A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
The Bible does not hide the reality that life is hard, that we will experience difficulties, and that we will be under attack from the Evil One. We should not be surprised when temptations, trials, and struggles come our way.
During these times of hardships we are commanded to stand firm. Standing firm requires wearing the armor God given us. It is impossible for us to stand firm by our own strength. The strength required to stand firm comes from God.
The reason it is important to stand firm is because by standing firm we are able to resist the darkness. Often we think the best way to combat the darkness is to attack it, to fight fire with fire, but the image the apostle Paul gives in this passage. Standing firm is about taking a defensive stance against the enemy.
Rome had a great army, and their success was based on standing firm. They would form lines and stand shoulder to shoulder with their shields and lances in front. On their feet they wore studded sole shoes so they would have the traction to stand firm. Roman victory resulted in their ability to stand firm and allow their enemy to break themselves on the Roman shields and spears.
A huge part of the Roman's success was their ability to stand together. I think this the truth Paul alluded to in this passage. To stand firm requires that we stand with each other, and we can only defeat the forces of darkness by standing with each other. Unity is essential for success.
Part of the Gospel message is the truth that we don't stand alone or go into battle unaided. God has blessed us with the Church so we can have other people to stand by our sides. He has provided us with the equipment necessary for resisting Satan. God has also given us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us as we oppose the forces of darkness each day.
In our talk about having a “personal relationship” with God, we often make the mistake of believing that we have to follow Jesus on our own. It is true that faith is a personal thing, and that God has a relationship with each of us which is unique to us, but that does not mean that our relationship with God is a private thing. According to Scripture faith is to flow out of our lives. Faith, which includes our relationship with God, is to influence every part of our lives. Our faith, while personal, has a very public effect.
When we step out to do battle with evil we don't go alone. We step out and stand with all those men and women of faith who have been called to make a difference in this world. We need to stand firm, not only for us, but for all those people who have been touched by the darkness.
I urge you to take time to ask God to teach you how to use the equipment He has given you, to open your eyes to see the people who fight by your side, and to strengthen you so you can stand firm in the face of evil. Remember we don't stand alone!
Questions to consider:
- Why is it important to stand firm?
- How are we able to stand firm in the face of evil?
- Does it give you any encouragement to remember that you are not alone?