Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. – Eph 6:10
A command has gone out to all Christians everywhere. The command is to be strong.
All Christians are engaged in a spiritual fight. The fight is first for their soul, but secondly for their usefulness. Any man that Satan can fell is his first aim; but those that he cannot, he desires to render impotent. A powerless Christian is one less Christian that he has to worry about.
It so tempting, sometimes, to exit the fight. Things may not be as easy as you thought they were going to be. You may have gotten beat up a little more than you expected. But you can’t give up. You can’t give in. There is a dying world that needs what God has put inside of you.
What must you do? You must be strong.
But how? How can I be strong if I feel so defeated? How can I be strong when I’ve failed time and again?
Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us without instructions. He tells us exactly how to be strong.
Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may stand against the wiles of the devil. -Eph 6:10-11
Notice how we are commanded to be strong, yet we are instructed to put on God’s armor in order to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. In other words, being strong is directly correlated to putting on the armor of God. Putting on God’s armor is what makes us strong. This is great news, because now the command to be strong goes from an abstract idea, to a practical reality. All we must learn is how to put on the armor of God, and then we will be strong.
Imagine a soldier sent to battle. He is instructed to go fight at the front lines. Imagine that the commanding officer gave him no equipment! Instead, he says to him, “be strong and brave!” No sane officer would do such a thing. Instead he would say, “You are a soldier in the United States Army. You have received the best equipment in the world. Be brave, be strong. You have everything you need to win this battle.”
God has done exactly that for us. He has given us the best equipment. All we must do is take it up. In it we can be strong.
Let’s look at this entire portion of scripture.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, by which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit… – Eph 6:10-18
Paul instructs us to take up the WHOLE armor of God. He then lists it’s pieces. Lets review them:
- The waist girded with TRUTH
- The breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS
- Feet shod with the PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL
- The shield of FAITH
- The helmet of SALVATION
- The sword of the Spirit, which is the WORD OF GOD
Don’t be too carried away with the illustration of the armor, like some have. The armor isn’t the important part. The important thing to understand is that a man can be strong if he has these six things (seven really, prayer being an integral part).
1 – TRUTH
A man can be strong when he has the truth. God’s word is truth (Jn 17:17). Knowing the truth is so important because one of the devil’s chief tactics is deception. Lies are easily exposed when the truth is known. So many Christians fall prey to the lies of the devil simply because they do not know the truth.
Knowledge is power. That knowledge comes from the Word of God.
My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge – Hosea 4:6
2 – RIGHTEOUSNESS
A man can be strong when he is right with God. To be righteous means that you are in a place were there is no issue between you and God. To be righteous means that God is pleased with you, and has NOTHING against you. If someone where to ask God, “what’s wrong about him?” God would say, “Nothing!”
We can be strong, not because we are righteous in ourselves, but because Christ has become our righteousness. We are the righteous by His blood. His blood wiped away anything that was wrong with us, so all that is left is RIGHT! (1 John 1:9)
The devil loves to condemn us, to tell us how worthless we are, and how sinful we are. Those who don’t know their righteous place in Christ will fall prey to this, rendering them feeling condemned and powerless. We must parry this attack and say, “He who knew no sin, became sin for me, that I might be made the righteousness of God in Christ!” (2 Cor 5:21)
3. PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
This is so important. How can we fight when we are not properly prepared?! We can be strong when we take the necessary steps to prepare for the battles.
The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord – Pro 21:31
Are you prepared to share your faith? Have you thought it out? Are you prepared for an attack of sickness in your family? Have you studied it up? What battles do you anticipate in your life? Search the scriptures, read books, be ready. Those that are ready are strong
Paul calls faith a shield that we should take up above all. A better way to say it would be: over all. The shield is designed to go out in front of a soldier and to be the primary method of defense. Every soldier goes to battle expecting to use his shield; the other armor, however, is there just in case the primary method of defense fails for some reason. We should be using faith to protect us from the enemy’s attack, but even if our faith fails for some reason (like Peter’s did when he was walking on water), we still have the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness! You may fall into temptation for example, but you can still trust in Christ’s righteousness! Confess your sins, and He is faithful and just to forgive your sins, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness!
Faith makes us strong because it is placed in a God that cannot fail us, and will not forsake us.
Be strong and of good courage, fear not, for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you – Deut 31:6
Salvation gives us confidence against attacks on our physical life. Those who trust in God know that their home is in heaven, and that this life is nothing. We grieve over death, because of the pain that it brings, but we do not sorrow as the world sorrows. The world has no hope, but we know that true life is beyond the scope of this world.
Do not be afraid of those that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do – Luke 12:4
6. THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, WHICH IS THE WORD OF GOD
The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. This is different from the belt of truth (which is the Word of God). The word ‘word’ is different here in the original language. It means a ‘spoken word.’ The Sword of the Spirit is the truth spoken.
The Word of God spoken becomes an offensive weapon. Jesus used it against the devil in times of temptation. It’s not enough just to have a knowledge of the Word, we must speak it.
Remember what the Lord told Joshua when he was about to go to battle in the promised land?
This Book of the Law (the Word of God) shall not depart from out of your mouth… – Joshua 1:8
The Word of God must constantly be spoken. As much as you would use a sword in the midst of a physical battle, so you must speak the Word of God in the midst of a spiritual battle.
Are you facing a battle of condemnation? You must say with your mouth “I am forgiven! I am the righteousness of God in Christ! I have confessed my sin, and He has been faithful to forgive my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness!”
Are you facing discouragement? You must say with your mouth, “I am called, I am chosen, I am anointed, I am equipped!”
Are you facing fear? You must say, “The Lord has said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, that I might boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man shall do to me!”
Are you facing temptation? You must say, “The reproach of Christ is greater than all the treasures of this world,” and “The flesh profits nothing!”
We also must speak the Word of God so others may hear and be saved, for ‘how will they hear without a preacher?” When we proclaim the word of God, under the power of the Holy Spirit, we throw a sword into the hand of the Spirit of God. He then takes that sword (the Word of God, which is sharper than any two edged sword -Heb 4:12), and plunges it into the hearts of them that hear. This is called conviction. Now the hearer is faced with the choice to believe and be saved, or reject it and be damned (Mark 16:15-16).
Now we can see how we can be strong in the Lord. God has given us all the equipment we will ever need. We must do our part and ‘put it on.’ Put it on by studying the truth, and by trusting in His Righteousness. Put it on by preparing for battles to come. Put it on by stirring up your faith, and by meditating on your eternal salvation. Put it on by speaking the Word of God. When you do this, you will find that you are strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might! No devil in hell will be able to defeat you. You will be victorious in all the battles that come your way.