How do you win battles? How do you as a Christian come out victorious day after day?
6:10 For the rest (or, finally) be yourselves constantly empowered in the Lord in the realized power of His might.
Not your strength nor mine. We find strength in Him, the only strength that will give us victory in the battles we have to fight in this life.
6:11 Put on, clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be empowered to stand against the crafty methods of the devil,
We need all of God’s armor to be able to stand firm. It is not our armor; it is God’s. Our armor will not work. The reason is simple, though profound…
6:12 Because our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual beings of the evil in the heavenlies.
“Rulers” are powerful evil spirits; “authorities” wield spiritual authority in this present evil age: “world-rulers” manage warfare on a large scale, probably at least continent-wide. We are in a war, a very real war that began in the Garden of Eden, a war against humanity, both believer and unbelievers and continues actively, aggressively, and constantly to this day.
6:13 Because of this take up the full armor of God in order that you will be empowered to stand against (these evil forces) in the evil day.
Hence the reason, the need for God’s armor. These evil forces are powerful and cunning. They are Satan’s army of fallen angels, demonic forces. To a great extent we have God’s protection against them. If not, none of us believers would be alive on this earth right now.
But God expects service from us, and that service always means battle, both small and great–and constant. There are behaviors and attitudes that bring defeat in those battles and others that bring victory.
6:14 Stand, therefore, having girded yourself (literally: loins) for service with truth, and having clothed yourselves with the breastplate of the righteousness (that is the righteousness of Jesus Christ).
Paul begins to detail what is defensive armor of the believer. The goal for the believer is to live a life of victory over God’s enemies. As humans, whenever we do not act and speak and even think with faith in God, we are vulnerable. To stand–the root word in the original occurs three times in these verses–is to avoid being knocked down, being defeated in battle.
This armor Paul writes about is God’s armor. God’s truth, the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that truth is that we stand not by our own righteousness but by the righteousness of Jesus who does not fail. It is an invunerable righteousness.
This is the key to spiritual battle, and by spiritual battle I mean day to day living as a follower of Christ. We dare not depend on our own righteousness, our own merit, our own earning the favor of God, our own will power. The road to victory is an ongoing pathway of trusting in the righteousness of our Lord and His enabling power for doing God’s will. He is our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption (1 Corintians 1:30).
We best not go into spiritual battle depending on any righteousness we claim as our own. That is a guaranteed way not to stand.
But the righteousness of Christ we have by faith–that is our secure foundation, our defensive breastplate. Not just when we were converted and came to a saving faith in Jesus death and resurrection for our salvation. But a life of dependence of Him and all He is, all He is within us, and all He can be through us in service to God the Father.
Nevertheless, at the same time, it is good to experience that righteousness in our own behavior. We can also experience Christ’s righteousness in our daily walk. What we have by faith we can experience in our choices and acts. We can make it real to ourselves and to others. “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NASB)
It is God’s will that the essence of His Old Testament law be fulfilled by us “who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” Romans 8:4.
But, again, we must never depend on any righteousness of our own, real or imagined.
The righteousness of Jesus Christ is our safeguard, our dependable, unfailing guarantee of good standing with God (Philippians 3:9; Romans 7:25-8:1).
” I can do all things through Him (Jesus Christ) who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Are you covered with God’s armor today? Do you depend on it or on your own devices and willpower? In these verses we have read the secret of victory.
Rest in Him, trust in Him today, depend on Him today, and act with courage–today.