Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 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, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6:10-18.

 

 

The High Places Of Life
In the first two chapters of Ephesians, the writer spoke of God's great work in salvation--the mighty power that God loosed unto us in the work of salvation. In the third chapter, he dealt with God's willingness and readiness to work through our lives and encourages us to know that there are greater heights and deeper depths than any of us have yet reached. None of us have attained 100 percent of what God wants us to be. We may be obeying everything up to a point of understanding, but there are higher heights and deeper depths to be gained.

The fourth chapter brought up the unity of the Church and the unity of the Spirit, and it tells us that still, today, we must endeavor to keep it. Chapters five and six (to the tenth verse) dealt with the relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, employer and employee.

Then in Chapter 6, verse 10, Paul reached the apex of what he was saying-he started verse 10 with "Finally…". That means it is a finale, letting us know that while he had been dealing with many other things, he was about to put a capsheaf on it all. "Finally, my brethren…"

Notice that the Ephesians letter brought up beautiful, "high" experiences that God has for us even in this day and age as it dealt with various types of relationships in each of our lives. Then Paul said that we are to "put on the WHOLE armour of God". Why? Because spiritual wickedness has exalted itself to (and invaded) the "high" places in our lives, and those high places include our salvation, our marriage, our home and our job. The "high" places are those things that we spend the most time doing in our lives, those things that matter so much to us.

Paul was teaching Christians how to live in those days and his instructions are just as relevant today as they were when he penned them! We don't need a preacher to tell us that wickedness has permeated the high places in our lives. Divorce (when there is even the ceremony of marriage) is rampant. Salvation is being thrown out the windows of our homes and churches. Day after day, spirits of the enemy of our souls are talking men and women out of their experiences--thus causing them to give up and turn back to sin. Even the jobs we hold have been seriously affected by the ills in our world today.

The "high" places mentioned in the book of Ephesians are those things in our everyday lives that God ordained to be blessings to us. But the author of confusion, the devil, has invaded each of those "high" places. Because of it, we hate to go to work. We hate our jobs or our bosses or our fellow employees. We hate to live together and walk away from our problems instead of working through them.

All four of the "high" places we mentioned are from God's drawing board. He has the power and the perfect plan for keeping them operating beautifully. We had better realize, if we allow the devil to get a hold on us as he has the nominal religious world, if we give place to him, it will be only a matter of time till our own "high" places are wrecked and ruined.

The Battles We Face
Paul instructed us in Ephesians 6:11 to "put on the WHOLE armour of God". Why? Because life contains many arenas of battle. And let me tell you this, while struggling to keep something, to hold onto it may not be out and out warfare, it may well seem like it by the time the victory is won. A good example is a healthy marriage. In order for a healthy marriage to remain healthy, both partners will have times of struggle to keep it that way.

"Struggles" come in all shapes and sizes--it may be a struggle to not "vent" on your husband and wife about an error they made or the way they do something differently than you. It may be a struggle to resist a temptation that might present itself to you behind your husband or wife's back. There may be a struggle of learning to control spending between the two of you so that a budget can be maintained. There are many numbers of ways that struggles manifest themselves, but if we have on the armor of God, we can stand together as the partners God has made us in our marriage and resist the wiles of the devil.

Another arena of battle may be your salvation. There are many who think when they get saved, God sets them down on a nice soft pillow and takes them through a flowery bed of ease through the rest of their lifetime. Others seem to think that there will never again be another challenge to present itself, that all will be peace and harmony. Not in this life, my friends! We have an adversary, the devil, who goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour and let me tell you, those who profess to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior are his favorite fare! Why is that?

Think about it for a moment and it will never perplex you again. The devil is the ruler of what? Verse 12 of Ephesians, Chapter 6 tells us, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness… Where do all these battles take place? …in "high" places! And those places are? Our salvation, our marriage, our home and our job. The devil already has control of the sinful world, so he has plenty of time to "go about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour". Spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil are present in our lives, every day, sent to destroy us, and they will IF we are not fully enclosed in the WHOLE armor of God.

