Ephesians 6:10-11 speak of spiritual warfare and present reasons for engaging in the battle. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might, Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
Those who want to pooh-pah spiritual warfare in this verse are introduced to the devil and his hoards of evil workers. This is meant to provoke more realization of the need to prepare for battle. Spiritual warfare seems foreign to most people’s daily experience, but Paul points out that really it’s not. It goes on all the time it is just that most people are clueless. Why put on the full armor of God? because the reality is that we have a formidable spiritual enemy and a dangerous foe who is always at work around us. In sports when you play the best teams you need to be at your best. Armies which go up against strong opponents must focus and work strongly. So the church has an opponent who studies our weaknesses and tries to exploit them.
Notice the little word “that” in v. 11, “that you may be able to stand firm.” God wants you to stand firm, but the devil wants you to give ground. The Christian prepares for battle and puts on the armor because he has an enemy who wants to send him running from the battlefield. Inherent in this command to stand firm against the schemes of the Devil is that the attacks of Satan are real, formidable, and certain. If you are not strong in the Lord by putting on the full armor of God, you will not be able to stand firm even if you are saved and a true Christian. Why not? Because you will get scared, You will get confused, You will respond unwisely, You will back up, and you will turn and run in retreat! Your weakness will be exploited.
Understand this! The issue is not whether focused and planned attacks will come, but whether when they come you will have the ability to stand against that deception and evil. Preparation with the armor is what separates Christians who stand firm from Christians who run scared — the men from the boys. And God knows the church needs strong, prepared, tough, Christians in these last days to fight against evil. 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” That mentality is what we all need.
The Christian life for the most part in this letter of Ephesians is pictured as a walk, but some days will be critical. During your walk there will be certain days where evil will target you and come against you. This is true as a soldier. Everyday the soldier has to be alert, but somedays the full force of the enemy will come against him. And the enemy never tells him when it will attack. The surprise element helps it win, especially if it can’t catch him asleep at the post.
Look at v. 13 again, “Take up the full armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day.” That is so interesting. That little phrase gets overlooked by some when reading this passage. There is an evil day coming against you. Many Christians are hiking along in their daily lives thinking ,”I’m not in a battle. Everything is fairly normal – rosy even.” But these woods are infested with evil things.There is coming a day, an evil day, when your walk will be attacked. It is a day when you will be targeted as you walk along.
There is some debate as to what Paul meant by “The Evil Day.” It’s written with the double use of the article in Greek, so it is clearly referring to a specific day. Back in 5:16 Paul wrote that the days we live in are evil, but that is a general description of everyday. This is a particular evil day you are told to stand firm in. So some see in this a reference to the last day, a time in which Satan is unleashed on planet earth and attack believers full out. That is possible from the wording, but the end times are not in the context in Ephesians 6. The urgency of the need for personal preparation along with the very personal image of wrestling in v. 12, leads many interpreters to believe that this evil day is that day when Satan and his forces choose to target individual Christians & individual churches.
This is a real insight into Satanic strategy. It’s reliable intel for the Christian church. I believe there is a critical time of assault when a dispatch of Satan’s forces move against each church to divide it, distract it, discourage it, weaken it, intimidate it or outright silence it. I also believe there is a critical time of assault when a dispatch of Satan’s forces move against each Christian to confuse you, weaken you, deceive you, harm you, or get you to give up.
This very thing happened with Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation. The 40th day of his fasting in the wilderness when he became intensely hungry was Satan’s target day. Satan came at him with three of his best deceptive tricks. He waited for that day when Christ was most physically weak, and then he pounced. He emptied his bag of tricks upon the holy Son of God. Though none of them worked on the sinless, holy Son of God.
You also will have a day like that. You will have to stand your ground against the enemy – the wicked dragon of Revelation himself. In Pilgrim’s Progress “Christian” in his day by day progressive walk toward the Celestial City had many uneventful days, but John Bunyan, the author, wanted to accurately depict the Christian walk. So he wrote about one day when Christian had to face Apollyon. This foe would have ended Christian’s journey had it not been for the armor of God he was supplied earlier and was constantly wearing.
That is why we need the armor of God, so we can stand firm when attacked. Not once, not twice, but three times Paul urges here “Stand firm.” Verse. 11 “stand firm against the schemes of the Devil.” Verse 13 “having done everything to stand firm.” Verse 14 “Stand firm therefore.. ” What is spiritual warfare really about? Not incantations, ghostbuster guns, seances, exorcisms, pouring holy oil over everything, or any of these other shenanigans people call spiritual warfare. It is about standing firm and not giving ground to the enemy. It is important for Christians to stand their ground against evil spiritual forces marshaled against them.
What does a Christian look like who stands firm against the assaults of the Devil? First and foremost, it means the believer is not petrified of the Devil. When the assault against truth comes, the fear of danger arrives, and the intimidation of the lion’s roar is heard, if he forgets truth and gets too afraid he has lost the battle already. Scared soldiers do not stand strong, they flee! Second, it means he does not droop or slouch at his post but is alert. A sentry half-sleep at his post is no good when the attack comes. The disciples ran from the soldiers in the garden when they came for Christ, because they did not stay up and pray with the Lord and be watchful. So do not be half-hearted in your pursuit of God’s word. Our Lord calls for alert and active and disciplined soldiers of the cross. Be all out for God “Fight the good fight of faith” Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:7. Third, to stand firm means the Christian Does not even think about retreating. The soldier at his post cannot even think of fleeing in the dangerous hour. He will fight and trust the commander. We too must be resolute to meet the enemy head on, and not to flee. As the song urges “The world behind me; the cross before me; no turning back; no turning back.