Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity – Saturday
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. – Ephesians 6:10.
You must “be strong,” Christian, on the battlefield of life, or you will be lost; for your spiritual enemies are strong. The devil, the world, and your own sinful flesh incessantly seek to overwhelm and devour your soul! And since, “with might of ours can naught be done, soon were our loss effected” (Luther, Hymn 262, st. 2), you must “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
Put on the armor and take up the weapons of defense and offense which God supplies, that you “may be able to stand against the wiles of [your adversary] the devil!” (v. 11). For we Christians “wrestle” or struggle not only against enemies of “flesh and blood,” wicked people here in this world, but against “principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness [of sin] of this world” (v. 12), against the wicked spirits that set themselves between us and heaven.
Therefore, O Christian, take up “the whole armor” which God provides, that you “may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand” (v. 13), having fought successfully to remain standing on the battlefield after all the smoke has cleared. Stand ready as a spiritual soldier, “having your loins girt about with truth” (v. 14a), clad in the identifiable uniform of Scripture truth; having your chest with its vital organs protected with “the breast-plate of righteousness” (v. 14b), the impenetrable righteousness of Christ, ”the garments of salvation” (Isaiah 61:10); and “your feet shod,” with your combat boots on, prepared to run the way which “the Gospel of peace” (v. 15) maps out for you. But above all, take “the shield of faith” (v. 16a), of confidence in your Savior, Jesus Christ, the faith kindled within you and made strong and impenetrable by the Holy Ghost working through His Word; for with this you will be “able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (16b), to deflect and extinguish the potentially fatal arrows of the enemy. And cover your head with “the helmet of salvation” (v. 17a), the protective helmet of God’s promise of everlasting life, and the sure and certain anticipation of victory and of eternal salvation. And then take the only offensive weapon in this spiritual arsenal, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (v. 17b), against which not even the devil can stand, “one little word [of which] can fell him” (Luther, Hymn 262, st. 3).
By God’s grace and with His never-failing help as our “Mighty Fortress” (Psalm 46), “the kingdom ours remaineth” (Hymn 262, v. 4).
PRAYER – O God, dear heavenly Father, Thou knowest the spiritual danger that besets me on every hand, the enemies that lie in wait for my soul, and my inability of my own reason and strength to battle successfully against them. Therefore I heartily beg Thee, the Captain of my soul, to equip me with Thine own impenetrable defensive armor and with the powerful offensive weapon of Thy holy Word, that I may be strong in Thee and in the power of Thy might, that in the evil hour I may be able to remain standing on the battlefield, to overcome and obtain the victory, and to obtain eternal salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.
Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on; strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son, Strong in the Lord of hosts and in His mighty power. Who in the strength of Jesus trusts is more than conqueror. Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued; but take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply [suit of armor] of God.
Hymn 450, 1-3