As Christians, those who follow Christ, our enemy is not politicians, public schools, government agencies, or any human being for that matter. During the first crusade in AD 1096 the crusaders committed massacres of the Jews “Christ killers,” especially of those who lived in France, Italy and Germany. Thousands were butchered, their synagogues burned, and their possessions pillaged. The horrible experience lasted nearly two centuries and was comparable only to their experience under Hitler.
The result was that Jewish leaders dropped their teaching that the Messiah had come and distanced themselves from anything Christian. [Victor Buksazen, Israel My Glory, March/April 2017].
The Biblical text is specific that we “put on the armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. “For our battle 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.” When God’s Word is used to beat up on people, there is certainly no “Good News,” the very meaning of the word “gospel,” in our message. The only winner in that approach is satan because more times than not, the hearers will distance themselves from anything Christian.
The Ephesian text is very clear in that we put on the armor so that when the day of evil comes at us, we will be able to stand our ground and not be swayed by the evil one’s schemes to destroy us. The introduction to this section of Scripture sets the meaning of the context, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” Here we find the meaning of the recovery concept, “Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me.”
How many times have you tried to stop a certain behavior only to return to doing it again? “Many,” “many” and “many” is a common answer. No human can stand against satan in their own power, but clothed in the armor of God we can.
The word “stand” or “resist” occurs four times in several verses and should get our attention. The word means to be steadfast, to be firm, permanent or to endure. Because of the form of the Greek word it also carries the meaning of “each time.” The word “schemes,” in this passage, is defined as cunning, craftiness, wiles or sly tricks, and deceitfulness. So verse 11 would literally read “Put on the whole armor of God so that each and every time the devil presents some crafty or deceitful way to lead you off track, be firm, be permanent, and endure.”
In verse 13 the NIV and the KJV both define a Greek word for power as “you may be able.” In Ephesians 1:21 both translations define the identical Greek word as “power.” Divine power is behind the “you may be able” to stand by putting on the whole armor of God. Each time the day of evil presents itself we will be able to set our self in opposition to it though the divine power God’s armor brings to us.
The fourth use of the word “stand” is different in meaning. The first three were instructional in how we should respond each time the evil one tries to get us off course. The fourth use in verse 14 is defined the same but now it is a command. We are commanded to stand.
To understand the intention of this word, I envision a commander in the heat of intense battle. When things really heat up in battle, fear can cause troops to break ranks and run, which often brings defeat or death. When things get intense the commander shouts the command “STAND!” Then he and the troops stand with each other and do battle together. This is the concept intended for us to understand in this Ephesians text. Like a military recruit in the midst of intense battle, we are to hear the command from our leader in verse 14, “STAND!” Clothed in the whole armor of God, our Lord and King will stand with us and do battle with and for us.
We are in a great spiritual battle we cannot win on our own. We have an enemy who is out to kill, steal and destroy us. Throughout Biblical history, God has stated that He would fight His follower’s battles if they would stand with and trust Him. God has not changed.
People fall today for the same reason they fell in history. They walk away from God’s protective power. Putting on the armor of God is not about trying harder. It’s about standing with God and trusting Hhim and the armor He has given you. When you do then you will be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. The power that created the universe, raised Jesus from the dead, calmed a sea, and directs the wind will be at your side shouting “Stand Firm! I will not leave you! I will battle with you and for you!”
For a more complete discussion of this topic read Lynn Fredrick’s book, Stand Firm: From the Darkness of Pornography and Sexual Sin into the Light of God’s Grace. Available at www.lynnfredrick.com or www.amazon.com