Fighting Together

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians, he was under house arrest in Rome. It was his own personal form of our coronavirus lockdown. He wasn’t allowed to leave his house to see his friends. Instead, he was chained to a pair of Roman soldiers that the Emperor had tasked with guarding him.

In the loneliness of his lockdown, the Apostle Paul looked at their armour. He spotted their personal protection – the belt, helmet and breastplate that we looked at yesterday – and he also spotted the protection that they wielded as a team together. Roman legionaries were famous the world over for the way in which they used their oblong shields to become a ‘tortoise’ – a solid hedge of shields that could withstand any amount of flaming missiles that were fired at them by their barbarian enemies. Paul took one look at their shields and told the Christians in Ephesus to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

The truth is, it is much harder to resist the devil’s lies on our own. Deception is, by very definition, hard to spot in ourselves. It is as we stand shoulder to shoulder as Christians that we are able to spot the devil’s lies at work in each other’s hearts and minds. Christian humility means letting other people get close enough to us to know what we are thinking and feeling, so that they can protect us. Christian compassion means wrenching our eyes off our own priorities for long enough to get close to other people so that we can protect them too. If we have learned anything through our own coronavirus lockdown, then it is how much we need our Christian brothers and sisters.
  1. Even under the restrictions of the coronavirus lockdown, who are you allowing to get close enough to you to know what you are thinking and feeling? How could you let other people in a bit more?
  2. Who are you covering with your own shield of faith? When did you last get close enough to somebody to be able to challenge them over an area of wrong thinking or sin?
  3. The devil wants to get us fighting each other so that we cannot unite to fight together against him. Take a moment to think about of your own Christian friendships that are under strain right now. What can you do this week to initiate healing? How can you begin to restore that broken relationship?
Father God, I thank you that you have given me your shield of faith. I have grown this week in my awareness of the flaming arrows that the devil fires against me, so please help me to wield your shield of faith well. Please help me to open myself up to others, and to bring healing where relationships have come under strain. Help me to stand shoulder to shoulder with my Christian brothers and sisters to ward off the devil’s lies as a united team. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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