Being Ready for Spiritual Warfare

Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Ephesians 6:10 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

In my reading, it occurred to me that what we consider to be the epitome of preparation for spiritual warfare as being Paul’s description of the armor we must wear. These are his final thoughts on the subject. In order to understand the necessary function of the armor and to be able to trust it doesn’t work without all of the other preceding things that are the foundation for it. We must roll back a few chapters to understand.

Corporate Life at Church

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, exhort you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called. With all humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another in love, be eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:1–3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Paul says lots about corporate fellowship. It’s the start, to walk in a manner worthy of our calling. We are to do it in patience, meekness, and humility. We are to bear one another in love. Paul is not saying we bear the heathen in love, but one another. And with it, we ought to be eager to keep the unity of the Spirit.

I cannot help to think how easy it is for us to break fellowship for the slightest things. People will leave churches because the church ain’t going their way. Someone will be asked to leave a church because he doesn’t toe the line. We don’t bear well with each other as corporate bodies. I’d dare say that in our churches we are sorely fit to do any sort of spiritual warfare.

There is one body and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:4–6 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

The essentials are in Spirit. We divide in the flesh. We just keep these things in mind.

But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also He who ascended far above all the heavens that He might fill all things.)

Ephesians 4:7–10 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

There is more here than I am going to speak about, but I will leave that for you to search on your own. What we have spiritually is from Jesus Himself. He gave the gifts to each of us in the exact measurements we needed to fulfill our purpose in the body.

All of us are needed in fellowship. Our local bodies are ill-equipped if we remove ourselves from fellowship, or even kick someone out. Each of us is essential.

He gave some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, for the equipping of the saints, for the work of service, and for the building up of the body of Christ, until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a complete man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so we may no longer be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men, by craftiness with deceitful scheming.

Ephesians 4:11–14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

What gifts we each possess are for the equipping of the saints. Often these giftings are used for self-edification and aggrandizement. They are given to us for others, to equip them. It’s the work of Jesus to which we are called. I can assure you that you know someone who has attached one or more of these titles to the beginning of their name. That doesn’t edify others in the least.

We are to help each other become complete. We are to desire to grow. This is a message and critical foundation for spiritual warfare. If each of us is not now rightly in a fellowship of believers who trust us and whom we can trust, we aren’t prepared for any kind of warfare.

But, speaking the truth in love, we may grow up in all things into Him, who is the head, Christ Himself, from whom the whole body is joined together and connected by every joint and ligament, as every part effectively does its work and grows, building itself up in love.

Ephesians 4:15–16 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

We need that trust because sometimes there is going to be something we’re not going to want to hear. It’ll be hard to stomach if we don’t trust that the person who speaks it has our best interests before his. It’s necessary. As the whole body must be joined together to effectively work and grow. None of us can do it alone.

Therefore this I say and testify in the Lord, that from now on you walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their minds, having their understanding darkened, excluded from the life of God through the ignorance that is within them, due to the hardness of their hearts. Being calloused they have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

Ephesians 4:17–19 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

The unsaved operate in self-imposed ignorance. They refuse to believe. They scoff. It hardens them. Just like a callous on the hand, it becomes a place where there is no feeling. It cannot feel the comfort of warm soap and water. It cannot feel the sharp edge of a razor blade. The unbeliever is in the same predicament unable to feel the things that are good, and the things that may be dangerously deadly. The more a callous is rubbed, the larger and harder it grows.

That’s the sensuality that Paul is speaking about. It takes more of the same old thing just to feel it, yet it makes the hardness even harder. That’s the sensuality of sin.

But you did not learn about Christ in this manner, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off the former way of life in the old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness.

Ephesians 4:20–24 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

It’s a new way of life we must put on. Jesus teaches us we don’t have to keep doing the same old chase that never satisfies.

Look at the contrast, without Jesus, it’s seeking sensations, what pleases us personally. That’s the essence of lust. That’s why the Bible uses the term. It’s not just sexual. It is a seeking to satisfy our own desires.

We are to live differently, to renew our minds.

Therefore, putting away lying, let every man speak truthfully with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give place to the devil. Let him who steals steal no more. Instead, let him labor, working with his hands things which are good, that he may have something to share with him who is in need.

Ephesians 4:25–28 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

We are to operate truthfully. It means to stop taking from others. Instead, be prepared and ready to give something.

Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you are sealed for the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:29–30 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Watch what we say. Make sure that it benefits others. Our eternity is secure. There is nothing anyone can do to steal that from any of us… Not even our own actions. None of us have to operate in our former ways.

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outbursts, and blasphemies, with all malice, be taken away from you. And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31–32 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Let all the bad stuff be removed. This is telling us that we ought to be willing to give these to God.

Bitterness gets a place when we don’t forgive. Bitterness always gives rise to the enemy. Don’t even give it a place.

