Today’s reading: Ephesians 6
One of everyone’s favorite passages is in today’s reading:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God …
Two things strike me about this passage. First, we are well aware from Paul that Jesus is resurrected and in heaven and the Church and the faithful will be successful in obtaining eternal life and defeating death and the devil. However, even though we will be victorious that danger has not completely passed. The work of Christ is completed and successful but we who are still living on earth will still be struggling and fighting. The struggle is not just against sin but also against, “rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, [and] against the spiritual forces of evil…”. These enemies are varied, powerful, physical and spiritual.
Second, faced with this array of enemies, look at all the weapons that God has given us. Our belt, which helps to strengthen and support out waist and spine, is the truth (who is Jesus himself). We are protected by righteousness and the gospel helps us travel forward. Faith shields us from the attacks of the devil and salvation itself protects our head (and therefore minds). Finally, we have a weapon for attack, the word of God is like a sword that can cut down these many enemies. To bring all these weapons to bear Paul tells us to pray constantly.
Tomorrow: Colossians 1