Week 33 Day 1
Eph. 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, 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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
A life of faith is a friendship and it is also a war. It is important to keep both realities in mind. Soldiers cannot live in a constant state of battle. There comes a point when, if they remain in combat conditions for too long, they are unable to continue the fight. We cannot live in an ongoing state of “fight or flight.” That is why God has given the command for a Sabbath and has offered us his peace and rest in the midst of the war. All that being said, we must not lose sight of the reality of the war in and around us. Even if a soldier is withdrawn from the front lines for a time, that soldier has not left the war. In times of respite and in times of direct spiritual combat, there is a phrase in this passage that is critical to remember. “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” This is a not a call to passivity, but rather to active faith. You must move into the battles and you must endure the conflicts that will come, but you must do so by putting your fullest confidence in the Lord and relying on his power, not your own. This should not lead to a diminished personal effort, but rather it should invigorate your efforts because success does not finally depend on your strength but on the Lord’s. Again, we find this mystery of God’s sovereignty and our responsibility. As you move into the various battles that rage in your life, you must remember that God ultimately will prevail and that you must choose to be strong in his power, not your own. You must give all of yourself to the battle – heart, soul, mind, and strength. There is no part of you that you can hold back in fear or laziness. But, then, you must remember that in this battle you give yourself in love to God – heart, soul, mind, and strength. And in giving yourself to him in love, you will find him to be all you need in order to win the battles as they come. Here is where the friendship and the combat come together. Love God with every part of your being and then you will see God, who is your friend, reveal his mighty power in your life.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)