On Guard

May 4, 2016

1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14Do everything in love.

On Guard

As part of the final exhortations and comments to the Corinthians in this first epistle Paul writea, he gives them this exhortation. Verse 13 is everything a military commander might speak to his men who are in the midst of a war zone and faced with the intimidation of the enemy.
This is not unlike the exhortation that he gives to the Ephesians in Ephesians 6:10-18. There he exhorts them, “10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore 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. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And 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 saints.”
Here our enemy is identified. He is not flesh and blood although he may manifest himself in through the lives of others, but our real adversary is the ruler, authorities and powers of darkness, it is not even in the smaller demonic opposition you face in daily life. These are nothing before men who know who they are in Christ and His authority. The stronger adversaries you can face in confidence as well, but you must know that you must be equipped for them.
First of all, you must always be on your guard, for they look for your moments of weakness and vulnerability. The weaknesses of our flesh are often the doors of opportunity that the devil uses to gain access as he attempts to kill, steal and destroy our faith and standing in Christ. Paul exhorts us here to put on the full armor, because you are only as strong as your weakest link.
When the day of evil or spiritual assault comes to us, it is imperative that we know who we are in Christ, because He essentially is our armor and weaponry in different aspects. Our authority in His Word is what we stand upon and it is the belt and buckle of our integrity. If we are holding fast to the truth we will not be found with our pants down, vulnerable and exposed. The breastplate of the righteousness of Christ is what protects our heart. With arrows of condemnation the enemy attempts to pierce our hearts with our shortcomings, failures, former sins and unworthiness. The breastplate of His righteousness is in knowing that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, not because we are anything, but because we have chosen to make Him everything. Through His blood He has imparted His righteousness to us and His blood is the breastplate of righteousness that covers and protects our heart and vital organs.
Our feet have been fitted with the readiness to carry out the gospel of the kingdom of God. The gospel of Christ’s kingdom is not only in our talk, but it is in our walk and we carry it wherever we go.
The shield of faith is what quenches these fiery darts of condemnation, death, discouragement, fearfulness and unbelief. That shield keeps fear and doubt out that would endeavor to undermine our faith and confidence in Christ.
The helmet of salvation is putting on the mind of Christ, being not conformed to the world, but transformed through the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus and His Word.
The sword of the Spirit is the power of enacting the mighty Word of God against the assaults of the enemy. The Word of God, anointed and empowered by the Spirit of God is a formidable weapon against which there is no match. It strikes down the ignorance and foolishness of men and cuts through the lies and darkness of the enemy. It cuts to the quick and lays bear the true motives of the heart.
Last, and perhaps most powerful is our prayers unto God through the Spirit. Our prayers are the lifeline, connection and relationship with God’s strength and power. It is through prayer that He empowers us with victory and is able battle on our behalf. It is prayer that not only enables us to stand, but reinforces and upholds our brothers who fight with us in the battle.
So we are reminded as men to be on our guard, always in a state of readiness for battle. Stand firm in the faith, do not compromise or be moved in your convictions. Be men of courage who are strong and not intimidated by mockery, provocation and the varied assaults the enemy wages against you. Don’t back down, but don’t respond out of the flesh, with hatred or retaliation of anger, but out of the Spirit of Love. It is God’s love through us that will set us apart from the rest of the world. This is what God has called us too as men and women of God.

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