DON’T take off your helmet when you go in your house.
SO WHY NOT take off my helmet? Just keep reading...
When I read and study my Bible, I’m usually focusing on a specific verse or group of verses. For instance, in my last blog post, the focus was on the armor of God, which Paul wrote about in his letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 6:14-17).
As I zero in on a selected passage, I also take a look at what is written before and after. This is what we call looking at a verse or group of verses in context. Looking at a phrase or sentence in context gives us a broader and more accurate sense of what the writer is trying to convey.
It’s interesting that in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, his instructions regarding the armor of God come right after his instructions regarding relationships. Have you ever noticed that?
In the verses prior, he teaches about walking in love, walking in the light of Christ and walking in wisdom (Chapter 5). He continues then, in that same chapter, to instruct regarding the marriage relationship.
When we read all of Chapter 5 as a continuum, we see a beautiful picture of the husband and wife relationship within the body of Christ.
From there, in Chapter 6, Paul gives words of wisdom to children and to fathers in regard to child-rearing. He even addresses the relationship between the bond-servant and master. For us today, that would pertain to employee and employer.
Then at this point in Chapter 6, Paul says, “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 (scheming, deceits) of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of 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 the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).
Paul then describes each implement comprising the armor of God. We addressed these in my last post.
Consider what we have just read in verses 10-13 and again take note of its context in Paul’s letter—it immediately follows his comments about relationships.
His are strong words about serious matters—we’re talkin` demons and demonic activity!
Many of us may not have considered a need for armor when dealing with our family members. After all, they’re our most precious loved-ones. But think about it. Often the most frustration, harshest anger, most deep-seated bitterness, and deepest hurts are experienced in family relationships.
I believe we would all agree that our enemy, the devil, wants to tear apart families, especially Christian families. I’ve even heard people refer to their own home as a war zone.
We need to recognize demonic influence and activity even within the walls of our own homes. We must put on the whole armor and war against wickedness and darkness that rises up against our spouse, ourselves, our parents and our children.
Paul said, it’s not flesh and blood that we wrestle against, but spiritual foes that come against us in many forms.
Keeping Paul’s writing in context, let’s look also at what he stated after describing the armor. He says to pray always and to be watchful (Ephesians 6:18).
In prayer, we cry out to the King of glory who the psalmist, David, called “the LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:8). He is our fearless leader and our strength. He will go before us and even fight for us. Our battlefield should be on our knees.
When we are watchful, as Paul directed, we are awake, alert, and in tune to what is going on both in the physical realm and the spiritual realm. We need to guard our hearts and our tongues when battles rage. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this. Also, the Holy Spirit can give us discernment and when we just don’t know what’s going on, we can trust that God knows ALL.
So, next time you find yourself cross-wise with a loved-one, whether it be a simple quarrel or a major brawl, step back and check yourself. Are you walking in love, in the light of Christ, and in wisdom? Are you wearing every part of the armor of God? Are you invoking the help of the King of glory and are you being watchful to be careful to handle the matter God’s way?
Of course, we cannot control how the other person handles disagreements, but we can set an example and pray for that other person. God loves him or her and wants His best for them just as much as He does for us.
We may take off our clothes at the end of the day but we should never remove our armor, perhaps especially at home.
AND—don’t forget, when you read and study a passage of Scripture, check out the context in which it is used.
If you have not read last week’s post about the whole armor of God, I invite you to do so. You’ll then have this whole message in context.
Thanks for stopping by. Your comments are welcome.
©Connie Wohlford 2016