Today's Bible Reading: Ephesians 6
Selected Biblical Text
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, 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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Reflecting and Thinking
Conflict comes in many forms. The kind of conflict Paul addresses in this text is spiritual conflict. God empowers his people for their struggles against spiritual forces of evil. The resources he provides may seem powerless and insignificant to us--truth, righteousness and justice, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God. These are God's power in the face of opposition. In the last part of the chapter, Paul urges prayer in the Spirit, using all kinds of prayer on all kinds of occasions for all of God's people.
Spiritual conflict or warfare has become an increasingly popular topic in recent years. How often are you aware in your daily life of spiritual conflict? Which of the resources God provides do your find most powerful in your life? Do you use prayer as a first resort or a last resort? While this text seems to have primarily individual applications, what can we do to help one another in our spiritual conflicts?
Heavenly Father, we want to be strong, we want to overcome evil and temptation, we want to stand firm for you. May we know your power and presence in our lives. May we depend more on you and less on ourselves. Be with us in all of life, in Jesus' name, Amen.