How Can the Bible Relate to Us Today?

Stand Your Ground! – Ephesians 6: 13

The Armor of God, Part 2

Photo by Rene Asmussen on

{On a personal note, I apologize for gaps in time in my writing in my blogsite these last several months. Summertime is as it is, and I’ve been busy. Each one of these blogs takes several hours, and I try to write them at one sitting. With the cooler weather that makes one stay inside, perhaps (no promises) I will be able to return to more consistent writing. Thank you for your reading; I hope you are helped by what you read in these blogs.}

When I was in high school, our football team (American football) was ranked as best in the state in its classification. We were invincible! We had the state championship practically in the bag [an American term for something that will be completed with finality]! Then we played our ongoing rivals from a nearby town over the annual [American] Thanksgiving battle. I don’t recall if we won that game or not (I think we lost), but I do remember years later a particular series of plays at the goal line.

If you’re not familiar with American football, a team has four opportunities to advance the ball ten yards (or ten meters). If they do, they will get another four chances to do the same. The expected outcome is that eventually the team with the ball will take the ball across the goal line. Meanwhile, the other team is doing everything they can to make sure that football does not advance those ten yards. Our team was at about the three-yard line on first down. That means our team had four chances to get the ball across the goal line. Just three yards (meters)! And you know what? They stopped us from getting that goal! It’s called a goal line stand, and the opposing team succeeded.

The apostle Paul describes the spiritual battle this way:

“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. NIV]

Previously in verses 10-12, Paul gave believers marching orders to “… be strong in the Lord and in his might power.” Then he orders like an Army general, “Put on the full armor of God …” to withstand the onslaught of spiritual powers. Now in verse 13, he again entreats us to put on the full armor of God.

What does Paul expect to see as a result of us getting prepared for a spiritual battle? That when we engage in the battle against evil, we will stand our ground against the onslaught of evil. We will be like that opposing football team that stopped our team from advancing the ball just three yards to the goal line. In other words, we will out-tough our opponents, if I may make up a term.

What does this evil that we oppose look like, anyway? Is it like the Orcs or the dead spirit kings, the Nazgul, from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien? That would make it easier, wouldn’t it, if the evil we encountered was visible and repulsive-looking? But remember that Satan is also called the Father of Lies in John 8: 44. He knows how to make evil appear to be innocuous and non-threatening, like a baby tiger.

What does this battle against evil that we face look like? Not armed legions, but perhaps an attitude of judgment regarding another person or a group of people. It could be your own closely-held negativity toward people of a different race, skin color, nationality, language.  It could even be this same kind of negativity sanctioned by national and/or local governments, financial powerbrokers, or even leaders or followers of religious organizations, such as churches, mosques or temples.

Nazi Germany began through the persuasive speeches of Adolf Hitler who capitalized on the German financial doldrums and the continued punishment by the victors after World War One. He focused on the feelings and attitudes of the German people to make them feel like they are something special when other countries wanted them to continue to suffer for starting World War One. He fanned the flames of national pride and blamed other people for the woes of the country. He proceeded to bring public attention against Jewish people by making them less-than-human or being the root of financial conspiracies. He convinced his followers to take away the livelihoods and the homes of the Jews, eventually sending Jews to concentration camps. However, those concentration camps were not populated only by Jews, but also practicing Christians such as Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship) or Corrie ten Boom (The Hiding Place) who reared up against the practices of the Nazi party. Further inmates at the concentration camps were those considered as undesirable: homosexuals, Roma (gypsies), the mentally ill, the physically handicapped and many others.

How could such a movement start? It was by the persuasiveness of an individual with convincing words telling people who were beaten down and feeling personally, economically and socially weak that they were better than what others wanted them to feel. Then he managed to change government and society enough that, to survive, prosper or even be socially accepted, one felt compelled to join this Nazi Party movement. Let us be aware of such persuasive words among our government, religious or social leaders that turn people against other people. And let’s be clear from World War Two: the vast majority of German or Japanese people today no longer adhere to the past persuasive ideals of their leaders from the Nazi or the Imperial Japanese past.

Lest I digress, the evil that we battle is more often the negative attitudes and actions that strike out against others. And you and I are too often carriers of those attitudes and actions. Perhaps there is someone you have encountered who is not good-looking or smart by the world’s standards. Perhaps in your encounter, you have judged them not worthy of your presence or attention. Or maybe it is a told lie or passing on “information” about someone to all-to-eager listeners (often referred to as “gossip” except by those so engaged). Did you snap at someone for not acting in a way that you would want them to act or for saying something that was not meant to hurt? What about those who think differently than you do about politics, or about COVID-19 vaccines, or about the wearing of masks? Are those who disagree with you evil just because they disagree with you?

The foes in spiritual battles are not as obvious as the physical foes. Remember (if you are a reader of my blogs) that I define Sin as “anything that hinders your relationship with God, with others and with yourself.” That is the battle each of us faces. The verses in Ephesians 6: 10-13 encourages us to battle the evil attitudes and actions that influence us each day, and when the dust clears after the battle, we would still be found standing in place as victors – like that football team from the other town.

I will discuss the full armor of God in the next couple of blogs. Through whatever is going on in your life, I hope you have a GREAT WEEK with God’s guidance!

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