What weapons do you and all of us have for fighting the good fight of the faith? And how do we use them?
6:15 and having bound under your feet the foundation of the good news of peace.
Preparation means knowing well the facts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that of peace with God through Christ’s sacrifice is a firm foundation during trials and dangers. How to use this? Know that you are saved by grace though faith; it’s a gift. We do not have to earn God’s favor to get His help. He is ever-ready to help us with our day-to-day battles. We cannot earn that help, no more than we can earn our salvation.
Trying to earn God’s help is not relying on His everlasting love for us, nor is it having faith in God; it is having faith in our qualities and works. And that doesn’t work. Have faith in God (Mark 11:22).
6:16 in all (every circumstance) having taken up the shield of the faith with which you will be strong to extinguish all the darts of the evil one which have been set on fire,
Satan and all his helpers, demons, will throw at us anything they can, every moment of every day they can manage, and especially when we are seeking to do God’s. For example, the constant temptations which, if we yield, can so easily sabotage our faith. Only a faith that has been tested and trained under fire and practiced in real-life situations can hold up against the devil’s assaults. Make faith a daily habit. Walk by it.
6:17A And accept the helmet of salvation,
A helmet covers the head, which is where thought and imagination and perception covers. It is the basic location of the mind, and through salvation we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:16). Again, this is potential we can experience and through which we can by faith be renewed in our minds. And that means: do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). It means walking in the Spirit by setting our minds on the Spirit not on the flesh (Romans 8:6).
In other words thinking, having a mental context in accordance with our salvation, with the will of God, with all holiness and goodness. Like this: Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Phil. 4:8).
How and what we think is always decisive in any battle.
Let your salvation guard your mind and keep your attitude productive.
6:17B and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Spoken word of God.
All the armor is defensive, but the sword of the Spirit, God’s inspired Word, doubles as an offensive weapon too. Again, as I have commented before, we are in a very real war. Our victories are achieved through faith and in spiritual battle with unseen enemies, not with the humans around us we often see as the source of our troubles and frustrations.
And how do we battle best? By speaking God’s inspired Word in faith (that word in the original means spoken word).
Memorize His Word. Know it well, and not just the words, but the content well. That means indepth study, meditation–thinking it through thoroughly–until you experience the mind of Christ moment-by-moment.
6:18 Through all prayer and petition, praying at all times in the Spirit, and hence continually staying awake/alert with all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints,
Prayer is always essential. Ezek. 22:30 “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me (to intercede) for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” (NASB, the portion in parentheses was added.)
Prayer expresses our dependence on God.
It gives glory to God. It is one of the most important things we do–if not the most important. This is an eternal relationship that God wants to begin and maintain now. Prayer is the privilege God’s grants us to serve Him in faith. He insists on it. We are a part of His grand plan for humanity down through the ages. Praying takes faith. Trying to do God’s will on our own, not so much. In doing good we always need God’s help.
Prayer also expresses our interdependence upon each other within the Body of Christ.
Do you have an active, ongoing awareness of these armor-essentials? Do you lay hold of them daily? It is the way of victory and also the way to please God.