Week of Monday, September 27 ­– Sunday, October 3
Armor Up! – Man as a Defender
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. — Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV
In his book, The Civil War, Geoffrey C. Ward told a story about Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s take on his adversary, Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Ward explained:

Right in the middle of the Battle of the Wilderness, all the staff men who’d been fighting in the East all this time—Grant had just come from the West—kept talking, “Bobby Lee, Bobby Lee, he’ll do this, that, and the other.” And Grant finally told them, “I’m tired of hearing about Bobby Lee. You’d think he was going to do a double somersault and land in our rear. Quit thinking about what he’s going to do to you and think about what you’re going to do to him.”[1]
Ephesians 6 tells us we also have a formidable adversary in this world. The devil is always on the prowl seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He commands the “spiritual forces of evil.” But this should not invoke fear because we know how his story and the story ends. Jesus has claimed victory over Satan through the cross and will defeat him finally at the end of time. In the meantime, the war goes on and we need to armor up and get in the battle as Defenders.  
After all, we do have distinct advantages in this battle. We are not acting as Defenders without some superior weapons. Our commander Jesus Christ freely provides everything we need to ward off the devil’s assaults: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of the gospel of peace on our feet, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. And continual prayer holds our armor together and provides protection. But don’t just think in terms of trying to withstand the devil’s attacks. This armor is not only for defense.
Instead of intimidating us into inaction like Grant’s field commanders, the reality of our enemy should call us to action, specifically to go on offense. As a matter of fact, we have at least one piece of armor that is a dual weapon. It can be used both for defense and offense. That is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God! Jesus drew His sword out in the desert under assault by Satan. Three times the devil attacked our Lord with deception, but three times Jesus deflected and counter-attacked, quoting the Scriptures, literally declaring about God’s transcendent truth: “It stands written!” He took His stand. He used His sword. He defeated Satan. Are you reading the Word daily? Can you counter Satan’s attacks by recalling Scripture, which we know is sharper than any two-edged sword? In your role as a Defender you must know the Scriptures and there is only one way to gain that knowledge; read or listen to the Bible.
Satan will flee if we resist him by relying on the truths of Scripture and the power of prayer. So instead of being preoccupied with what Satan is going to do next, we ought to be thinking about what we’re going to do next. Men, take your stand, draw your sword, and rely on the Lord in this epic battle for the souls in your charge. Know that the Captain of our Faith will be leading the attack on the enemy. Armor up and fall in behind Him, soldier!
  • How does Ephesians 6 help you understand what it means to live out your God-given calling as a Defender?
  • Do you regularly “Armor Up” for spiritual battle? What steps can you take to prepare for that daily conflict with the enemy of our souls? How can you go on offense, take up the sword of the Spirit and run Satan through with it?   
  • Pray that the Lord would arm you daily for spiritual battle and give you the ability to not only resist the attacks of Satan, but also to go on offense, take back territory, and liberate captives.
  [1] Geoffrey C. Ward, Ken Burns, and Ric Burns, The Civil War (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1994), 232.