Today we read the concluding chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians – and his advice to them is so appropriate for us today as he writes of the “evil day.” It seems certain we are living in the final “evil day” before Christ returns. “Day” of course, is not used in the sense of 24 hours – but of a time period, usually a very short one.
Paul’s encouragement to them is straight to the point – no beating about the bush as some of us would say today. “Finally,” he writes “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God [v.10,11] And what is this armour? It is the kind of armour that enables us “to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”[v.13]
Paul develops his point further “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth” [v.14]. If we do not stand on what is true – and for what is true – thinking we are standing will be all self-deception – and will later be seen as tragic! It will be too late!
Paul next says we need to have, “put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” [v.14,15]
What kind of “peace” gives us this “readiness”? Isaiah’s words to God about his involvement in our lives illuminates for us the wonder of this! “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” [26 v.3] It is peace of mind – arising from a genuine relationship that is creating real “trust” – day by day – because we are increasingly “working together with him.” [2 Cor. 6 v.1] day after day!
How wonderful were the words of Jesus to his disciples! John recorded them in ch. 14 v.27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Back to Paul’s words: “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith” [v.16] How much we need this ‘shield’ in our minds today – as total godlessness surrounds us in so many forms. We must have on (v.17) ” the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God … that you may be able to withstand in the evil day.”
We should also add that we must engage in “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance …” [v.18] By this means – more than anything else – we will “be able to withstand …the evil” of the days in which we are now living – and be “ready” to meet our Lord.