Gracefully Truthful

Praise,Prayer,Rescue,Strength,Struggle,Trust

Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.

13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God.

18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 19 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. 20 For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should.

The Original Intent

1) What does it look like to put on the full armor of God in real life? (verse 11)

Paul concluded the practical “live Therefore in light of all Christ has Done” section of his letter by teaching on the Armor of God. Paul used the armor metaphor because he penned his letter “while in the custody of Roman soldiers. It was easy for him to look at the equipment of his guards and see how God has equipped the believer […]. The order […] described is the order in which the soldier would normally put them on.” (David Guzik)

God’s armor provides strength to defend against Satan’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10, 2 Corinthians 10:4) We should don truth like a belt because we resist Satan by declaring God’s Truth. (Matthew 4:1-11)

We wear a breastplate of righteousness because “the protection that covers our front and back is the titanium-strength, sin-proof, perfect, spotless righteousness of Jesus” (Asheritah Ciuciu)

We wear shoes ready to carry the gospel of peace since “the gospel is the answer not just for salvation but for everything else we could possibly need or want.” (Eric Gagnon, Ephesians 6:14-15)

Paul urges Christians to wear the shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:16-17) Our faith in God, His dominating rescue, and powerful Word protects us from enemy accusations. Sarah Freymuth asserts that God “does the great work of fighting for us and offering protection, and we have the task of lifting that shield of faith over our minds, our hearts and our bodies.”

Through prayer, we put the armor into action as Bethany Ruth states that we “prayerfully wield the sword of the Spirit to find freedom from the lies of the enemy . . . we will see our King demolish the enemy’s strongholds. . .” When we cover ourselves with God’s promises and His Word, we are protected by His armor afforded only to His true children.

The Everyday Application

1) What does it look like to put on the full armor of God in real life? (verse 11)

One day, I met my husband and son at the T-ball field to find my son at bat wearing slip-on sandals instead of running shoes. I laughed each inning as he ran the bases, inevitably trailing a sandal behind him! My husband, who was also the coach, was not as amused, but he did learn to be specific when telling the kids to “wear shoes” each game day.

Sometimes I follow God’s instructions to put on the armor of God as haphazardly as my son prepared for his t-ball game. Ephesians 6:11 tells us to put on the full armor of God so we can stand against the devil’s schemes. Many days, however, I face the world without everything the Lord has graciously provided to strengthen me and give me victory.

With the full armor of God, the Lord “supplies us with Himself in order to strengthen us against Satan. Standing in Him, we can successfully live out the implications of the gospel.” (Ligonier.org) God tells us to wear His Truth so we won’t fall prey Satan’s lies. (John 8:44) Sarah Freymuth asserts, “God has equipped us with every piece of armor and Truth we need when the negative self-talk static rolls in loudly and the unexpected sucker punch of bad news threatens to drag us down.”

When I fail to put on the full armor of God, I am fighting battles without the equipment I need as God’s child to succeed. It’s like I’m falling down in my flips flops when I could be running the bases quickly and safely. We are richly blessed that God provides what we need to fight our battles successfully. (Ephesians 1:3) Lord, remind us to use everything you have provided to resist evil and stand firm each day.

The Original Intent

2) Why does Paul warn that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against evil spiritual forces? (verse 12)

Paul reminds us we are in a battle that “is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12) This message had special significance to the church in Ephesus, according to author David Barry, because “Ephesus was a center for the practice of magic. (Acts 19:18–19) It welcomed magicians and sorcerers. These were believed to draw power from the worship of Artemis and other occult practices […] Paul […] warns that demons stand behind idols and receive their worship. (1 Corinthians 10:20) Hence, Ephesus was a hub of spiritual darkness and demonic oppression.”

Paul knew how easy it is to focus on the people causing us trouble and forget that Satan, God’s enemy and ours, is who we are actually battling. D.A Carson suggests, “If we think that it’s against people, we can be reduced in our ministry, in our witness . . . Everything becomes a power game.” Satan wants to bring us down by getting us to fight against the people and things that harm us.

