- Tuesday, July 20, 2004
So, from the human perspective, we must take our stand for God and against the Enemy (i.e., by calling his bluff):
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world (1 Peter 5:8-9).
Or in the words of the Apostle Paul, "Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm" (Eph. 6:13). Our greatest defense in this spiritual war is merely "to resist," that is, to call his bluff! Under divine inspiration, three biblical writers all agree (James, Peter, and Paul): "Resist"! But, specifically, how do we do this in our marriages? Again, the Apostle Paul lays it out in Ephesians 6:14-18:
(14) Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. (18) 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 for all the saints.
So how do we daily put on each of these vital pieces of armor in our marriages?
1. First, we must gird our loins with truth (14a). No marriage can survive the daily onslaught without putting on the belt that holds all of the other pieces of armor in place. Truth is our marital integrity and faithfulness. Our commitments to God and our mates, reflected in our marriage vows, gives us the freedom to overcome the Evil One.
2. Then we must put on the breastplate of righteousness (14b). This is the sanctifying righteousness or holiness that we are to practice in our marriage on a daily basis. Without it our hearts and lives are vulnerable to the worst attacks of the Enemy.
3. Then we must fit our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (15). This refers to the stability and peace that our marriage gains from a correct understanding and sharing of the good news of the gospel. Peace reigns in a Christian marriage when we commit ourselves to knowing and sharing the gospel, when our home is a refuge and center of ministry for the lost of this world.
4. Then we are to take up the shield of faith (16). When a marriage is built on a faith-based relationship rather than a performance-based relationship, the flaming arrows of the Enemy are quickly snuffed out. By accepting my mate by faith as God's perfect provision for my life, I free her or him up to become all that God desires her or him to become. Then, and only then, do we remain untouched by the arrows of insecurity and affliction.
5. Then we are to put on the helmet of salvation (17a). When a couple knows and embraces both the present security of their salvation and the future hope of their final deliverance (1 Thess. 5:8), then they will be protected from all of the assaults against their minds and wills. It is the Lord's protection from all of the Devil's mind games and head-trips.
6. And then we are to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (17b). The only offensive weapon that we have for our marriage is God's Holy Word. When a couple memorizes, proclaims, and applies the Word of God against specific attacks on their marriage, the Enemy is slashed to pieces and must flee the field of battle, wounded and defeated.
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