My eyes started to swell with tears while I sang “Soldiers of Christ, Arise” during worship. As I thought about the words of the song, my heart became heavy because I had failed to put on the full armor of God and have not been able to stand firm against the devil in some ways.
In Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus, he says:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm (Ephesians 6:10-13 NASV).
I am to wear the full armor of God. I am to gird my loins with truth, put on the breast plate of righteousness (verse 14), shod my feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace (verse 15), take up my shield of faith (verse 16), take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (verse 17). By wearing the full armor of God I will be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (verse 10).
When I think I know truth without reading God’s Word, when I justify thoughts that are not righteous, when I give up telling others of Christ because it is just too hard, when I become discouraged and question why I am a Christian, when I consider salvation in Christ a burden instead of a joy, and when I spend more time reading about celebrities’ lives than the life of Christ, I have been defeated by the devil, I am not able to resist evil, and I have done nothing to stand firm.
So now what? What do I do now? Where do I go from here?
I dare not retreat, but advance by knowing the truth, the Word of God (Psalm 119:160), which is also the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17), pursuing righteousness (2 Timothy 2:22), being ready to give others an answer for the hope I have (1 Peter 3:15), and having faith so that I will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6: 16).
In addition, Verse 18 says to pray, be on the alert, and petition (ask). “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition (ask) for all the saints…”
I need to pray, even when I am discouraged and I do not know what to say, because I need Him, I am defeated without Him. I need to be on the alert and persevere. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Life is hard and at times it is harder because I am a Christian, but I need to persevere and keep the end in mind because when everything comes to pass, there is nothing I want more than to leave this world knowing I am going to see my Father in heaven. I need to petition for all the saints because I am not alone and I need my Christian family just as much as they need me as we all strive to stand firm and entire at the last.
By Kerstin Allison
Kerstin and her husband Britton were sent by the North MacArthur church of Christ to work with the Central Avenue Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They have committed to encourage the Christians there and to evangelize to the lost souls in the community there.