Wisely, John Piper advises, “Whenever someone’s flesh attacks me . . . something else is also going on, something . . . more destructive than meets the eye. I don’t mean that flesh and blood can’t hurt or hinder the cause of Christ. I mean that the prince of the power of the air is more dangerous than any of his subjects and that he must be overcome in every instance of conflict.”

We can stand against our real enemy, the devil, by putting on God’s armor to not only defend ourselves but also carry God’s Good News forward to the lost and dying. (Ephesians 6:11, Matthew 24:14)

The Everyday Application

2) Why does Paul warn that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against evil spiritual forces? (verse 12)

When I read Frank Peretti’s novel This Present Darkness as a teenager, it was like pulling back the curtain on a world I had scarcely imagined. Peretti’s book is an allegory about spiritual warfare, providing a behind the scenes dramatization of the battles that rage in the spiritual realm, unseen, and initially unsuspected, by the human characters.

It was enlightening and encouraging to see how the heavenly battles changed as the humans realized they held power given to them by God to defeat these “evil, spiritual forces in the heavens”. (Ephesians 6:12) I later encountered this same idea in C. S. Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters, a book of letters between a demon and his nephew who are working together to destroy the life of a young man who is a new Christian.

Reading the book made it easy to imagine how evil forces are scheming against Christ-followers to derail their Christian walk and tear them down on every side. God exhorts us to defend against this foe, but He promises that the devil can never separate us from God’s love. (Romans 8:38) Although the battle against us is always raging, the victory belongs to us through God. (Colossians 2:10) The more we intentionally put His armor on, the more we experience daily victory!

Alan Redpath notes, There is no winning without warfare; there is no opportunity without opposition; there is no victory without vigilance.” God allows the battles we face, but He provides us with His armor and His strength to bring us His victory. (1 Corinthians 15:57)

The Original Intent

3) How are we to “pray at all times in the Spirit”? (verse 18)

Paul exhorts the church at Ephesus toPray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18). Paul encourages the saints always to have a prayerful spirit, constantly in communion with God.

David Guzik explains, “The idea is all kinds of prayer or prayer upon prayer. We should use every kind of prayer we can think of”. We are to pray all the time in every way we know how to pray, and we should pray in the Spirit, which means leaning into how He is leading us to pray according to God’s heart, not our selfishness.

John Piper suggests this means that we “ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray. Don’t just pray human prayers. Use the Spirit’s inspired word and ask the Spirit to anoint you to have energy and guidance in your prayer when you pray.”

George Lawrence Lawlor says that praying in the Spirit is “praying out of hearts and souls that are indwelt, illuminated, and filled with the Holy Spirit.” When we are always praying in the Spirit in all the ways we know how to pray, our daily thoughts and decisions, from inconsequential to momentous, flow out of our closeness to God and out of attention to His Word and His will. (James 4:8)

Our communion with Him acts like a filter, making everything we think and say, a prayer to God as we align our hearts and minds to His. (Psalm 19:14) The closer we grow to Him, learning His heart and His ways, the more frequently we talk with Him and hear from Him, making our daily prayers a living, breathing desire to be more like Him. (Romans 12:2)

The Everyday Application

3) How are we to “pray at all times in the Spirit”? (verse 18)

When a teacher friend of mine was asked if he was frustrated that he couldn’t openly share Jesus with his public school students, he answered that every teacher is constantly sharing their values with their students by the way they live, speak, and conduct their classes. Without overtly sharing their faith, all teachers share their values through their conduct before their students.

The words they say or don’t say, the content they allow into their classrooms, and their conversation about outside-of-school activities all point to what energizes and sustains them. When teachers love their students, encourage them, and speak words of life over them, they are reflecting God to their students without saying a word about their faith. (2 Corinthians 3:18) I think Paul’s command toPray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18) is similar to this living your faith out loud.

It is not so much that you endeavor to pray all the time as it is that you are constantly communicating with God (John 15:4-5), abiding ever closer in relationship with Him. As we go through our days, we are meant to ask Him to meet needs and thank Him for His goodness and provision.

Praying at all times in the Spirit in every way you know how to pray means that each moment of your life is an opportunity to seek God’s will or show Him gratitude. When we are fueled by His Spirit, prayer to Him is like breathing in and out petition and praise, request and rejoicing. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) Lord, thank you for the privilege of constant communication with You!

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