There are no two ways about it. No matter how bright a salvation experience you have, how strong a marriage you have, how good a job you have (or how "secure" you feel in it), there is only ONE place of protection: the WHOLE armour of God. Paul used a metaphor from an army to describe it because we wear it to protect us in the battles we face.

In our society of today, we face as never before, an all-out attitude of "go-alongism". We call it "peaceful co-existence", such as that with the anti-God theologies of this world: communism, Marxism, etc. All the time, it is strengthening the forces of evil nations. In far TOO many cases, the "Church" is trying to go along with the world, trying to find a "middle ground" for "peace co-existence". That's the same as faith going along with unbelief. Folks can try to do it all they want, but they are opposites and cannot peacefully co-exist. Evil is never satisfied with "co-existing"--it always tries to overthrow good.

Our human nature is something we can never get rid of, at least not in this life. Now understand this: we cannot get rid of the human (mortal) and still live in this world. We MUST bring nature of our body under subjection and keep it there by the Holy Spirit. The Word of God teaches us that we can pray according to our will: Whatsoever ye desire… is according to our will. However, as followers of Christ, we must bring our will into submission and subject ourselves to the Will of God.

Certainly, our human nature cries out for an easy life! There are those times when we are called upon to "take a stand", but our human nature tries to raise up and "make a truce" with evil forces. Why is that? Because it takes less sacrifice, less effort! Far too many people today hide behind the term "Christian" without taking on the responsibility that goes along with it. To be a true "Christian", one must be a follower of Christ. They want to be "soldiers", just not in active service. They want the medals to display during dress parade, but not the battles to earn them! They want the crown, but without the cross.

Certainly, we grow weary at times. Sometimes it seems as if every way we turn involves another engagement of warfare against the enemy. It can be draining, tiring, intimidating, if we forget that it is not we, ourselves, fighting the battle. If we try to take on the battles ourselves, we shall surely mess up! If we try to arm ourselves with our own weapons or armor of "our design", I assure you, we will surely fail.

The true vocation of every believer is conflict, and there is not a single exception to the rule. Our orders are to battle--stand until death. The last enemy to overcome is death, so we are right in there against enemies until we get to the very last one.

Verse 12 tells us that we are "wrestling" against "unseen forces". Oh believe me, some of them present themselves in very human, tangible form, but the evil that is behind that tangible form is unseen to the natural (carnal) eye. We "war" against unseen forces. Our only hope of survival is in God. Therefore, ...take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand...

Stand and Withstand
Did you notice that in Verse 11, Paul said, "that ye may be able to stand" and in Verse 13, "that ye may be able to withstand"? The armor of God works both ways: "that ye may be able to stand" means that when the attempt is made to put something on you, you need to take stand against it, not run from it. "That ye may be able to withstand" means you come through victorious when the enemy tries to take something from you or put something on you.

This is the most effective way the devil works on Christians. He will try to put something on you and if that doesn't work, he will try to take something from you. Therefore, our only hope of standing and withstanding is in the WHOLE armour of God. That "armour" is God's perfect plan of protection for us!

Verse 13 tells us to take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day… There are all kinds of "evil days" mentioned in the Bible: an "evil day" of affliction or an "evil day" of spiritual (or physical) weakness or an "evil day" of loss in our lives. Whatever our "evil days" entail, and there will be "evil days" in all our lives, we CAN withstand them, if we are protected within the WHOLE armour of God.

Let me tell you, the devil will watch you, while you are having a "strong season" (period of time) just to catch you in one weak moment! He knows exactly when and from what direction to attack! A physical disease may come upon you, or it could be a financial reverse, or some burden to weigh you down. He knows when to attack, and it is always at a moment of weakness.

