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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, January 27, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Ephesians 6:10–20

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak. (NRSV)

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus at a time when people believed that there were heavenly forces fighting in heavenly places on behalf of people in earthly places. That’s not a world view that many of us share. But there is still spiritual insight in Paul’s poetic and metaphorical reflection on evil and the human tendency to struggle with it.

His poetic words describe spiritual struggle as though it were a physical war requiring armor. But of course, it’s not a struggle against “enemies of blood and flesh”; it’s not physical. It’s a spiritual struggle. Our protective armor is made of truth, righteousness, proclamation of the good news of peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God, which is like a sword.

To proclaim the good news of peace in the midst of what feels like a war is a powerful overturning of perception and attitude. We could embrace this scripture by taking a warlike posture, or we could embrace it by proclaiming that war has no power over our spirits. The armor of God is not armor of metal. The armor of God is meant to strengthen and protect us so that we can proclaim peace, not so that we can win a war of domination.

“As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.” Developing readiness to proclaim a gospel of peace will require that we ground ourselves in peaceful ways. Belief in the truth of God’s love, commitment to moral principles (righteousness), and trust in God’s power to support us will all help us to walk the talk. Put on the shoes of readiness and let’s keep walking in the direction of peace.

God of power and might, your strength is enduring and nourishing. Protect me from warlike thoughts. Fill me with a spirit of peace. Strengthen me with conviction and clarity, love, and hope for a world at peace. Help me to walk the talk. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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