In Ephesians 6:12, Paul describes the Christian life as a struggle, saying, “we . . . wrestle.” Notice, he uses the plural.
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?