10-12And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. 13-18Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (Eph. 6:10-18)
In this letter to the Ephesians, Paul has reminded the followers of Christ of the importance of knowing that it is IN Christ that we find out what we were made for and how to live life to the fullest. IN Christ we have been ushered into more than we ever dreamed possible - salvation opens doors for us like nothing else can in this earth. IN Christ, we have immediate and bold access to the God of the universe. IN Christ, we become new creations - able to partner with God in the work he has designed for each of us to be involved in - the revelation of his love first WITHIN us and then through us. IN Christ, we can enjoy a unity of spirit and faith that is unfathomable in the natural sense - all pulling together, moving in the same direction, with the same purpose in mind. IN Christ, we find relationship - first with him, then within the Body of Christ, given to us to strengthen us and establish us on a firm foundation of faith.
Paul is about to close this letter with some reminders to the followers of Christ that will act as solid words to base our daily walk on. God is strong and he wants YOU strong. Nothing says what Paul has been trying to say better than that! God wants to replicate himself in us - as we come INTO Christ, he begins a process of creating a new spirit within us that is capable of shining forth his glory through us. It is apparent to me that we sometimes don't walk IN what we have been given - simply because we don't apply it IN our lives. Paul reminds us that we have been given well-made weapons, but even the best made weapon is useless if it is not taken up and used as it should be.
Try using a canon as an arrow and your bow would be incapable of propelling the canon forward! Try using a pen-knife to defend you against a charging elephant and see just how effective that would be! You are getting the point, aren't you? We need the right weapon for the right battle. Paul reveals that it is not a tiny skirmish that we are in - it is out and out warfare, complete with the heavy artillery, skilled commanders of troops, and weapons capable of doing mass destruction in the hands of a skilled enemy! Satan is just such an enemy and his weapons are just such weapons. We need to counter his attacks with skill - skill learned by applying the weapons we have been given.
Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. These are our weapons of spiritual warfare. Weapons that must be "learned". When I was in Basic Training as a member of the US Army, the Drill Sergeant had the responsibility to teach us how to disassemble, reassemble, and ultimately accurately fire our weapons. We had to become so familiar with them that we could do it blindfolded! Well, the disassembly and reassembly process, that is - they never expected us to fire blindfolded! The purpose of those hours of taking them apart and putting them back together was to teach us the purpose and placement of each part - so we'd never be unable to use what had been provided for our protection.
God has the same thing in mind for us - we have been given much and must learn how to apply what we have been given. Truth matters very little if we don't know how and when to apply it. Righteousness is only a nice concept until it comes face-to-face with unrighteousness - then the stark comparison exposes the other. Peace is something we strive for in the natural sense, but something we must put on in the spiritual sense before it can affect our natural circumstances. Faith holds us firm when times are challenging - but it is only available if it has been worked into the fibers of our being. Salvation is the basis of all we have been given - it is our foundation and if laid properly, it provides great stability in times of great terror.
How have we done applying what we have been given? Are they just "tools" in a collection that we admire, but really don't know how to use? If so, it is time to begin to explore their unique purpose in our lives and to apply them to the daily experiences of our walk. Weapons or tools are only useful when taken out of the box and used for the purpose they were intended. Weapons or tools are only useful when they are appropriate for the task at hand - we must learn from one skilled in the use of these - the Holy Spirit. We have been given much - are we using what we have been given so that we can stand strong in the battle?