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A Final Word about Spiritual War

Most epistles of the apostle Paul end with salutations and thanking those individuals helping behind the scenes. Instead of devoting the final chapter of Ephesians to this practice, Paul provides a final word about the invisible war in the spiritual dimension. At the conclusion of this warning, Paul does squeeze in four verses to thank Tychicus for his faithful service. Yet, it is what comes before this which you should pay close attention to and grasp.

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]. 11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil, Ephesians 6:10-11.

Perhaps Paul is referencing his confession in 2 Corinthians 12:7-12. When Paul says “be strong in the Lord,” this may be code for at your greatest moment of need or weakness, place your full confidence and trust in Jesus. Yet, there is more to know about the ongoing spiritual war. While imprisoned at the time Paul wrote Ephesians, Paul appears to have a vision, comparing the Roman soldier standing guard outside his door with necessary spiritual armor.

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. 13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place], Ephesians 6:12-13.

Since the reality of the passage above is overwhelming, Paul offers spiritual weapons that Christians can use before entering spiritual combat. This attire contains a belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, cleats to dig in, a shield of faith and helmet of salvation, Ephesians 6:14-17. These first five pieces of armor are defensive in nature. However, when believers take up the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, you can begin to go on the offensive. While defense is important in the realm of sports, being proactive and going on the offensive is crucial to taking back lost ground.

by Jay Mankus

Enlisting in God’s Army

During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress established different oaths for the enlisted men and officers of the Continental Army. The oath of enlistment is administered by commissioned officers to any person enlisting or re-enlisting for a term of service into any branch of the military. From 1917-1973, the United States instituted a draft when enlistment numbers weren’t enough to field enough soldiers to build a competitive military.

As they talked, behold, Goliath, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, came forth from the Philistine ranks and spoke the same words as before, and David heard him. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, terrified, 1 Samuel 17:23-24.

David was a teenage shepherd when his older brothers became members of Israel’s army. According to Samuel, David’s father sent David to visit his brothers, bringing care packages from home. Based upon Samuel’s details in chapter 17, David was curious and eager to find out how the war with the Philistines was going. As Goliath stood up to make his daily challenge, David was offended while everyone else ran away in fear.

And the Israelites said, Have you seen this man who has come out? Surely he has come out to defy Israel; and the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free [from taxes and service] in Israel. 26 And David said to the men standing by him, What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? – 1 Samuel 17:25-26

Initially, David’s brothers were convinced that their little bro was pulling a publicity stunt. While his brothers thought he was merely seeking attention after being surrounded by sheep daily, David was serious about volunteering. This decision to enlist in God’s army transformed David’s life from a shepherd boy to a war hero. The apostle Paul explains what modern day Christians need before they enter the battlefield called life, Ephesians 6:10-18. This is the spiritual armor necessary to be a successful soldier in God’s army.

by Jay Mankus

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