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Armour of God

[Eph. 6:10–17; Matt. 4:1–11] The Apos­tle clothes Chris­tians in the whole armour of God. It is ap­ pro­pri­ate that this fol­lows the pre­ vious les­son. For, if some­one, heed­ ing the call of God, has tak­en on the begin­ning of a new life through God’s grace, pro­vid­ing for his own part all dili­gence (II Pet. 1:5), then he must not expect to rest on his lau­ rels, but rather to strug­gle. He has left the world — for that the world will begin to press him. He was saved from the pow­er of the dev­il —the dev­il will chase after him and set snares before him, to throw him off the path of good and drag him back to his domain. He has denied him­self, denied self­ish­ness togeth­er with a whole horde of pas­sions. But this sin liv­ing in us will not sudden­ ly relin­quish its free and untram­ melled exis­tence as we live in self-plea­sure, and every minute it will attempt under var­i­ous pre­texts to estab­lish once more the same life rou­tine that so rich­ly filled and fed it ear­li­er. These are three ene­mies, each with innu­mer­able hordes; but the com­man­der-in-chief is the dev­il, whilst his clos­est helpers are the de­ mons. They run the show in a sin­ful life — the oppo­nents of a spir­i­tu­al life. That is why the Apos­tle arms the Chris­t­ian against them as if there were no oth­er ene­mies at all. He says: we wres­tle not against flesh and blood, but against prin­ci­pal­i­ties, against pow­ers, against the rulers of the dark­ness of this world, against spir­i­tu­al wicked­ness in high places (Eph. 6:12). If they did not exist, per­ haps bat­tles would not exist either. Like­wise, as soon as they are re­ pelled and struck down, it takes noth­ing to repel and defeat the oth­ ers. So each of you look to see where you need to direct your arrows, or at least look to see from which side you par­tic­u­lar­ly need to defend your­self. Then, defend your­self! The Apos­tle pre­scribed sev­er­al weap­ ons; but all of them have pow­er only through the Lord. That is why expe­ rienced spir­i­tu­al fight­ers have pass­ ed on to us this instruc­tion: “Strike the ene­my with the name of the Lord Jesus!”

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse