Our scripture today is Ephesians 6:11-18.
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.
Paul uses the example of putting on armor for battle as encouragement for us to be prepared for what the enemy has in store. He reminds us that “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”. Sin entered our world through deceit and disobedience but God did not abandon us, giving us the tools we need to resist evil.
We must choose to accept the strength God sends through His love and His word to stand against those who oppose Him. In order to be ready, we must understand what God wants for us – eternal life with Him. Jesus came to show us how to live in connection with God and one another and that this relationship is more important than any temporary earthly thing.
We may feel “the presence of evil” is a thing of the past, from a time when people didn’t know as much as we do now. That’s exactly what the enemy wants us to think! Evil wears modern clothes and speaks to us with sweet words in order to distract us from the gift of salvation we have been offered. We must recognize this trap and “stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints”, trusting that God stands with us.
Gracious God, we have failed to love one another as You intend, but in Your mercy You made a way for us to be saved. Bless us to stand with You that we may resist sin and go in Your name with the Good News. Amen.