Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
(Ephesians 6:10 ESV)
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a general letter that was probably circulated to several churches. It contains general doctrine about a believer’s position in Christ (chapters 1-3) followed by specific examples of how we are to live in light of that truth (chapters 4-6:9).
But living such a life does not come easy. Being a believer doesn’t mean that things always go your way. In fact, it will definitely mean that things very often don’t go your way because Satan will attack you.
For example, Satan is using atheists and the gay community to attack Christians through their words and law suits. But have you noticed they never sue Muslims over their stance on religion or homosexuality? That’s because Islam is a lie and Satan isn’t going to waste his time attacking a lie. Satan will always and only attack the truth.
It is God’s goal for us to grow in our knowledge of Him and to grow in our character to be more like Jesus. One thing we can be sure of. The more we grow in this way the more Satan will attack us. If one follows the model for living that Paul has outlined in this letter he can be sure he’ll experience spiritual warfare. This next section of Paul’s letter will address this important reality.
It’s interesting that Paul places this section immediately after his discussion of relationships. Satan attacks our relationship with God primarily by attacking our human relationships. He’s been doing this since the beginning. In the Garden of Eden Satan broke Adam and Eve’s relationship with God and each other [Genesis 3:1-13].
Therefore God admonishes us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. We cannot fight against Satan in our own puny strength. We need God’s strength. We become strong in the Lord through prayer and the studying of God’s word. We also need to free ourselves from worldly influences such as mainstream entertainment (TV, movies, music) and by not hanging out with people who are clearly living in sin.
The Christian life is not passive. Nor is it child’s play. At the end of his life Paul said he had fought the good fight [2 Timothy 4:7]. The Christian life is a fight. Too many Christians believe God will remove every obstacle from their life. Some pastors even preach a “prosperity gospel” in which they teach nothing other than that God will make you rich. That is a great sales pitch to get people into church. But it is not even close to the truth.
While heaven will be free from problems, there is no such escape here on earth. And the more “in Christ” a person is the more problems they will encounter. I once read an interesting commentary which stated that Satan assigns his most talented demons to the strongest Christians. The more we become like Christ the more powerful Satan’s attacks with be [Luke 11:24-27].
The earthly Christian life is warfare. Over the next few days we’ll see how to prepare for and respond to it.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.