Morning Musing: Ephesians 6:14-18 (Part 2)

“Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation 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. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We are in the midst of a conversation about the armor of God that Paul describes at the tail end of his letter to the Ephesian church. In the first part (here), we looked at the background of the battle for which we need this armor. Our battle is not against people. Ever. And our tactics are to be focused on resistance, not being offensive. We hold ground God has won and advance the kingdom by the means of love. Yesterday, then, we started talking about the armor itself. We covered the first three pieces–the belt (truth), breastplate (righteousness), and footwear (the Gospel of peace). This morning, let’s look at the next three pieces.

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Digging in Deeper: Ephesians 6:11-13

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Following Jesus in this world is to become acquainted with battle. This is because following Jesus means advancing the kingdom of God while living in the kingdom of this world. Advancing the kingdom of one ruler from within the kingdom of another is asking for a fight. And indeed, a fight is what we will face if we do it consistently and well. That means when you sign up to follow Jesus, you are signing up to be a warrior. One thing every warrior needs is armor. Armor protects you and allows you to sustain attacks that would otherwise wipe you out. Because the battle we are in as followers of Jesus is not like other battles, though, neither can our armor be. Let’s talk this morning about our armor and the nature of our battle.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 6:12

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.”‬ ‭(CSB‬‬ – Read the chapter)

Who is your enemy? Now maybe you’re saintly enough that your response to that question is some version of, “I don’t have any enemies.” Granting that, who comes closest to that status for you? If you’re at all like a growing segment of our society, the answer just may be the people on the other side of the political aisle. In our hyper-partisan times, political rivals are among the most bitter enemies we have. The latest entry from Marvel Studios offers an important counterpoint to this decidedly unhealthy trend. Let’s talk today about Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

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Dirty Words

This week, in part four of our series, I Do, we dealt with one of the dirtiest words in our culture. Want to know what it is? Submission. The idea of one person submitting themselves to another is anathema in the mind of the culture. And yet, when guys like Paul and Peter talked about marriage in their New Testament letters, they consistently used the word. That means we need to figure out what kind of a role it is supposed to have. Keep reading and wrestle with me with what this should look like.

Dirty Words

My boys enjoy Legos. A lot. In addition to having two of them on Lego Robotics teams at school, I think we are on a good approach for having every Lego set known to man before they graduate from high school. Over the years of accumulating various cool sets, though, some have gotten disassembled after being played with for a while. On occasion, they’ll want to play with a set from the past they know now resides in pieces in the playroom. Fortunately, the Lego website has the instructions and parts list for pretty much every set they’ve ever produced available to download. It’s just a simple matter of printing out the parts list, finding the right pieces, and then pulling up the instructions on some kind of a computer so they can rebuild it. Simple, right?

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A Higher Purpose

This week we continue our new series, I Do, by talking about what marriage is for. Knowing what marriage is (which we established a couple of weeks ago) is great, but knowing what God designed it to accomplish gives us a huge boost in terms of making sure we’re doing it right ourselves. Keep reading to learn the purpose of marriage and what you can do to see that realized in your own life.

A Higher Purpose

I have a little quiz for you this morning. I hope you studied. Some of you who were never very good test takers in school are already starting to get a bit nervous, aren’t you? There’s just one question to this test, though, so you can relax just a bit. Are you ready? What is this thing in my hand? No, that’s not a trick question. Yeah, it’s a hammer. Here’s a bonus question for extra credit: What is a hammer? (And no, saying it’s the thing in my hand is not the correct answer.) In answering that bonus question, you might be tempted to say something like, “A hammer is a tool used for driving nails into wood,” but that is not the correct answer. If you were thinking anything along those lines, no bonus points for you. “Wait a minute,” you might be wanting to protest, “That is what a hammer is!” No, that definition tells me what a hammer is for. I asked you simply what a hammer is. Two different things there. Now, had you stopped after the word “tool,” you would have been more correct, although not terribly specific. Had you wanted to be more specific, you could have said something like, “A hammer is a tool, often made of shaped steel, with a round, flat peen which is often set against a divided claw located at the end of a short shaft made of wood, steel, or some composite material and which serves as a handle.” That’s what a hammer is. See the difference? But, because our brains are wired for purpose and meaning, we often define things according to their intended purpose.

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