How to Be Strong in the Lord When Life is a Struggle
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
In the early days of the church, the world was subject to the rule, power, and might of Rome. A common site and visible sign of Roman authority was the Roman soldier. In this familiar scripture passage regarding spiritual warfare Paul uses the Roman soldier’s uniform and battle dress as an illustration of how the Lord has equipped His followers for battle. (see also Eph 6:12-18)
One must assume if we are to be in a state of battle readiness that we are going to come under attack. Paul identifies the enemy as the “devil”(v10) and the “spiritual forces of evil.” (v12) He uses the word “struggle” to indicate the kind of fighting we can expect. Paul is teaching us that although life is a struggle and there are evil forces bent on our destruction, we have not been left defenseless or without means to fight back.
Most likely, to describe life as a struggle is something to which you can easily relate. Nobody has to explain the concept to you. And when that struggle has gone on for a long time it is only natural for you to suffer from battle fatigue. The good news is you are on the winning team. Your victory is guaranteed in the blood of Jesus Christ. Before you lies the wonderful promise that “God will wipe away every tear… there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain…” (Rev 21:4) However, you don’t have to wait for the hereafter to take advantage of the protection and power available to you right now for defending and defeating the enemy.
There are some very important takeaways in today’s focus scripture and the verses that follow:
- The devil schemes against believers. He plots and schemes to thwart your growth in Christ, to discourage your attempts at serving the Lord, and to destroy your faith. The devil is a crafty deceiver, a manipulator, a liar, and an accuser. He not only wants you to do bad…he wants you to look bad. Satan makes evil appear good and good to appear evil.
- There is an invisible evil force that battles against believers. The devil does not act alone but has a demonic force at his disposal. To further complicate the rules of engagement you are fighting against an enemy that you cannot see.
- Our fight is of a spiritual nature (“not against flesh and blood”) and therefore must be fought spiritually. This may be one of the hardest lessons to learn in spiritual warfare. We take our fight to people, flesh and blood, as opposed to the spiritual forces of darkness. When we fight on a human level we stay embroiled in the struggle. Far too much time is spent struggling against the wrong thing which is why some of our struggles last so long. Spiritual battles require spiritual tactics.
- God wants us to “stand.” In verses 11, 13, and 14 Paul tells us to stand. He doesn’t tell us to roll over and play dead, to give up, or to throw a pity party. To “stand” means that God wants us to fight.
- God has thoroughly equipped us for battle. God’s army is the best equipped in the world. Our battle dress and armaments never go out of style and can withstand any and every enemy attack. Paul describes our battle dress in verses 14-17:
Stand firm then, the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- Always be on alert. (v18) We stay ready through prayer and a close walk with God.
Don’t back down from the struggle. Just make certain that you fight with the protective armor and offensive weaponry that God has given you. When we fight by man’s methods, we lose. Don’t go it alone but stand and fight with the help of Almighty God.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Nobody Knows the Trouble You’ve Seen
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.