Sunday: The Need for Arming Personally
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In Ephesians 6:12, Paul describes the Christian life as a struggle, saying, “we . . . wrestle.” Notice, he uses the plural.

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

The passage reads, literally, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (NKJV). Every Christian is brought into the picture. In verse 13 he urges his readers to put on the whole armor of God. It is with God’s armor that we are to equip ourselves, and it has been made available for our use. Paul begins the verse with the word “wherefore/therefore,” implying that, in view of the nature of the conflict, such arming is necessary. Paul, then, describes the way in which the Christian ought to be armed and does so using the imagery of how a Roman soldier would have been armed for battle.

Consider the imagery of Ephesians 6:14-17 carefully. What in the picture impresses you with the fact that here is a struggle that not only involves every Christian but calls, fundamentally, for personal engagement? What does that mean to you that you, yourself, have a fight in which to engage?

The word translated as “wrestling” originally referred to hand-to-hand combat but was later applied to other types of fighting. As used here, although a real hand-to-hand contest with demons may not be in view, the word clearly points to an individualizing of the struggle.

The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, though in a different context than what’s being considered here, nevertheless speaks to the issue of personal engagement in spiritual matters. Ellen White applies the spiritual conditions of the five virgins to Paul’s description of a class of end-time people who have a form of godliness but lack its power (2 Tim. 3:1-5). “This is the class that in time of peril are found crying, Peace and safety. They lull their hearts into security, and dream not of danger. When startled from their lethargy, they discern their destitution, and entreat others to supply their lack; but in spiritual things no man can make up another’s deficiency.” – Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 411, 412.

What are some things that only you, yourself, can do for yourself – things that no one else can? (For instance, no one can eat for you, can they?) How do you then apply that same principle to the arming of self for the spiritual conflict in which we are each individually engaged?

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Sunday: The Need for Arming Personally — 26 Comments

  1. No one fights for me in the struggles I have in my life. I often find it tricky. There are things I fight in my mind, when I bring it out to a person who is next to me. He or she says hey come on! "This is easy you can get over it easily" says your good friend. Yet hard and heavy for me to overcome in that case. Just to look strong on behalf of my friend I might admit for a moment saying yeah I think I agree with you for now. Now I see that arming myself with God's word will ease my suffering. Specially, I like the part that says no one can eat for me.

    Thank you for uploading such wonderful lessons. I am regularly reading from this page and this is my 7th month. May the Lord God bless you for your good ministry.

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    • I could also relate to the fact that "no one can eat for me" too. As a parent there are many things that I wish I could give/do for my adult children. Sometimes I even wish that I could give them something of the joy, guidance and peace I experience because of my relationship with the Lord. However, in this realm, sharing has its limits. That's where my prayers have to take over. God hears my intercession and "takes it from there." Then my prayerful requests are sure to be handled in the best possible way.

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  2. While it is true there are things no one can do for us and our decisions, for or against Christ, are made as an individual, there are responsibilities I have as a follower to influence others to the kingdom of God. In fact, my salvation is not about how good I can get, but rather how much my life can be used by our great Creator to influence others to want the joy and peace of salvation. Remember that our feet are to be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. There is good news in having peace. If we have it in Christ, the individuals we meet may want to know about Jesus. You don't have to be a theologian or a Bible worker to share your experience with Christ. It is our testimony that overcomes the devil.

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    • Hello,
      I like the point that you made about our influence in the feeding illustration. I think that the influence represents the fact that people can prepare the food or even place it in front you and tell you about the nutritional benefits of consuming such food, but, ultimately, the choice remains the individual's to eat the food or not.
      God bless

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  3. It is true that people can't eat for us but, isn't it good to know people can pray for us? Sometimes life's burdens weigh us down so low, like the five foolish virgins we meet life totally unprepared. If it weren't for those who are armed for the spiritual battle praying for me and guiding me to put my war gear on as well, I don't think I could have made it thus far. Thank God for those who have shared how they prepared themselves for this war that is raging all around us showing me I can prepare too. It's one thing to read how to prepare like a soldier prepares for battle, but oh so different when hes actually fought a war.

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  4. We see all around us, the results of sin upon God's creation. We also see the goodness that is of God through His creation as well, and those that are "individualizing the struggle" are utilizing the armor that God has provided and thus the Victory through Christ is declared. It is personal, and no one can stand before you, no one can give the testimony that only YOU can give, as the Witness stands before the Father in heaven, we stand before the Witness clothed in His righteousness through the Victory by the armor that is provided.

