Two thousand years have passed since the book of Ephesians was written. It gives us a vivid depiction of a soldier preparing for battle. We can visualize the various elements of effective armor: the helmet, breastplate, belt, shoes, sword, and shield.
Every day on my way to take my daughters to school, I pass an army base. Each day, the soldiers are dressed in uniform and performing various training exercises.
Interestingly, in the country in which I live, Botswana, we have not had war since the nation received their independence from England in 1966. Nevertheless, in this peaceful country, they prepare daily. They do not know when or if today is the day when war will break out or their services will be needed.
From what I can see, they are striving intentionally to be ready when that day comes. They are learning to walk in unity as they are always walking in an orderly fashion. They are learning to follow commands. Even on very hot days, the soldiers are wearing a full uniform and combat boots. This must be so cumbersome and hot. Yet they prepare, day in and day out, so that they will be ready if they are needed.
When I read Ephesians 6, in my mind, I refer to these soldiers to really think through the implications of these verses.
One particular verse stands out to me: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:13 NIV).
As Christian leaders it is easy to become complacent. We are convinced of Christ’s place in our lives. We love the lost. We know the Scriptures. We can even quote Ephesians 6:10–18. But here is the danger. We get complacent and, unlike a real soldier, we no longer anticipate battle or remember we have enemies.
Putting on the combat boots and uniform can be time consuming and even slow us down. Reading our Bibles and really praying over what God wants us to say or do in our ministry may even “slow us down.”
We don’t always have time to put on the full armor of God. We are too busy serving the Lord to learn to listen to His commands and practice instant obedience and total surrender.
We are not intentional about walking in unity with our fellow brothers and sisters because we know what we are doing and it can slow us down to really work in unity and dependency on each other in the body of Christ.
So, what if we burn out even when we are trying our best? We aren’t like soldiers who are convinced of their need to work together in unity to win any battle. Slowly, and usually not even consciously, our faith shifts from totally depending on God to trusting in ourselves to lead others to Christ and to encourage others to walk in Christ.
Let’s look closely at this Scripture again, “when the day of evil comes” (emphasis added). It doesn’t say if the day of evil comes. Each one of us will have something we will face. It might be a temptation, doubts, or even a trial. It will come. When it does, will you be able to stand your ground? After that temptation or trial has passed, will you still be standing?
Let’s be mindful, like my soldier friends, to put on the armor of God so clearly explained in this passage. Let’s meditate on these Scriptures over and over and remember we are in a battle even though it isn’t one we can see. It is against rulers, authorities, powers, and spiritual forces of evil of this dark world. The devil has schemes to distract and derail us. We do have an enemy.
According to this Scripture, the best way to prepare ourselves for battle is to be like the soldiers and put on our armor as explained in Ephesians. Let’s ask ourselves: If today is the day of evil, am I prepared? When it is all over, am I equipped with the armor Christ provides to still be standing?
Ashley Thaba and her family live in Botswana where they use media as a platform to teach biblical family values on an international level. They do this through television in Botswana and through weekly national newspaper columns in Zambia, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. They also work with the government to lead village-wide campaigns promoting biblical family values.