Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. 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. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit — which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 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. Tychicus, our dearly loved brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me so that you may be informed. I am sending him to you for this very reason, to let you know how we are and to encourage your hearts. Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection: Paul began this letter to the Ephesian Christians on a high, cosmic scale, and he finishes in the same way. I suspect that this is because he knows that we can focus so much on the ‘here-and-now’ that we forget the big picture. I suspect that we need to be drawn back to the cosmic context for who we are so that we can continue to plug away day-by-day. Put simply, with our identity assured (‘in Christ’), with the household of God gathered, with the rival to God beaten (‘the ruler of the kingdom of the air’), nothing would please God’s enemies more than to see God’s household splinter. Like a headless snake who thrashes around, and whose severed head can still bite, the devil is attacking. And God has given us the resources to stand firm, as his assured household, with our identity secure, against him. So, walk fearlessly, by standing firm!
Question: There are seven tools mentioned here – belt, armour, sandals, shield, helmet, sword, and prayer. In the next seven days, read the reference to each and write down one way you will use that tool on that today.
Prayer: Father, thank you that you provide all I need, all we need, to stand firm against anything this world and the devil might throw at us. Grant us the confidence we need in the tools you have already provided, and the gumption to use them. Amen.