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  5. I concur with everyone else that everyone should bear their own burden and each would be rewarded according to their labour (how they fought). However there is another injunction that I believe we must never neglect. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). The law of Christ is the law of love (1 John 4:21). Therefore we must help restore others to the faith- those who are wounded by the foe- so that together, though individually, we may receive a good reward. We receive individual rewards but we all become one fold, one army united in Christ Jesus as the commander and sole combatant.

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    • Jauyo Greetings in the Name of Lord Jesus! If you see my question below you may be in the position to help me. Why are we fighting a battle which is not ours? Why do we have to be wounded? Are we soldiers of Christ who are fighting on His behalf? If yes, why Jesus cannot fight for Himself since he saved us and conquered Satan? I need a help to understand this.

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  6. Amen to this wonderful lesson. I am a bit torn here, part of me feels that whilst we should bear one another's burdens and intercede for our brethren, a greater part feels that at the end of the day its up to a person to choose which path they shall follow. God gives everyone the power to choose. It is true that personally one must arm themselves for the battle because at the end of the day you engage in it personally. Yes people's prayers will cover you and help you a long way but ultimately if you don't engage yourself, you will be overcome by the wiles and snares of Satan.

    But that doesn't then mean we must not pray for others. We must continue to do so even more. Everyone does their part and you do you own part. For example, I prepare food for my toddler and force her to eat, I might get two or three spoons in her mouth but just three spoons won't be enough to sustain her throughout the day till the next meal. In the same way prayers from others will refresh us but won't be enough to sustain us. God bless you all.

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    • Greetings Charline! Compare Galatians 6:2 and vs 5. I believe this is the kind of issue Jesus would settle by saying "these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone" (Matthew 23:23). In fact one of the weightier or important matters, as Jesus puts it, is mercy- the feeling that motivates compassion. And compassion, as we learned in the last quarter, is the deep awareness of other's suffering and wanting to do something about it. Although elsewhere He says that "if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me," (compare Phillipians 2:12), we who already know the Truth have a duty of making others aware of their "crosses" and besides making them know that they are meant to be "taken up", we must show them how to do it. We can infer this from the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20). If I were given the Roman soldier's armory today, I am sure I'll need some help putting it on.

      Jude, the brother of Jesus and James, says that as we keep ourselves in God's love. we ought to "be merciful to those who doubt and to snatch others from the fire and save them." (Jude 1:22-23) John shares the same thought (1 John 5:16) that through our prayers God will give life to others.

      Skimming Ezekiel 3:17-19, you realize that God provides to His redeemed the privilege of being the watchmen over world that still lies in darkness. Getting involved actively in service gives us the privilege of partnership with God (1 Cor. 3:9). This comes with responsibility and accountability. And Ezekiel 3:18 stresses our accountability. No one is exempt from this requirement. However God is very fair. In verse 19 He says that having discharged my responsibility faithfully, the words "but thou has delivered thy soul" will be applied to me when asked to give an account (Hebrews 13:17). All in all, each and every player must put on their own armory; though we share a similar helmet (Acts 4:12), we must put it on our own heads.

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  7. I have a problem in the whole lesson from the beginning. I understand that the battle in question is between good and evil (Christ & Satan). Why are we involved? Why should do I need to protect myself while it is not my battle? I have been asking my SS class each Sabbath, but no one has really given me a proper answer. Can someone try to explain to me once again.

    Thanks friends

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    • Dinah, your question is a good one. Like it or not, we live in the middle of a battlefield and in war there is always collateral damage. More than that, one side is usually inclined to use whatever they can to further their cause. For instance often, a group, in an attempt to overthrow a government will more than likely force civilians to be on their side even though the people choose to remain neutral or on the opposing side in some way. They may not be in the army but they are affected anyway and have to protect themselves and their families.

      In the war between Christ and Satan there is no such thing as a neutral side. We are either on Christ's side or we place ourselves on the side of Satan (Mat 12:30). That puts us in the battle, not directly in the army per se but actively on a side in a support role. We are in it whether we realize it or not. Even though Israel was not doing the battle as such they still had things to do - they still armed themselves and took reasonable precautions.

      A good example is when Israel went back to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity under God's direction. One would think that God would protect them in their efforts to rebuild the temple but we see in the Bible that they had continual problems and were often under threat from groups around them. Because of that they took measures to ensure their own protection while they were working under the command of God and in prayer to Him for their protection (see Nehemiah 4).

      Our position is not one of sit back and do nothing but to put on the whole armor of God because when we choose to be on God's side we will come under attack for "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Tim. 3:12 NKJV). In saying this Paul didn't say maybe or possibly but said "you will."

