And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Fight-or-flight. Yes, it does seem like it’s either one or the other. Either we’re shuddering in fear, paralyzed in that, or we’re waking up to resist that, to fight.
Paul reminds us toward the end of Ephesians that we indeed are in a battle, a spiritual one. This is the case, not something we have to pass through once, or may avoid altogether like playing the board in Monopoly. No, it’s ongoing, even every day, though some times are especially intense. It is what it is, and we’re halfway where we need to be if we simply accept that.
As rendered above, the battle involves application of basics of the gospel into the substance of our lives, our day to day circumstances, our imaginations and thoughts. It certainly takes the Spirit of God to make this real, and make it matter to us. We must press on so that when it’s all said and done, we’ll still be standing.
And we can’t forget prayer, ongoing prayer for each other. That makes a needed difference. I think one basic reason it is so easy for us to get slack and let up in prayer is that the enemy knows all too well just how powerful true prayer is. Nothing fancy, not some mystical experience we wait for, though if that happens now and then, once in a great while, or even just a sense of that, that’s fine. But the hard work of prayer, of just simply praying. Not letting up in our prayers. Remembering who we are in Christ, what the gospel, the good news means for us and others. And refusing to be moved from that. In and through Jesus.