Today is the Third Sunday in Advent. Pull out your worksheet (or download in Letter or A4) so that you can process this post with your hand and head as well as your eyes.
We live in a world still divided. Darkness and evil, suffering and sin, rebellion and distortion, decay and malformation are still a part of our life on earth as we are separated from the fullness of heaven. The loudest message I heard from God on my morning walk that led to this series was: “Stand firm, wear the full armor I’ve given you.”
We don’t like to think of Christians being warriors, history has tainted that imagery, but the language here in Ephesians is clear—we have a common enemy and it is not our brother or sister, it is not humanity, nor is it of flesh and blood and we must be prepared, as Christ’s body, to stand against the wiles of Satan who desires to steal, kill and destroy God’s good creation.
When we walked in the Garden we had a role to fill; to subdue evil, guard Eden, and protect and tend to all creation so that life could flourish. This glorifies God. This good work is still the work in which we’ve been called to by Christ. Jesus encourages us to live in our present time and place by standing firm.
What is it that we are to stand firm for? As we light the candle of joy this week, we recall that Christ came down as the light of the world. His death and resurrection born in all believers is his light and claim on our life. We were bought with a price, claimed for God’s glory and the light in us is what we are called to defend. The light of Christ we carry within us is not only for us, but for all peoples and nations. We are to protect and defend the light of Christ in us with the gifts that God has given us.
Spend some time this week soaking in Ephesians 6. Consider the gifts God has given us to help us stand firm and defend the light of Christ in us. Look at your inner life, are there areas where Satan is trying to blow out the flame of Christ? Is there an area of your life that needs strengthening in order to stand firm? Ask the Holy Spirit to give you what you need to stand firm in your faith with the joy of Christ as your salvation.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish 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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
We’ve also created a short worksheet for each week, so that you can interact with the material instead of merely reading it. Each worksheet should take 10-15 minutes (or more if you want!). You can get the worksheet in Letter or A4.
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