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    • My brother the conflict started with Christ and satan and consequently he was thrown out down to earth where you and I are living. Christ already conquered him when he died and resurrected. Now the devil wants us not to be saved that is why he fights with us so that we should not make it up to heaven. Now the battle is between us and the devil so we should not belong to Him. God has provided us with an armour we are learning about in this lesson.

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    • Hi Dinah!

      Why are we fighting a battle which is not ours? Why do we have to be wounded? Are we soldiers of Christ who are fighting on His behalf? If yes, why Jesus cannot fight for Himself since he saved us and conquered Satan? I agree with Brother Cluthe, we are in the battlefield.

      I believe the answer keys to your questions are all in Genesis 3:15.

      Simply put'
      (1) the battle is between Christ and Satan but all humanity is now involved because the world has been the arena ever since Satan was thrown out of heaven. Th battle is Christ"s and by inference, His followers.The Revelation 12:17 of Jesus says Satan is now waging war with the remnant- us.
      (2) we don't need to be wounded because Christ was wounded for us. Among Satan's fiery darts are discouragement, doubt, fear, temptation, guilt, despair, sorrow, grief, oppression. All these Christ bore for us (Isaiah 53:4-10). Still we have to remember that these are not stray bullets, Satan's aims at us (Rev. 12:17) William Burkitt says that the strength of Satan's temptations "lies in our treachery and falseness; we are false within ourselves, otherwise all his power and malice could not hurt us." Yes, when we betray our allegiance to God we will be hurt. Christ becomes our shield when we have faith in Him.
      (3) Yes we are soldiers of the cross in God's army, but Christ leads the army and fights on our behalf. 5/6 of the armory is defensive. Ours is to put on the armor, stand bravely, lift up the royal banner and sing the victory song. Looking at our display of bravery, Satan will flee. Only must we remember that the devil does not fear empty threats, we must mean what we say and do.
      (4) Christ came to assist His people- us. He had already won a battle in heaven (Rev. 12:7,9) Our only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit which is Word of God- Jesus Christ (John 1:1:). Quoting the study on Tuesday 2nd October: Seeing our frailty,"God's weapon of choice was Jesus, who would come to fight on behalf of the woman, suffer 'bruises', but ultimately deliver a deadly blow to the serpent... it was an act of selfless love." Lastly, all our defensive armor comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are guarded from a deadly blow to the head by salvation that gives us eternal life. This salvation is by grace (God's gift) through faith. Actually not even our faith, but the faith of Jesus (Rev. 14:12)

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    • Dinah, I wonder if your question really is: which battle are we talking about here? Thank God that the battle between Christ & Satan is not ours.... we could never win it. It would seem to me from the types of armour referred to (faith, peace, salvation, truth etc) and also from the reality of my own experience, that the battle here is one of SELF.

      And this battle we will always have to struggle with (at least for me)- our need to let God have control of our lives and daily decisions.

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      • Anne, I think you have a valid point but I also think we also have a battle with temptation that comes from the outside. For various reasons the devil constantly tries to put us in hard places and make life as difficult as possible so that we might fail in our walk with God. To me that is why we need a close relationship with Christ and by faith to put on the armor that God provides.

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    • Dinah,

      You asked

      Why are we fighting a battle which is not ours? Why do we have to be wounded? Are we soldiers of Christ who are fighting on His

      behalf? If yes, why Jesus cannot fight for Himself since he saved us and conquered Satan?

      Others have given good answers, and I'll just suggest some other ways of looking at the subject ...

      It is, indeed, true that Christ has overcome the power of Satan in this world. Satan is a defeated foe. Christ has won the victory in our behalf. He has also won the battle on a cosmic scale.

      Now the battle is in our hearts and minds. Whose side will we join? Will we be part of Christ's Kingdom, or will we be part of Satan's kingdom?
      We must actively choose to follow Christ.

      Our greatest battle is against self - the self that wants to stand up and say, "I want to do it my way." Satan and his minions tempt us to do it "my way," rather than submitting to Christ and doing things His way.

      This battle is ours, and Christ cannot fight it for us, because He does not take our freedom of choice from us. It is a battle against our own self-will: Satan calls us to follow him, and he disguises his call by letting us think that we are in control and are doing it our own way. The result of following Satan, thinking we are following our own will is eternal death. Christ calls us to follow Him, and His promise of eternal life is real. In obeying Him we experience the highest sense of freedom, while following Satan only enslaves us.

      Christ has won the victory, and we can partake of His victory by choosing to surrender to Christ, choosing to obey Him, choosing to do it His way.

