Ephesians 6:17; The sword of the Spirit – diligence in living right.
Wednesday June 22,2022
Title: Ephesians 6:17; The sword of the Spirit – diligence in living right.
We will not skillfully and easily wield the sword of the Spirit if we are not diligent in the pursuit of God’s person (truth, peace, unity, rest, righteousness, election, self-control).
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Submission to the will of God and the simple ways of Christ are what gives Christian life its meaning.
God has been teaching us lately that certain things that we are called to do are not ends in themselves, but part of the path that is leading us towards the end. We were shown that self-denial and suffering are not ends in themselves. Losing our life is done so that we will find our life. Suffering is allowed so that we will discover our complete dependence upon God. In the opening of James’ letter, writing to dispersed Jewish Christians who were suffering, “the testing of your faith produces endurance,” but even endurance is part of the pathway, “its perfect result, that you may be complete (sound in every part).” The result of endurance or patience is perfect work which in turn will make our sound in all areas of life – lacking nothing.
Each day, from the very start, tell yourself that you are going to make every effort to walk right along with God.
We must learn, apply, be aware, persevere, rejoice, endure, have faith, be virtuous, love, self-control – walk side by side with God along the path, the new and living way, designed by God to bring you to the Promised Land. The Promised Land for the church is the place where we are fully absorbed with God’s glory. The new and living way has been made by God for this very purpose, and the entrance to which has been opened by the blood of Christ. If you are a believer in Christ, you have already walked through that door. Have the courage now to run the race with endurance, lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin that so easily entangles you, and run in such as way as an athlete who means to win.
Paul saw that all men were more or less liable to the same temptation as the Exodus, and fifteen hundred years later, the Corinthians, and were apt to rest in the fact that they were Christians and to shrink from the arduous life which gives that name its meaning. It is arduous, which means that it requires strenuous effort, and is difficult and tiring at times. This is not because God has somehow purposefully made it hard for us. It requires us to make every effort because we are weak, easily distracted, easily tempted, surrounded by other weak people who test our strength and patience, and tend towards comfort and laziness no matter what the source. Think of the following sample of passages:
being diligent [spoudazo = make every effort] to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Be diligent [spoudazo] to present yourself approved to God
Let us therefore be diligent [spoudazo] to enter that rest
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent [spoudazo] to make certain about His calling and choosing you;
be diligent [spoudazo] to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
He follows this with, “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”
I press on [dioko – pursue] toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
I buffet my body and make it my slave.
There are so many more of the same theme.
It is very clear that effort is needed on our end, not allowing the flesh and its trends away from life eternal, to take control.
In one of Joshua’s last speeches to Israel, given just before he died, he told them that the Lord had driven our great and strong nations from the land and the one Israelite chases a thousand enemy, but that is because the Lord fights for you. So, was the message that they should kick back, be lazy, and let the Lord fight? Joshua then says to them:
Jos 23:11- 13
So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God. For if you ever go back … God will not continue to drive these nations out.
This word “diligent” (shamar) is used 468 times in the OT, almost always of the faithfulness of the believer.
O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
Living the Christian life, if we are going to live it and experience it, takes our complete effort, and it will be difficult and tiring at times. And be sure to understand, if you do not give your whole life over to God (not perfection, but submission), you will not effectively wear God’s armor nor skillfully wield God’s sword.
"Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.