Following Jesus 157
Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.
In Ephesians 6:10-20, the first command given to the believer before God is simply to Be Strong. 6:10. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”
In essence, the follower of Jesus is to only rest and depend upon the strength God provides them when engaging in spiritual conflict or war. We cannot fight the evil one in our strength. As Martin Luther wrote, “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.”
The New Testament writers spoke often about the strength from God which resides within each believer in Christ. See I John 4:1-4, Philippians 4:13, Ephesians 1:16-21, and Colossians 1:10-11.
The second command is to Be Prepared. 6:11a. “Put on the whole armor of God,”
The believer is to put on, keep on, and never take off the armor of God. This is to be done with one’s entire being: mind, emotions and will.
Additionally, the believer is commanded to put on “all” of the armor of God and not just bits and pieces. So, the believer is to depend upon the Lord and put on the armor of God on and keep it on.
The third command is to Stand Firm. 6:13. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
To take up the armor of God is reminiscent of putting on the armor of God. To take up means to take aboard, to lift up and carry. This is be done decisively and comprehensively, with intensity. Again, the apostle emphasizes the whole armor is to be taken up. Why?
The answer is immediately given. The phrase “that you may be able” indicates a purpose to putting on and taking up the armor of God, aside from obedience to God’s command to do so. The reason is to completely, actively and infinitely withstand, oppose and resist the devil’s pressure and power to give in to temptation.
Paul calls those moments of temptation the evil day. They are moments we all face when tempted to embrace that which is wicked, worthless, and morally corrupt.
We are not only commanded to stand, but to stand firm. This means that our resistance is not just for the moment, but for the long haul. We are commanded to maintain a firm and resolute.
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