      Choosing is all we can really do. The battle for us is to choose Christ's way over Satan's way. But that choosing brings the power of Christ into our lives. As we choose to do it His way, He empowers us to live the life of faith.

      The battle against spiritual powers is a matter of not following the voices of Satan and his minions to do it our way. The temptations are seductive, and we need all the armor referenced in this lesson in order to win against these temptations. It is very much our battle in that no one can make the decision for us. We each need to make the decision for ourselves.

      If you will recognize that the battle is for our mind and loyalty, you can see that we are very much in the battle, and we need all the "armor" in this lesson so that we may not give in to the Satan's temptations but choose to serve Jesus instead. When we surrender our will to His, the power of heaven is at our command. No one can take us out of His hand. (See Romans 8:31-39)

      Saying that we are "soldiers for Christ" is a comparison that cannot be compared exactly to a physical army. But in one sense it is true: Christ has given His church the commission to preach the gospel to all the world. His battle plan is to spread His gospel of love. The sharing of the Good News about Christ is engaging in Christ's "battle." We can only do that when we are totally surrendered to Him.

      As long as we are surrendered to Him, there are no casualties, for no one can take us out of His hands. (John 10:29) We can be "wounded" only in the sense that Satan can bring distress and sorrow into our physical lives. However, in the bigger scheme of things, "we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8:37)

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  8. let us fight a good fight that we will be proud of when we look back. God bless you all & never weary to study upon thy Scriptures.

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  9. I Will link it to a person who is sick, you need not to drink medicine for, but you have to drink it yourself else you will die. that is how our spiritual battle is, we need to fight it our self with the use of prayers the word of God and fasting.

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  10. The need for 'arming ourselves personally' in my opinion is simple as this; we should be praying daily that the Lord gives us a desire to be willing to help and love our brethren, just as we would want help and love ourselves. If we do, then pray for more desires to love our brethren even more, just like God loves us. I think one of the biggest down falls for a typical Adventist is that they truly do not love their brethren as themselves. Many in my opinion, excuse themselves from truly loving their brethren as themselves because it is an undesirable duty (at least with those whom they don't like). And it seems as if they think that God will accept a simple prayer instead of true love for that brethren. Some are essentially saying by their actions, "We do not have to truly love them -if it is difficult, we can just pray for them". It seems to be the theme song for many unwitting Adventist today or are they?

    Are they perhaps playing the role of Judas? Betraying Christ with a kiss on the cheek. Many can smile and say "Happy Sabbath" at church and maybe even give ya a pat on the back, while the underlying saying by their actions are; don't get too close to me unless you are part of my clique.

    All the while knowing that Jesus says, "This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Mat 22:38-39)
    Many Adventist seem to have fallen into a trap, from what I can see. And seem to think that getting 'personal' with those whom they don't care for is a job they can dismiss if they choose too. Is that what the Bible says?

    I was taught the very ones whom you see as offensive or hard to get along with, are the VERY ones to invite to your house for dinner. In time you will see, by being kind and personal with them, that they are actually very nice folks. We have something to learn from everyone, and if we think we don't .....does that not show the content of the heart?

    To me this 'personal' aspect of this quarterlies Bible study should be more emphasized on "loving our brethren as ourselves"......this needs to be the theme of our song next to Jesus being the apple of our eyes.
    God bless.

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    • Thank you, Sandy, for this valuable reminder:

      I was taught the very ones whom you see as offensive or hard to get along with, are the VERY ones to invite to your house for dinner. In time you will see, by being kind and personal with them, that they are actually very nice folks. We have something to learn from everyone, and if we think we don’t …..does that not show the content of the heart?

      It is a good teaching for all of us. :)

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      • I agree but like all things it has its limits. I have found that occasionally there are people who are so abrasive that it is best to leave them alone unless you wish to initiate a war.

        For instance, there was one SDA person that in some respects was a very good Christian, HOWEVER, you had to be very careful what you said around him and after a while I found myself in a position where I basically had to keep quiet and when he asked me a question I would cringe because anything I said was to him an invitation to battle. Truly, it was like walking on egg shells. There have also been other people outside of the church that I had to do business with that I found better to be as brief as possible with then get out of sight in order to keep peace.

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  11. Greetings Dinah. It is true that the fight was won on the cross on our behalf. However we need to always remember that God gives us freedom to choose either the right or the wrong. It is from this view where we are needed to struggle and fight all the manners of Satan that are trying to pull us away from the righteousness of Christ. It is upon us to first choose through spiritual and physical will and let the Lord lead. God bless you.

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