Devotion 411 – Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost (Evening)

Opening Prayer

Lord, put Your armor on me and give me Your sword. Amen.

Text: Ephesians 6:10–17

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. 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. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Devotion

We are as light as a piece of straw against the devil, but in the strength of the Lord’s power we are strong, so that “we are more than conquerors” (Rom 8:37). The Apostle wants to waken us to sincerity by describing the greatness and strength of the enemy: “principalities and powers.” Note the words: “principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The devil, the strongest and most clever of all created spirits – his “crafty wiles” you must withstand “in the evil day.” These fearsome powers you, a poor broken reed, must overcome in the battle for life and in the agony of death, if you are to receive your crown.

But the Apostle also wants to stir up boldness in your soul. If I become nothing at all in the face of the enemy’s power, then I receive heroic valor “in the Lord and the power of His might.” I am baptized in the Lord, by faith united with the powerful God, the almighty, who allowed Himself to be assaulted by all the powers of wickedness and yet gained the victory. In Him and in the power of His might, note the words again: in the Lord – and in the power of His might you shall truly tread the devil and his host under foot. Fight for your life as long as you are here, but victory and eternal trophies of victory shall last forever! Put on the armor. Work with one hand, but hold your weapon in the other (Neh 4:17). “The full armor of God.” The Apostle repeats it: “Put on the whole armor of God… Therefore take up the whole armor of God.” Above all be girded with truth: this is the belt with which the garments are held in place, truth in the inmost heart! Walk in the light before God and men! Otherwise you stumble and are trampled under foot. Then put on “Christ’s righteousness,” the breastplate that protects your heart and conscience against all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Furthermore, “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” that is: Walk and stand in the covenant of peace with God, in all your life gladly confess Christ and suffer with Him the shame of the cross. “Taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one,” that is to say: Be assured of the invisible presence of God and the truth of His promises, so that all evil thoughts and desires that the deceiver kindles in you must die. But “the helmet of salvation” is hope, the soul’s sure expectation of eternal glory that makes you bold to lift up your head in all troubles. Finally you must use “the sword of the Spirit,” for you should not only defend yourself, but also defeat your enemy – “the sword of the Spirit,” the sword which is the Spirit Himself, but the Spirit is “the word of God.” The Lord’s Spirit in the Word then shall be the power of your soul, the strength of your hand with which you slay the devil, just as Christ did in the wilderness. – Though it is impossible for us to stand by our own strength, it is certain that in this way we shall conquer by the Lord’s power. Fellow believers, the crown of glory is gleaming, “put on the full armor of God, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”

Closing Prayer

Almighty, faithful God, be with us in the evil day, and defend us against the devil’s crafty and powerful assault. Yes, Lord God, make us strong in You. Put Your full armor on us. Give us victory, and let us withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Amen.

Hymn

God, let us strive now
In true sincerity,
In battle brave now,
In confidence set free!
The lukewarm manner
Can hardly bear a breath;
Our battle standard
Lead us through blood-filled path,
The vict’ry banner
Will show us Jesus’ death!

Here you are bearing
A daily fight of strife;
There you are wearing
Th’ eternal crown of life.
So now be pray’rful
That you may bear the pain,
And then be careful
The needed strength t’ attain;
Until, all joyful,
You live with God again.

Brorson: Nu da til Lykke L 552:5-6 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Paa Gud alene LHy 350; alternate hymn: O little flock, fear not the foe ELH 375:3

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