to someone you trust to pray for you, and do what Paul did: ask them to pray for you to be bold! The Lord is faithful and He will strengthen you!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!