Here is a vital subject which we must understand. Here is the bottom line, all is said and done. Sit, walk, stand. Point of decision. A stand must be made. The strategy is clear. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is constantly recreating us. Jesus is combining us as one. We are living out the presence of Jesus in our relationships, in our values, in our focus, in our lifestyles, how we walk.
1. Source of Strength, 10-12
Easy to get discouraged until see that this does not depend upon our strength. Not used everything at your disposal until ask your family.
Not just be strong, but be strong in the Lord.
Not of us. Not stoic self-help, pull self up by own bootstraps.
Not merely for ourselves. Not self-nobility through struggles and suffering.
Continuing process to be strong (present tense).
Our power and armament are from the Lord. Panoply--heavy duty. Don't go out to battle half-prepared.
2. The nature of the Struggle, 10-12
This is a struggle between good and evil, fought in the spiritual realm. We must have spiritual armor, invincible armor is available.
"Our" struggle. We are participants. Too many Christians are all but AWOL from the Lord's army.
Struggle in the heavenly places where we are blessed and seated.
Convictions do not come from personal emotions, hostilities, relationships, but from our hatred/repulsion for sin. Be hostile to evil, not people. Faith is not dialectical, solely strong when it is opposing others in debate. Faith is not to be defined in terms of oppositions and contrasts. We are for grace because there are legalistic opponents (illus.). We must seek life's balance with regard to people, and engage ourselves firmly in the spiritual battle.
3. Strategy against the Enemy--Stand Firm against Satan's schemes, 10-13
Stand...stand. We need strength, equipment, awareness of enemy. We either stand with Jesus or abandon our reason for being. When we cease to promote kingdom things and advance the kingdom evangelistically and in missions, we have ceased to exist as Christ's church. Apathy, serve-me, only defending are deadly enemies of real commitment to the Jesus lifestyle and genuine commitment to Jesus.
We stand for something as well as against Satan. We accept the challenges of discipleship. We are involved with the greatest struggle of all time which will issue in the greatest victory of all time.
We must know the enemy--the Intelligence Corp must do its work. Satan is a schemer, spiritual, strong, sinister.
4. The Soldier's Armor, 14-17
Equip yourself with the armor.
Bound with truth as a belt.
Breastplate of righteousness.
Foot armor, shoes of the gospel.
Body shield of faith.
Helmet of salvation.
5. Spiritual Communication, 18-22
Battlefield communication is essential.
There is no sentence break between v. 17 and v. 18. The way we take the spirit's sword is in prayer. We are not battling along. We must maintain constant communication with HQ, as Jesus did as he was on earth. When there is no communication, we become discouraged, disorganized, and lose morale.
We must engage the enemy, and where that begins is often surprising. Prayer is not getting ready for the battle, prayer is where the battle begins.
Prayer is not optional, but essential.
Prayer makes us alert to opportunities. Sleeping sentries cannot see the enemy. Defeatist, sleepy-headed believers overlook opportunities. Such a church is afraid to venture out, such Christians will never speak for Jesus.
This is not just about defense, but about offense.
Never be any stronger than your prayer life. No church can be stronger than the prayers of its people.
The challenge we face is that we never be vulnerable.
Be strong in the struggle against the enemy, armed and communicating.