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Take up the sword & the spirit

Surrender yourself to God and invite the Holy Spirit's power into every area of your life, urges Gordon Allan.

Today it is a ruined and unoccupied city of the ancient world. Once it was a centre of political, economic, military might. It was home of one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, but it was also home to real people, who had real faith in Jesus and faced the real struggles and challenges that faith in Christ brought to their everyday.

The city is Ephesus and life lessons available from the book of Ephesians still speak to men today. The spiritual challenges, the opposition, the temptation to compromise, the risk of exclusion that assaulted the faith of the first-century believer are the same issues you and I face today…

Struggling in life and faith? Don’t give up or give in, read on! Paul speaks God’s solution into your situation. In Ephesians 6:10-18 the believer is encouraged to “be strong in the Lord,” “to stand” and to “suit up” in an armour of Kingdom qualities and to take up the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

Every Mr Universe had to start somewhere. The World’s Strongest Man was once skin, bones and underdeveloped muscle. As Christian men, we don’t operate in our own strength, but in the Lord’s and in “His mighty power” (v10).

That is good news because the pressures are immense, the challenges too much, the opposition unseen and the battle supernatural. There is a difference between becoming strong and being empowered. One is about drawing on your own abilities, the other about the resources available to enable us. Our resource is the Lord’s strength.

We are not strengthened “by” the Lord, but “in” the Lord and with His “mighty power.” Our ability to stand is based on His strength in our lives. A better analogy would be less Arnold Schwarzenegger and more Tony Stark, the Marvel superhero Iron Man!

It is not about us having the Terminator’s physique but about our covering and empowerment in spiritual battles i.e. everyday life. Being “in Christ”, “in the Lord” or “in Him” is Paul’s favourite description of a Christian (x164 in the New Testament).

It is this unity that is the distinctive mark of His authentic followers. Developing our relationship with Jesus through prayer, Bible study, worship and evangelism give us His strength to take our stand.

In the face of onslaught and spiritual skirmish we “stand.” My brother was sent to someone’s door to ask for “a long stand.” He thought he was going to pick up an object, instead he waited outside for 30 minutes…! “To stand” is not inactivity or passivity, it is drawing your line in the sand and saying “no further.”

It life built on the Word of God, and Christ’s cause. Beyond the “choosing” is the “doing” of daily discipleship. Regardless of the cost, wearing the armour of God and standing in the Holy Spirit’s mighty power we face 21st-century issues equipped and ready.

It may be difficult and it can be hard, but so is every rugby scrum, wrestling match or campaign featuring opposition. It has been said that “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for everything.” As followers of King Jesus, we take our “stand against the devil’s schemes” of injustice, ungodliness and unholy living. Integrity dictates that we start in our personal lives and work from there.

So, what do you need to submit to Jesus? Where are you standing in life and in the Lord? Where do you need to be strengthened? Take a moment to pray, surrender your life and situation and invite the Holy Spirit’s power into every area of your life.

Put on the full armour of God and take up one of the most powerful weapons at our disposal the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God!!

 
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