Ephesians 6:13 - The Apostle Paul's Strategy to Winning Life's Battles
Victory Action #2 Stand Firm
13 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 6:13
The Apostle Paul taught us in the book of Ephesians that the devil is our spiritual enemy who wants to kill and destroy us. He will use everything in his power to attack and defeat us. Typical responses for people who are attacked by a bully is what is called "fight or flight." People will either hit back at the aggressor or run away. Both responses present problems and are not viable for the believer.
If you hit back at the one who is hurting you then you are lowering yourself to the aggressor's level and playing by his rules. If you return anger for anger and pain for pain then you are no different than your attacker. A second reason why the fighting response is inappropriate is that you have no authority in your own right to overcome the devil. So, the "fight" response is inadequate.
If you choose the "flight" response and run away then you lose the ground won by Jesus Christ when He died and rose again to conquer sin and death. Plus, you cannot avoid conflict with your spiritual enemies for very long. They will find you eventually and force you to react.
So, what are you to do when it seems that the problems of life knock you down? I remind you of Paul's primary directive given us at the beginning of this passage: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." In our last time together, we considered the beginning of Paul's strategy to winning life's battles and that was Victory Action #1 Put on the Armor of God. Today, we continue with Victory Action #2 Stand Firm. Ephesians 6:13 states, "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.
Jesus is Our Example
The best example of one putting on the armor of God and standing firm in the face of a spiritual attack is our Lord Jesus Christ. In Matthew 4 we read of the time in His life when Jesus went to the desert and fasted for forty days and forty nights. The Bible says that He was "hungry." It was at this point, when he is physically weak, that the devil enters the scene to tempt Him three times.
The temptations begin with the devil demanding that Jesus prove His deity to him. "If you are the Son of God," the devil demanded. But who is the devil that he should demand anything from the Son of God? Jesus was not required to prove Himself to anyone but God the Father. So, Jesus stood firm immediately by not engaging the devil in conversation about the devil's false authority.
The devil then went to the first temptation: "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." But instead of fighting the devil physically or with a war of words and instead of running away, Jesus responded to the evil one with the Truth of God's Word. "Jesus answered, "It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'
The temptation before Jesus was to delve into the pleasures of the flesh but He stood firm by declaring the Truth of God's Word. This was followed by the second temptation to become prideful of His position as Son of God and then the third temptation to be all powerful and rule all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus stood firm by remaining consistent in His response. He acted righteously by quoting the Truth and by relying on God the Father.
How to Stand Firm
I believe that the Apostle Paul had this exact incident in mind when he provided practical means to stand firm. He addressed this issue in a letter to the church in Corinth and wrote, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
"Our way out" when facing temptation is to put on God's armor and to stand firm. This means that we respond as Jesus responded. We then stand firm by living in truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, God's Word, walking with the Holy Spirit, and by helping others. These items comprise the armor of God and equip us to stand firm in the midst of our spiritual battles.
So, when the attacks of life are around you, remember that you do not have to defeat the devil. You remind him that he is defeated already by Jesus Christ and that he has no place in your life. When you put on the armor of God, you align yourself with Jesus and are on the winning team. Instead of taking on the devil's doubts and fears, you can stand firm in the Truth of God's Word. You can live righteously and at peace because your trust in the Lord brings you hope and a personal relationship with Him.
If you put on the armor of God and stand firm then the devil has no choice by to run away. James 4:7 states it in this way: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
The reality of the situation is that the devil cannot make you do anything. He can tempt, seduce, entice, suggest, shout, threaten, try to cause doubt, and even try to scare you. But, he cannot take you away from God if you are in the palm of God hands.
When facing temptation of all kinds, you must remember Victory Action #2 Stand Firm when you encounter your spiritual enemy. In doing so, you will be fulfilling the Apostle Paul's strategy to winning life's battles. May the Lord find us faithful.
Dear Lord, please help me to stand firm in the midst of life's battles. I rededicate my life to you and put on your armor. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
For You to Consider
- What does it mean to stand firm when facing temptation?
- How did Jesus respond to the devil's attack?
- Why is the "fight or flight" response inadequate when facing spiritual battles?
- Consider a temptation, or spiritual battle, you are facing now. State the proper Biblical response and list what you should do now.
- What could happen, potentially, if you do not respond by wearing God's armor and standing firm?