Ephesians 6:10-12 (NKJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
This week our topic has been walking in favor from a position of strength. We first looked at the Hebrew women in the book of Exodus who asked their neighbors for treasure. They neither threatened nor intimidated them but both the Egyptians and the Israelites knew that the Israelites were in a position of strength. Next we looked at the position of strength the church occupies. We have the great commission of Jesus in Matthew 28 and we occupy the high ground of the spirit according to Ephesians 1.
Today’s scripture is an admonition from Paul to walk in the strength Jesus has provided for us. Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord. There are a number of things about these three verses that can help us operate from a position of strength. The first point I want to make is actually from verse 13. The nature of our real enemy makes it certain that we can walk in a position of strength.
Paul lets us know that we are not fighting flesh and blood. It is hard to remember this when it seems that flesh and blood people are the ones against us. It may be your boss, a coworker or even a spouse who seems to be your problem. We must remember that they are not our enemy. That does not mean that people are not responsible for their actions. They certainly are. People make choices and we need to trust God to deal with them. We may have to speak to them as well but our real enemy is not flesh and blood. Paul tells us our real enemies are the devil and those evil spirits that work with him to destroy the plan and people of God.
At first this could seem frightening. There is no reason to be frightened if we remember our lesson from Ephesians 1. We are seated far above these same spirits.
Ephesians 1:20-21 (NKJV) 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
The devil and his army are very cunning and powerful foes. However, we are stronger than they are. Any believer has the authority to defeat them. This is not true because of our own ability but based on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We have the position of strength. Jesus defeated the entities mentioned in Ephesians 6:12 and we walk in that victory.
As Paul begins verse ten he uses the word “finally.” Finally implies that what he is saying now is in light of all that he said to them to this point in the letter. Ephesians is one of the most powerful books in the New Testament. Yesterday we looked at chapter one and saw the position of the church. In Chapter two, we see that the church is not without God in the world. In chapter three, Paul tells us that through the church the fullness of God can be manifested.
In chapter four, we learn of the unity of the spirit and the five-fold ministry. In chapter five, we look at Godly relationships and marriage. In the beginning of chapter six, we learn about parent child relationships. That brings to the “finally” of chapter six. Though this does not even scratch the surface of revelation in Ephesians, you get the idea. It is in light of all of the revelation in Paul’s letter that he can say be strong in the Lord.
The next thing he says is “brethren.” Paul wants us to know that the ability to be strong is not relegated to special people or particular positions in the church. The strength Paul is speaking of is available to all believers. There is no difference between the ministry and the laity. You can be just as strong in the Lord as I can.
The Greek word for strong used here is significant. It means to make strong or strengthen. Paul is not telling us to “grow up and quit being weak.” He is saying that the Lord wants to give us something. The Lord himself will strengthen us if we trust him. It is not up to us to get stronger, it is up to us to receive and believe the strength that comes from the Lord.
This leads us to the next thought; we should be strong in the Lord. When the Hebrew women went to the Egyptian women and asked for their treasure, what was the source of their strength? It was not in their ability. Their strength was in the covenant they had with the Lord. We have a new and better covenant with the Lord. When Paul says to be strong, he is saying that we must stand in the strength of that covenant. If we are thinking in terms of our own spirituality or strength, we will fail. However, when we realize that the devil understands covenant and knows that we have a powerful covenant with Jesus, we can approach our enemy knowing that we are in a position of strength.
The last thing Paul wants us to know is that we can be strong in the “power of his might.” These two words are significant. Power here means dominion. Might, in this context, means ability. We are to be strong in the dominion that comes from the ability of God himself. What are the limits of God’s dominion and ability? I submit to you that there are no limits to them at all.
Look around you today. What kind of opposition are you facing? What are the challenges in your life? I encourage you with the apostle Paul to be strong in the Lord. You are not dealing with flesh and blood. Your enemy is an ancient one who still remembers the defeat he suffered at the hands of Jesus. You stand against him in the same strength that defeated him. He knows that. You must know it as well. When you are convinced of it you will be able to agree with Paul in Romans chapter 8.
Romans 8:31 (NKJV) 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:37 (NKJV) 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.