In the First Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War Stonewall Jackson stood firm. His men held the critical Henry House Hill. Jackson calmly sat on his horse with his arm raised during the battle. He lost part of his finger to shrapnel. Many believe he was imitating Moses. Moses prayed for his men as they fought. Jackson calmly prayed for his men even though he was a very large target.
Another Confederate general watched Jackson during the battle. General Barnard Elliott Bee said, There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians!
We need to stand today. One strong person makes a tremendous difference. We must not live in fear. We must fight and win the spiritual battle. Ephesians 6 uses an extended metaphor to teach the proper way to fight and win the spiritual battle. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil (verses 10-11).
The phrase be strong literally means be strengthened. We need Gods strength. We dare not fight in our own strength. Gods strength comes from putting on Gods armor! Verse 12 says, For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood Wrestle is a reference to Greco-Roman wrestling. Wrestling is the most intense sport. This battle is personal and it is a fight.
The battle is won or lost in the mind. There are no neutral thoughts. Every thought comes either from God or from Satan. How do we put on Gods armor? Putting on Gods armor is thinking Gods thoughts! We must think biblically.
Ephesians 6:16 mentions the shield of faith. The shield of faith is an unwavering trust and confidence in God. David had a tremendous confidence in God. David told the giant Goliath, You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, Whom you have taunted (1 Samuel 17:45).
When the devil whispers thoughts of fear and panic, respond with an unwavering confidence in God. God the Father sent His Son Jesus to die for His people. The Son, Jesus, loved us enough to die for us. Romans 8:31 says, If God is for us, who is against us?
Ephesians 6:17 focuses on the helmet of salvation. Our salvation is described in three different ways- past, present and future. In the past a Christian was saved. You were saved from the penalty of sin. Today you are being saved from the power of sin. In the future you will be saved from even the presence of sin. Romans 13:11 says, Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.
The helmet of salvation is the assurance of future victory. I read the Book of Revelation- we win! Satans primary tool is discouragement. He says, You have been a believer for a long time. How can you still be tempted by that sin? Why is your spiritual growth so slow? You arent a Moses or Elijah or Sarah or Lydia. You probably arent even saved. No. We take the helmet of salvation- the assurance of future victory- and think Gods thoughts. As we think as God thinks, the victory is won.
1 Peter 5:8 says, Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. A lion roars at night to paralyze its prey with fear. Satan tries to intimidate with fear and persecution. Take the helmet of salvation (we win!) and walk in faith- not fear.
Ephesians 6:17 points out the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. A Roman soldier often carried one or two javelins and a short sword. A soldier threw the javelins to disable the enemies shields before closing in close combat. A Roman soldier led with his shield and thrust with his sword.
The sword of the Spirit is very specific promises from Scripture. Satan says, God will not provide for you. You will go broke. Youre going to end up living in a cardboard box. King David after a long life wrote, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). The transcendent, infinite God- Jehovah- is our shepherd. He cares for us. God is strong and powerful and far away but He is close. He is our shepherd.
All of this is possible because of Jesus and His sacrificial death. Who crucified Jesus? It was not the Romans or the Jews who ultimately killed Jesus. God the Father crucified His own Son to pay for our sins. Jesus died in our place. He bore our guilt. He offers us His perfect righteousness.
Place your faith and trust in Jesus today. He will never fail you. Learn to think like God thinks. Fight and win the spiritual battle. We must stand strong today. We must not live in fear. May we be faithful in these difficult times.
Ethan Hansen is a pastor at Faith Bible Fellowship in Big Lake.
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