Personal Life Everywhere

Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.
And do not let sexual immorality, or any impurity, or greed be named among you, as these are not proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse joking, which are not fitting. Instead, give thanks. For this you know, that no sexually immoral or impure person, or one who is greedy, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Ephesians 5:1–5 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

We have our example. Imitate God as the children of Him we are. Walk in love Paul says. Sometimes we overlook the idea of love in mind. It’s sacrificial. It gives of itself even unto death.

Don’t practice sexual immorality or other impurities.

Don’t be greedy. That’s a hard one. Each of us wants to be first in line. Few of us want to wait until last.

Watch the language we use. Change the way we talk to be thankful, first to God from Whom good things come, but for others around us.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.

Ephesians 5:6–7 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Be careful who we listen to and associate with. It’s not that we shouldn’t hang around with them, but we are not to participate in the inane things other unbelievers do.

For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth—proving what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; instead, expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things are exposed when they are revealed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:8–14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

We all have our previous lives. We all walked in darkness. Now instead of just walking in darkness, we are light. That is light in the Lord. It’s a new identity. Walk in it, proving it.

We ought not to do those things we used to do. Instead, we expose them. Things that are exposed lose their power and control. Secrets are by nature things not out in the light.

See then that you walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise men, making the most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15–17 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Time is short. Don’t waste it on things that have no eternal benefit. We live in evil times. It’s been like that since Adam was expelled out of the Eden of God.

Do not be drunk with wine, for that is reckless living. But be filled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Don’t substitute the world’s spirits for the Holy Spirit. Be sober-minded.

Speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Give thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, being submissive to one another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:19–21 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

These are the things to center our minds on, renewing them. It’s a personal endeavor we must always be cognizant of pursuing. It’s a choice we make every moment of every day. It’s difficult to engage in any form of spiritual warfare if we’re not walking in the light we are.

Interactions with our Spouses

Wives, be submissive to your own husbands as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head and Savior of the church, which is His body. But as the church submits to Christ, so also let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Ephesians 5:22–24 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

This is not a hierarchy thing or a master-slave relationship. But there is an established order of things. Husbands aren’t the master. Wives aren’t slaves.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, and that He might present to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. In this way men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord cares for the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

Ephesians 5:25–30 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

The admonition is to the husbands. It is necessarily so. The whole idea is to not drift off into some misogynist mindset where a man operates as king of his castle.

No. This is teaching us that the wife ought to be elevated to not just the same treatment as a husband would treat himself, but just a bit higher. The husband is to give himself just as Jesus did. It’s totally selfless.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.”

Ephesians 5:31 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

This is for both parties in a marriage. When two people get married, their family is the two in the marriage (and children.) It’s great to have moms and dads, brothers and sisters. But your spouse is your family first and foremost. It goes without saying that the word most needs emphasis.

If mom interferes with our spouse… Side with the spouse. He or she is family. That is what Paul is saying. This is the proper order.

It doesn’t mean we cannot do things with our parents and siblings, but to insist on having every Thanksgiving or other holiday celebrations with them and dragging our spouse along can lead to problems. Even trying to be fair is difficult. Establish your own family traditions. And do the extended family things once in while.

Leave mom and dad and cleave to our spouse. It is difficult to engage in spiritual warfare if we are married and do not cleave to our spouse. Two are one. We need them.

This is a great mystery, but I am speaking about Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:32 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

A good marriage becomes a great apologetic.

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Ephesians 5:33 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

A final admonition for a happy marriage. A husband that loves his bride sacrificially, with a bride who respects him.

Behaving as Children

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise, “so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”

Ephesians 6:1–3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

This is pretty much self-explanatory.

Proper Parenting

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4–5 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

It is the job of the parents to pass on their faith.

Relating to Your Employer

Servants, obey those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of your heart, as to Christ, not serving when eyes are on you, but as pleasing men as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing any man does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is enslaved or free.

Ephesians 6:5–8 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

As an employee, we are to work for our manager as one would work for Jesus. After all, He is Who we are working for ultimately.

Our work should be the same even when others aren’t watching. That means no running off into the bathroom to check our phone or goofing off in the back of the storeroom.

By doing that, not only do we receive a paycheck from the employer, our good deeds earn eternal rewards. The sincerity of our hearts may be the thing that makes an unbelieving employer become a believer.

Managers Relating to Employees

And masters, do the same things for them, no longer threatening, knowing that your Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

Ephesians 6:9 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Do the right thing for those who work for us. Pay them fairly. Treat them rightly, just as we expect to be treated by Jesus.

Finally Brethren

Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Ephesians 6:10 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

We come to the text which opened the post. It’s long. But it is necessary.

Before we can even endeavor to don the armor of God, we need to shore up every single one of these areas of our lives. If they are not secure and rightly done, there is an opportunity for the enemy.

Don’t just concentrate on the armor, but concentrate on all of the preparation that comes before and is a foundation for it.

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