Allow me to ask you a question right now. Do you know one of the moments when we, as Christians, are most vulnerable to an attack of the enemy? I said, MOST vulnerable? Right after we have seen victory. That's right, that's what I said, and I want you to remember it. When we are basking in the afterglow of a victory over something we've been praying about, something in our lives, whatever, if we are not careful to remain guarded in our spirits, ole' slewfoot will sneak in and catch us "not watching". As wonderful as victories are in our lives, we cannot allow ourselves to become prideful or think it's a time to "coast". If we remain in our "battle array", that WHOLE armour of God, we can stand in the most evil day that comes upon us. We do NOT have to let down, give up, or give in!

Now allow me to bring out a very vital point here. Every time we think of "armor", we think of "fighting". However, read our scripture text over again and see where it says that we are "fight". It does NOT, does it? It says we are to put on the whole armour of God and what? Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore… Verses 13 and 14. It says nothing about "fight"-it tells us to S-T-A-N-D. Why is that? Because all through the Word of God we are assured, time after time, the battle is the Lord's. God promises to fight our battles for us! We get in trouble when we take up our own weapons and start slinging them about!

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Now read it again: "and having done all, to fight". No! That is not how it reads! But many see that word "stand" and interpret it "fight". They have every kind of "fighting spirit" imaginable. Preachers stand in the pulpits and say it is all right to have a "fighting spirit" if you are fighting for truth. Doing something right the wrong way makes it wrong. It is never right to have a "fighting spirit"! A "fighting spirit" will not fit inside the armor of God.

Yes, there will be battle after battle, that is true. However, we don't have to fight them. They have already been won for us, and any "combat" there may be is done for us by the Lord. We put on the WHOLE armour of God so we can withstand in the evil days of affliction, temptation, persecution, and… in the evil days of reaping what we have sown.

"Wait a minute, wait a minute! Reaping? What reaping? There's no reaping, I've been forgiven of my sins." Glory to God for your salvation, but there always comes a time of reaping. Now understand this, because the mercies of God are made new to us every morning, our time of reaping won't be the same as it would have been without the Lord. And yes, His Grace is sufficient to see us through it, but there will still be reaping. The Word of God tells us, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:7-9.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 instructs us, Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them. If I abused my physical body or disregarded my health when I was a young person, simply because I have received salvation for my soul does not mean I will not suffer the consequences of my foolhardy ways when I get older. So some of those "evil days" that we find spoken of in the Bible are those days of reaping that come to us all. Such days of reaping are not punishment--we have received forgiveness of our sins--but they are the consequences of earlier actions. (This is NOT to say that ALL afflictions that come upon us are the direct result of some sin we committed or bad decision we made earlier in life.)

Allow me to give you an illustration. I leave my keys in my car which is parked in my garage. My son, who is not of age to drive, takes it out onto the streets and causes an accident. The police call me and I go. My son cries, "I am so sorry. I disobeyed. Please forgive me for tearing up the car." I forgive him. In my heart and feelings toward him, it is as if it never happened, but that doesn't fix the car. It was still wrecked. Reaping.

Another example: we warn our children against "petting". But they think we don't want them to "have any fun", or we are old "foagies". They think, "Nothing is going to happen to me." Then they get into a situation and see their sin. They are sorry they did not listen. However, something has been started. A baby will be born. Reaping.

My father used to tell the story of one season of planting when he and his brother were sent to plant corn in one field while their dad planted something else in another. They didn't want to have to plant that corn! So they devised a plan: they would bury all the corn kernels in an old stump at the far end of the field. ("Nobody" would know, you see and they could go play sooner.) Yet, there came a day when the corn should have come up in the rows. The only place it could be found was in that old stump. It was consequence time. Reaping.

…having done all, to stand. In other words, when you have done all you can do to obey God, STAND. Don't grab up your sword and start swinging, don't run, don't fall, don't quit, don't move: STAND. The whole armour of God will protect us in all our "evil days", including times of reaping.


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