Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6:10-18
One of the best ways to overcome your enemies is to make them your friends.
I made a friend like this back in college. When we were taking an English Literature class together, it seemed like we were always at odds. I was always defending King Arthur as the hero of the books, and she was always defending Queen Guinevere. In class, it seemed like we’d never agree on anything.
But one day we both showed up for tryouts at a college musical. We realized we had more in common than we thought, and both of us softened up in our approach. That softening had such an effect on our friendship, that a few years after college was over, she even agreed to sing at my wedding.
There are times when God calls you to overcome your enemies by destroying them so completely that they no longer have an effect on your life. But there are other times when God calls you to overcome your enemies by winning them over with your love, realizing that the battle may not be against them, but against spiritual forces that may be turning them against you.
The Apostle Paul talks about these battles in his letter to the Ephesians, and the kinds of weapons that God gave them to fight these battles. You might call these “weapons of grace,” weapons that can turn your enemies into your friends!
Listen to these words as Paul describes this spiritual “armor of God.”
“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. 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
The next time someone comes against you, speaks against you, or tries to overpower you, go ahead and put on your battle gear. But instead of gearing up with all your usual defenses, try some of God’s. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul:
Be truthful. Be righteous. Be eager to share the gospel of peace. Keep up your faith. Keep in mind that Jesus has already saved you. Speak the truth in love. And keep on praying, continually.
These are God’s weapons of grace, weapons that you can use to defend yourselves, and disarm your opponents, oftentimes with a greater impact than physical weapons could have.
It was through Jesus’ love and grace that He turned you from being His enemy to being His friend (see Romans 5:10 and John 15:15). So it shouldn’t be surprising that God wants you to use these same weapons to overcome your enemies, making them your friends as well. It may not happen overnight, but over time you may just find their hearts softening towards you, as the real enemy, the power of darkness, has to flee when the light turns on.
Remember that your battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces in the heavenly realm. In a spiritual battle, you need spiritual armor, which is much softer and more gracious than physical armor, but in the end, is much stronger and more powerful.
Put on your spiritual armor today. Clothe yourself with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, God’s Word and prayer. Let God’s love flow through you to those around you and watch what happens.
Prayer: Father, thank You for reminding me that the battles I face aren’t always against an enemy I can see, but against spiritual forces in the heavenly realm. Help me to put on my spiritual armor of love and grace today so that I can overcome those who are against me―and even make them my friends. In Jesus’ name, Amen.