Our pastor preached a very practical message, this past Sunday, questioning the cliché, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.” In his message, he mentioned that trials of life can be great opportunities for us to feed off God’s power/provision instead of fear. He also shared that what we set our minds on (belief), determines our view of difficult circumstances and perhaps even of God. Considering this he noted that, as believers, we need to change our minds about our circumstances and our God in such times, focusing on God’s game plan and His equipping for us to stand in victory.
This message reminded me how often, in times of difficulty, Christians are often directed to a discussion of “The Armor of God” in Ephesians 6:13-17. Absent contextual understanding, such instruction can sound a little complicated. In fact, many books have been written about just how to “take up the whole armor of God”, what each piece is for, how to use each piece, etc. However, man’s writings about “the armor of God” typically have one thing in common; they make the responsibility for the armor working to somehow depend on the wearer instead of the Provider, as well as the wearer’s preparation/ability to use it. But if you put these verses back into their context, particularly Paul’s introductory instruction in verse 10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might”, you see the armor in a different light.
Based on verse 10, it appears we are not looking so much for God to strengthen us to use the armor as we are to simply be “strong in Lord” and in the “strength of His might.” Understanding this, the instruction/belief is then that our strength is only by resting in His strength and the armor (Eph 6:11-17) becomes much easier to understand as God’s provision. We don’t fight the battle, rather we stand in confident belief (by grace through faith) knowing that the battle and victory is the Lord’s and that it is His game plan and equipping that enables us to simply “stand”…..because He has already won the battle/war, in Christ.
Things to consider:
What is one of the biggest battles you have faced in the past?
How did you perceive it affected your relationship with God?
What is one of the biggest battles you are facing right now in life?
Do you think you were/are prepared to stand firm? If not, what plan do you have to be able to stand firm?
What would it look like to more fully trust in God’s plan and stand in his power?