I have a friend who has severe OCD, which means that leaving the house to go anywhere is an experience fraught with difficulties. What helps them is repetition and routine: checking that all the lights are off, the heating is set, and that, in essence, the house will still be standing on their return.
For my friend, summarizing the important tasks that must not be forgotten is helpful; and the most important thing is the final task on that list – ensuring the front door is locked. It’s the task and the check that they repeat the most times – because it’s the most important.
Even for ourselves as we’re leaving our houses or our cars, what’s the one thing that we all make sure of…that the doors are locked – it’s common sense. The final task that we undertake is usually the most important thing to remember – and to complete. So how does Ephesians help us to understand this?
Ephesians 6 v 10-11
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on the full armour of God,
so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
The apostle Paul wrote many of the letters (epistles) in the New Testament. Part of his ministry in these letters was to guide, to encourage and to challenge the new churches that were forming at that time, as the good news of Jesus was spreading further and further.
Paul had a distinctive way of writing; he often begins with a greeting, giving thanks to God; he offers teaching and guidance – often with a challenge – and ends his letters with final instructions – a manual for life as a Christian. In this letter to the church in Ephesus Paul wants to give them important final instructions: remember, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. The same instructions are true for us today.
We need to hold to the urgency of Paul’s instructions – especially when life is up the air and we’re in a cycle of repeatedly worrying about all the challenges it brings, when we are struggling to find perspective and peace. We need to follow closely to this manual for life, walking with Jesus each day and ensuring that we find new strength in God to stand and advance in his purpose and calling for our lives.
Putting it into Practice
1. What might it look like to put on the full armour of God? Is there a place in your life where you need to stand firm in God’s strength?
2. Maybe you could share this with a friend or a church leader and ask them to pray for you; that God would give you his strength to stand firm in him and to know his lasting peace.