Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:11-13
The journey of the faithful steward involves a spiritual battle against the forces that would keep us in bondage and render us ineffective as citizens of the kingdom of God.
I was not raised in a church tradition that talked much about spiritual warfare. I’m not sure we knew what to do with Ephesians chapter 6. In developing the theology of the faithful steward, however, it has become abundantly clear that living for Christ as a faithful steward places us in the very center of a fierce spiritual battle that we dare not ignore. The greatest battle of our lives is played out in the struggle between the owner and the steward, between submission and control, between bondage and freedom. It is a serious, life and death battle because it is ultimately the battle for lordship.
If we recognize the seriousness of this battle we will take with equal seriousness the call to put on the armor of God. This armor is necessary because when we are dealing with issues of lordship, trust, total submission and freedom we are advancing against the enemy’s agenda at its very core. These are not little border skirmishes that are merely nuisances or inconveniences in life. These are true spiritual battles and we fight them in the name of the one who is already victorious.
The freedom God has for you in your journey over the remainder of this 50-day process will only come through your willingness to engage in this battle. You must take seriously how desperately the enemy wants you to remain in bondage. You must understand that fear, anxiety and doubt are the fruit of his handiwork in your life. You must acknowledge that day by day he continues to whisper in your ear those same words that he spoke in the Garden – inviting you to grasp control and play the Lord were only God should do so.
The first step toward victory is acknowledging that you are in the battle.
Continue reading Ephesians 6:14-20. Think through what it means for you to “put on” the armor that is listed here: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace (boots), the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation. As you think about the armor that you bear today, where are you most vulnerable? Pray today that God will help your armor to be complete, “so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Almighty God and heavenly Father, I don’t always see myself as a warrior engaged in a great battle. I have to confess I’m not really comfortable with this language or image. I’d like to think that this battle doesn’t exist. Thank you for reminding me just how important it is to acknowledge the spiritual warfare that is everywhere in our world. I want to be ready, prepared and equipped for the battles into which you call me. Right now I know there are areas in my life where I am vulnerable. I confess those to you and ask today that you would strengthen me in precisely these areas. This is your battle Lord, fought in your name with the weapons that you grant us. And I know because of the cross, the outcome is already assured. Fit me for the battle Lord. In Jesus’ victorious name. Amen.