Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
This whole passage could hardly seem more timely for any aware believer today. The world is a mess, and the spiritual warfare is becoming more and more obvious. In America the fight seems pretty intense, but the devil was laying the groundwork for that in the universities from over 100 years ago. He was able to do that because the believers, the Church, seemed largely asleep to it all. That’s why this verse seems so extremely appropriate. It is a command. We often don’t think we can choose to be strong, but the strength involved here isn’t merely human, it’s divine. In Christ we can indeed choose to be strong, and we urgently need to do so. We have far too many “doormat Christians” who have no idea how to fight! I’m not talking about martial arts and the like, but the spiritual warfare that is discussed in the following verses. Defensive armor and the sword of the Spirit are mentioned, but any military in the world knows that you have to have physical strength and endurance to be able to handle those tools. I wouldn’t want to be in a physical contest against a seal team member, for example! Physical strength isn’t the issue in spiritual warfare, but spiritual strength certainly is, and far too many Christians are spiritual wimps. Just as getting into physical shape requires consistent choices, and sometimes hard ones, getting into good spiritual shape requires adjusting your priorities, placing Christ first and foremost, valuing intimacy with the Holy Spirit above the world’s pleasures. Such choices are subject to our will and so can be commanded, as Paul does here. Like good soldiers, we need to salute and say, “Yes, Sir!”
I certainly wasn’t pleased at the time, but I think it was God’s good grace to me that I got my draft notice back in 1970. I knew it was God’s grace that I was assigned to Hawaii rather than Vietnam, but I didn’t recognize that the training itself was valuable to me spiritually. Getting out of training, I was in the best physical shape of my life, and I was prepared to use a wide variety of weapons. Rappelling out of a helicopter was actually fun! Part of that training was in taking orders and responding immediately. Of course, that places heavy responsibility on those giving the orders. On the human scale, sometimes those orders were good and sometimes they weren’t, but to come back to the subject of spiritual warfare, God only gives good orders. In the Church, people in positions of responsibility need to be careful they only repeat God’s orders, and not generate orders out of their own imagination and desires. As I’ve been writing this I have become aware of various areas in which I could certainly be more spiritually fit. I’m not to just acknowledge that but act on it, as James said. (James 1:22) In the Army I rose to E5 (sergeant), but there are such things as battlefield commissions. I have no real idea what my rank would be in God’s army, but I know that my focus must be on my Supreme Commander, to obey without hesitation or complaint.
Father, thank You for this call to attention. Thank You for the many things You are doing in and around me. Help me be fully obedient and effective as Your agent, so that indeed the devil’s works may be destroyed (1 John 3:8) and Your name acknowledged as holy as Your rule and reign is established and Your will done perfectly, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!