“For 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.” – Ephesians 6:12
This week we begin a new teaching series on the full armor that God gives us for this life, and how this armor is vital to protect and strengthen our marriages. Our last series was one of our shortest. This series will be one of the longest. I hope you stick with us through it, because it is of utmost importance.
Why? One reason is the importance God places on it. He had Paul write one of his longest teachings on our need for His armor (Ephesians 6:10-18). A second reason is because of its context. This teaching immediately follows instructions on relationships between children and parents (Ephesians 6:1-4), and slaves and masters (Ephesians 6:5-9). Just before that, we find the vital teaching on the relationship between husbands and wives (Ephesians 5:21-33).
Our Enemy is Powerful
God knew we would need His armor if our relationships–including our marriages–were to survive the battle we all face. He warns us about this battle and our enemy through the words of Peter in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Jesus also warned us about this enemy’s goal in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The thief represents Satan.
In John 8:44, Jesus said to those who would not listen to Him: “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Satan has only one purpose–to destroy everything good God has created, including us and our marriages.
Remember, the marriage relationship is to represent Christ and His relationship to all people. So if Satan can destroy it, he can turn that beautiful picture ugly. Make no mistake–he will do whatever he can to destroy our marriages.
If you feel you are in a battle for which you are ill-prepared, you are right. You cannot fight this battle on your own. If you believe you are defenseless against the enemy’s attacks, you are correct. Your resources by themselves are not enough. Paul warns us in Ephesians 6:12: “For 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.”
If we were battling against other people, or even our own flesh, we might believe we have a reason to hope for victory. But we are in a battle against a much more powerful enemy than we can imagine. One we cannot hope to win on our own.
But Our God is Stronger
The good news, however, is that you are not on your own if you have Jesus as your Lord. God promises in 1 John 4:4: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord, go here now and see how you can do so. Then you too will be ready for this battle.
God’s Word tells us He provides us with everything we need. Ephesians 6:10-11 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” God tells us that when we put on the full armor He provides, we will “stand against the devil’s schemes.” It is a promise from our Almighty God.
We cannot stand against the schemes of Satan on our own, but are assured by God Himself that we can stand strong with His help. Paul concludes his introduction to the full armor of God with these words in Ephesians 6:13: “Therefore 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.”
That “day of evil” will come in all our marriages. God doesn’t have Paul write, “if the day of evil comes.” God leads Paul to write “when the day of evil comes.” It will come. We will be tempted to say some mean thing in response to something hurtful said to us. We will have that desire of the flesh to get even by doing or not doing the thing we know will irritate and even hurt our spouse because, after all, they hurt us first.
We Can Win the Battle with the Powerful Armor of Almighty God
The promise from our Lord is that we will “be able to stand [our] ground,” if we have “put on the full armor of God.” We can respond in a way that will demonstrate His gracious love with His power. We can do this in a way that will show our spouse and the world His grace and love. And isn’t that why we’re on this earth? Isn’t that what we hope for?
Yes, we are indeed in a battle–not a battle with each other, but a battle against the enemy of our Lord. Let’s learn all we can about this protective armor our God has provided for us, so that we will stand firm against the devil’s schemes and–in doing so by the power of Almighty God–win a victory and see our marriage grow ever stronger.
I encourage you to go through this series together as a couple. The questions below are designed to help you discuss these lessons and apply what you’re learning. A great time to do this is what we call Couple Connect–a weekly meeting as a couple to communicate and discuss what’s going on in your lives, with the goal to grow closer as one. To download our free ebook which includes a tool to help you design your own Couple Connect time, click here: Couple Connect – A Simple Weekly Plan to Stay Close for a Lifetime.
Questions for Discussion
- Read Ephesians 6:10-18 on the armor of God. We will be studying this in more detail in the weeks ahead, so discuss how you think this will apply to your marriage in general.
- Discuss what this passage says about Satan. We often don’t like to discuss Satan and his role in our lives, but this is important to understand why we need the full armor of God, what God teaches about this enemy and how to overcome him. Do not let it cause you fear, for remember, God is greater than him. Let it lead you to caution and a desire to study the rest of these teachings on God’s armor, so you can overcome Satan’s attacks.
- Pray together that God will teach you what He wants you to learn about His armor, that He will help you put what you learn into practice, and that He will protect you and your marriage, using this study to grow in your relationship with Him and each other.
Next week we will begin looking piece by piece at the armor God gives us as His children and followers. We will see how each piece applies to our marriages and study how it strengthens our marriages and makes them all He wants them to be, for our sake and His.
Until then, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
Other posts in the PROTECTING YOUR MARRIAGE WITH THE ARMOR OF GOD series:
Part 2–The Belt of Truth
Part 3–The Breastplate of Righteousness
Part 4–The Shoes of God’s Peace
Part 5–The Shield of Faith
Part 6–The Helmet of Salvation
Part 7–The Sword of the Spirit
Part 8–The Power of Prayer
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.