Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Fully Armed

"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." (Ephesians 6:18)

The Christian in complete armor is outfitted sevenfold: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and prayer. Today we examine the last three.

The helmet of salvation protects our heads. According to Genesis 3:15, it is Satan’s head that is to be crushed. In Christ we may suffer a bruised heel, but our head is secure. Christ’s salvation protects our head because He is our Head, and we are in union with Him. We note that the high priest also had a helmet of salvation, a golden plate on his forehead on which were engraved the words “Holy to the LORD.” God’s salvation meant that the high priest was holy to the Lord, and it means the same thing for us. God will not allow his holy people to have their heads crushed.

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God: the Bible. In Revelation 19, Jesus is pictured as riding forth to conquer the world with a sword coming out of His mouth. Here we are standing fast, but as we stand fast, we proclaim the Word. We fight where God has put us. Often Christians want to run off and fight exotic battles, and in a way it is easier to fight away from home. Standing firm and dealing with problems near at hand is the toughest battle of all, but if the Bible is our sword, we will be able to fight and win.

Finally, Paul says to take up the weapon of prayer. Here he departs from symbolism and speaks directly. The high priest led all Israel in prayer at the altar of incense; and soldiers cry out to God in the midst of battle, with death and carnage all around. If we see that the battle is real, we will find the time to pray about all kinds of things. After all, Satan attacks in all kinds of ways and at every conceivable point in our lives. Moreover, just as the high priest prayed for all Israel, and just as a soldier knows that his life depends on his comrades, so we must pray for all the saints. Ultimately, our warfare is spiritual, which is why Paul pictures us as standing for prayer, fully armored. Prayer climaxes the list, because prayer is our ultimate weapon.

One of the reasons we don’t pray is that we are not desperate. You doubtless have had times when disaster loomed or struck, and you prayed often. Mediate on the reality of the Christian battle described in Ephesians 6, and make yourself more conscious of your desperate need for prayer.