This week, we finished a Sunday morning series from the book of Ephesians that began in August. The Apostle Paul gives us a soaring look into the glories of God and the revelation of His mysterious plan in Christ. The salvific work of God in Christ leads to peaceful relationships in the Church, marriage, families, and our work. It’s heartening, encouraging, and exhilarating truth!
But before he concludes his letter to the Ephesian church, he writes, “A final word…” Ephesians 6:10. Yes, yes, it’s possible but not without a battle. The Scriptures say, “We must be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all the armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” (verses 10-11).
My freshman year of college I was reading the book of Proverbs for my devotions. This verse was in my daily reading, “Short tempered people do foolish things, …” (Proverbs 14:17) A friend in a bad mood and late for class disrespected, fairly loudly our professor. He was promptly expelled from the class. For me it was living lesson of the dangers of a short temper!
By the way my friend was a committed follower of Jesus Christ. He repented and went on to do very well. A couple of thoughts. The devil didn’t make him do it. Unrepented sin, unaddressed character weaknesses, and pride are part of the devil’s strategies to try and defeat us. A change of heart is vital when it comes to failure and sin.
His outburst, became a warning for me. The Bible doesn’t gloss over the failures of our biblical brothers and sisters. They are there as lessons for us. Paul knows that the potential for greatness is in the Ephesian Church but he warns them. You must be strong in the Lord and aware of the devil’s strategies.
Our strength does not come from our planning, strategies, or natural resources. Our strength comes from the Lord! The future King David of Israel, when faced with possible stoning by his army, “…found strength in the Lord.” (1 Samuel 30:6) This was a big deal! Their families, including David’s had been kidnapped, their village burned to the ground. The soldiers were bitter and were about to take that bitterness out upon David. But, David found strength in the Lord! They went on to successfully recover their families and everything that had been stolen from them.
God will strengthen and renew us daily in Christ. Never forget the powerful teaching of the Bible, we are in Christ! Our relationship to Christ gives us access to the very throne of grace where we find help when we need it most. God has called and equipped us to be overcomers. Strengthen yourself in the Lord. He will renew your strength daily.
One final word of encouragement tonight. Remember Ephesians 3:16, Paul prayed, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” God is answering that prayer for all who trust in Him. You have more strength and power available to you than you’ve ever dreamed.
So, Be strong in the Lord. Seek Him, meditate upon His Word prayerfully, heed the warnings and apply the promises and commands of the Scriptures to your life.
My friend repented of his rashness and sarcasm and faithfully followed Christ and went on to a successful life. You may be struggling at the moment; but you can find strength in the Lord! As much as possible live at peace with everyone.