S for Stand

Stand

Our journey through Ephesians A to Z is coming to a close.  Paul writes because he  knows that the Ephesians’ faith is a bit wobbly.

He urges them to stay rooted, to stay strong  & grounded in the truth of the amazing love of God.

His words to them & to us give us a practical plan for the 9-5 of life.

▪    A plan to stay rooted in the soil of God’s marvelous love.
▪    A plan that enables us to be strong with God’s power.
▪    A plan to stand firm against the strategies & tricks of the Enemy.

Paul says :
Pray at all times & on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit . Stay alert & be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.

We have looked at the prayer pattern found in Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything . Tell God what you need & thank Him for what He has done. If you do this you will experience God’s peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts & your minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Prayer is a two-way conversation  with God where both speak. It is a real relationship. It is the way we are  rooted in  God’s love.

We looked at the Johnny Jump Up. This tiny plant  grows & thrives against all odds in places you would never expect.

Last summer I had a little yellow & white Johnny pop up on my patio between two of the cement blocks. Even in the heat of summer with no rain it bloomed & multiplied. No external care on my part fostered it’s growth. Sand & a plastic ground cover fought hard to prevent Johnny’s  intrusion that brought life, colour & beauty to my patio. By the time we moved last August there were at least six blooms.

Johnny was definitely rooted & thriving. His  only job was to put down roots through the sand & plastic into water beneath.  Johnny’s job was to stay rooted in the source of life.

A few days before Jesus went to the Cross he talked in detail about grapes, vines & branches. The message to his disciples was the stay attached to me.  I’m the Vine & you are the branches.  If you abide in Me you will stay strong & bear fruit. Stay rooted.

Psalm 1:3  We are to be like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Your leaves will not wither & in all you do you will prosper. Stay rooted.

Psalm 92:12 You will flourish like palm trees & grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. You have been transplanted into the Lord’s own house. You will flourish in the courts of your God. Stay rooted.

The Battle

Paul understood the battle the Ephesians faced.  He knew that they were not fighting against people made of flesh & blood but against the evil rulers & authorities of the unseen world.

They were fighting the Accuser.  He was the  one who fell from heaven to earth .

The post R for Roots talks  about the Accuser.  Beginning with Adam & Eve his job function has never changed.  His job is to tell us lies.

These lies, if we believe them will rob,  destroy or even kill us.

These lies damage or destroy relationship with God, others & ourselves.

His main weapon, main strategy is  to whisper lies into our heads & hearts.

Lies Such As:
⁃     Did God Really Say?
⁃     God is holding out on you .
⁃    You are all alone.
⁃    You have to depend on yourself.

 

Paul  knew that the  primary battle is in our  heads; in our  thought life.

It is a battle against the lies of the Accuser.

The battle stops  belief  from becoming trust.

The battle stops fear from becoming  faith.

The battle causes us to go back to our own resources.

The  battle hampers us from being & doing all that God intended even before He created the world.

 

Peter, another apostle writing to a group of persecuted Christians says this:

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Give all your worries & cares to God for He cares about what happens to you. Be careful ! Watch out for attacks from the Accuser. He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for some victim to devour . Take a firm stand against him & be strong in your faith.

 

A Final Word

Paul has a sense of urgency in equipping  the Ephesians for the battle ahead. He changes the image from one of being quietly rooted to one of an active defensive posture against the Accuser.

Our defensive posture is to listen not to the Accuser but to the Advocate.

We are to enter into a dialogue with Holy Spirit.

 

Pray at all times & on every occasion

In the power of the Holy Spirit

Stay alert

Be persistent in your prayers.

 

Paul pens one of the most famous passages of the Scripture.

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.   Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the Shield of Faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on the Helmet of Salvation, & take up the Sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

Pray at all times & on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit . Stay alert & be persistent in your prayers.

 

The Message version puts it this way:

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.

 

The message can be summarized as stay in relationship with God & with other believers . Go back to your First Love. Love God & love others .

 

End Points

  1. Put the armour on & don’t take it off. I have heard many folks say – I take the armour off at night & put it on in the morning. Soldiers in a war zone sleep with their boots on.
  2. The Helmut of Salvation  says you are forgiven & without fault in his eyes.

  3. The Belt of Truth says you are planned, loved,  adopted & chosen for an amazing destiny.

  4. The Breastplate of Righteousness tells you that you have everything you need for life & godliness. (2 Peter 1:3).

  5. Hide behind the Shield of Faith. Don’t let the Accuser accuse you.

  6. Fight with  the Sword of the Spirit .  Answer the question “Did God Really Say?” with these words- ‘Yes, He Did!’

  7. Don’t put your boots on until you are at peace.

 

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.

Give all your worries & cares to God.

 He cares about what happens to you.

Be careful ! Watch out for attacks from the Accuser.

He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for some victim to devour .

Take a firm stand against him.

Be strong in your faith.

 

Virtually yours

linda

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