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. Ephesians 10:13
“I really love your ministry and yet I plan on staying in Dallas after I graduate [from seminary].” About 18 years ago I wrote this email to a leader within the division of the missions organization which employed me. I responded to his inquiry about whether I would consider directing the women’s side of a ministry to professionals in Houston.
I so appreciated him reaching out. However, I wanted to remain in Dallas where I had lived for two years and begun to develop sweet community. Plus, I resisted moving to the place where I grew up because of dynamics with family members who lived in Houston; due to brokenness, pain, and challenges in our past, we all responded differently, fracturing relationships. I felt like I’d be harmed in the crossfire of the emotional and spiritual battles.
Fast forward a month. A dear friends’ mother who approaches the throne of God for me with fervent prayer – and did so before I came to Christ – told me during a phone catch up that she had been praying for me and didn’t know whether to share her impression. She felt like the Lord was moving me back to Houston. This dear prayer warrior had NO IDEA I was being offered an opportunity to work alongside a ministry in Houston. I started to weep after she mentioned her impression. I realized God was getting my attention. This was not just about a location and an outlet to fulfill my passion for ministry, it was about standing firm in my story and taking up the armor of God.
Satan wanted to keep me and my family from experiencing healing, growth, and new blessings. He used intimidation, temptation to avoid a battle, and fear of conflict as strategy to keep me from entertaining the location of Houston for my next step. I am grateful God makes His voice known when we truly want to do His will. In my mind, I subconsciously assumed God wouldn’t send me back to Houston and didn’t even recognize there was a battle until it came to light. This is where the admonitions in Ephesians 6:10-20 we are reflecting upon this fall in our series of Standing Firm in Your Story come to life.
In Ephesians 6:10-12, Paul exhorts the believer to be strong in God’s mighty power, introduces the armor as the way to fight against the devil, and describes in greater detail the battle against the unseen, evil realm. In verse 13 Paul speaks of actively taking up the armor in the “evil day.” In the last year I read a classic written in the 1800’s by a Puritan named William Gurnall called The Christian in Complete Armour. Gurnall explains that the “evil day” can occur under multiple conditions: 1) a day when joy deserts us 2) a day when past sins are remembered 3) the day of affliction is the day when present sin is revealed 4) it is the day Satan comes to tempt 5) it is the day of trouble. Gurnall reminds us that we cannot escape the days of darkness. They will come but God makes a way to resist the evil day by standing firm through the armor He provides.
After I resolved to move to Houston, I recall the enemy threatening in an overt way since his subtle tactics had been exposed. I took up the armor of God to resist fear, self-absorption, and intimidation. I affirmed God was for me and able to protect me. I embraced His desire to pour out a new chapter in my story which I trusted would be for my good and spill over into good in the lives of others. By the time I moved to Houston I felt expectancy about what was in store. AND I can truly say eighteen years later that even though the battle remains challenging at times, I would have missed rich blessings on many levels had I not chosen to stand firm.
What “evil day” are you facing? Perhaps you are not sure how the devil is trying to steal God’s work in and through your story. Pray for wisdom, asking for the devil’s schemes to be brought to the light. I’d love to be in prayer with you. Feel free to share in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sister, let’s make a fashion statement of faith. Go to your wardrobe and put on the armor.
Next week Brandi will continue our series as she talks about specific pieces of armor in Ephesians 6:14.