Why? Why would Paul use this as an encouragement? I know those who are a little more knowledgeable of the Word know what’s coming next in the chapter. Many of us have read it time and time again, and we begin simply glossing over it because we think, “oh yeah, it’s about putting on God’s armor…” and it becomes a metaphor for going into battle.
But what if it’s not a metaphor? What if what we miss time and time again is that the battle is REAL and is REALLY going on around us RIGHT NOW. The battle for your mind. The battle for your heart. The battle for your body. The battle for your soul… it’s real and is happening. So what do we do? Where do we start? We start in verse 10 of chapter 6. BE STRONG IN THE LORD. WHAT?! How is that supposed to happen? I feel so weak all the time!!
Many of us don’t know the battle is real… then we experience it and realize it is real. We then move on to a feeling of weakness… we feel defeated because we stumble. because we fall. because we don’t get up quickly. because… well… essentially, we feel hopeless.
I submit this to you for consideration - OUR FEELINGS ARE WRONG.
We’re allowing our feelings to drive our thoughts (instead of the other way around). We have the ability and the strength and the hope to fight on in the battles we face!! We may not feel it, but allow our thoughts to change our feelings (this is what Romans 12:2 talks about) and we can recognize great measures of success!!! Our strength won’t come from us… from our own efforts… from our own desires… We are told by Paul to be strong IN THE LORD, and in the strength of HIS MIGHT. It’s ALL ABOUT HIM working IN US!!!
So, are you allowing Him to work in you? If the answer is no (and I’m betting there are a few who feel this way), the follow up is this - “I don’t even know where to begin.” Begin with a consistent time of repentance and seeking His steps through prayer. Continue with a consistent time of hearing from Him through what He’s already told you (in His Word). Start reading through Ephesians (slowly). Read different versions (for readability, I’d suggest the New Living Translation or maybe even The Message) to gain an understanding of what it says, then dive deeper. ALLOW HIS WORD TO PERMEATE YOU. (For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit… - Hebrews 4:12) As you spend time talking to Him and hearing from Him, you’ll begin to see the battle that rages on around you AND you’ll start to recognize His strength in you.