Strong and Courageous
After my first post for this year, “Known. Loved. Empowered,” I wanted to continue the theme of adjectives that define us as we follow Christ. This serves as a reminder of what God’s vision and desire is for each of us. Not as a perfect measure to compare ourselves to and see how far we fall short of it. It’s a reminder of the characteristics that the Designer intends for each of us. Through his mercy, despite our desire to live life our own way, and his grace, which we don’t deserve, he will reshape us into his design as we trust him.
Putting on Strength
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12)
Each believer is called to be strong no matter who they are. Paul had just finished giving instructions to wives and husbands, children and parents, and slaves and masters, so we know the command to be strong does not depend on which gender a person is, how old a person is, or how much power a person has. While the Lord is ultimately the one who gives us strength, we each must decide to put on the armor of God and prepare ourselves to stand against the schemes of the devil.
Putting on armor, I imagine, would not be a lot of fun. It would probably feel restrictive, heavy, and inconvenient, but without it people would be close to useless when the battle came. As Christians we will also be pretty useless in battle if we don’t put on the armor of God. Putting on the belt of truth might not feel convenient. Taking the intentional time to listen to God, maybe by praying, reading his word, or being with others who live and speak truth isn’t always going to be convenient or easy, but without truth lies easily stir up doubts and destruction in our lives and the lives of others.
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness might feel heavy and clunky. Standing up for others who are looked down on, putting away our own desires to instead serve others, or honoring others above ourselves are hard and inconvenient things to do, but a life of righteousness will give us a greater strength and protection to resist and fight evil.
Carrying around the shield of faith would also feel clunky. People would look at you funny, but believing in God and what he says, even when it doesn’t make any sense to the world, will “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” The people who are prepared with the armor of God are able to fight and be strong in the battle. Those without it are easily overtaken.
Ephesians 6:14-17 lists the pieces of armor we need to strengthen ourselves for battle. Are there pieces of armor you find yourself needing? What steps might you need to go through to ‘put on’ that armor and prepare for battle?
Fasten on the belt of truth
Put on the breastplate of righteousness
Put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace
Take up the shield of faith
Take the helmet of salvation
Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
Strong and Courageous
God does not desire for any of us to be weak and timid Christians, afraid of others, the future, making mistakes, or anything else. He desires for us to be strong and courageous as we follow him. Although Joshua would be the natural choice as an example of strength and courage (Joshua 1:9), there are other characters in the Bible who caught my attention— particularly the woman of Proverbs 31 who shows a humble strength throughout every aspect of her life, whether in managing their household, running her business, or taking care of others’ needs, she continually looks to the Lord for her strength.
Being Strong: Case Example
The woman of Proverbs 31 (v. 10-31) is a woman of strength who has chosen to put on the armor of God. She takes up the belt of truth. She believes what is true and speaks what is true. She is noble (v. 10). She speaks words of wisdom and faithful instruction (v. 26). She fears the Lord and follows his words (v. 30). She also has put on the breastplate of righteousness. She does what is right. Even though it requires hard work, she provides for her household (vv. 12, 15, 21, 27) and cares for the poor (v. 20). She has put on the shoes of peace. She has a peace about the future and does not worry (v. 21, 25). She has peace in her marriage as they both care about the needs of the other. Her husband sees she is trustworthy and therefore has full confidence in her (v.11, 28-29). She takes up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. She fears the Lord (v. 30).
This woman continually draws strength from the Lord. Whether she needs physical strength to do her tasks, mental strength to discern good business decisions, or a spiritual strength to speak wisdom or care for others, she trusts in the Lord to provide the strength as she puts on the armor of God.
Courage and Strength: God’s Design
God’s design for each us, no matter gender, age, or amount of power, is to be strong and courageous in our lives. While it may feel inconvenient and hard to put on the armor of God, through it God gives us strength to fight the evil and the lies that surround us.
About the author
I am a natural deep thinker, which means I love reading books, getting away from things to process the week, and when all the little details line up. I also love, running, volleyball, and almost any form of competition, especially if I have a good shot at winning.