Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Ephesians 6:10

Too many of us object, perhaps unconsciously, to the rather evident fact that the maintenance of the devotional mood is indispensable to success in the Christian life.

And what is the devotional mood?

It is nothing else than constant awareness of God’s enfolding presence, the holding of inward conversations with Christ and private worship of God in spirit and in truth!

To establish our hearts in the devotional mood, we must abide in Christ, walk in the Spirit, pray without ceasing and meditate in the Word of God day and night. Of course, this implies separation from the world and obedience to the will of God, as we are able to understand it.

No matter how we may argue, true holiness and spiritual power are not qualities that can be once received and thereafter forgotten, as one might wind a clock or take a vitamin pill. Every advance in the spiritual life must be made against the determined resistance of the world, the flesh and the devil!

Dear Lord, thank You for watching over me and my loved ones last night. I look forward to spending time with You throughout the course of this day.[1]

The Preparation: Strength in the Lord

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. (6:10)

Basic to the effective Christian life is preparation. The unprepared believer becomes the defeated believer who seeks to serve the Lord in his own wisdom and power. The strength of the Christian life is dependence on God, being strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Any other strength proves to be impotent.

The cardinal reality presented in the book of Ephesians is that, as believers, we are in Christ and are one with Him. His life is our life, His power our power, His truth our truth, His way our way, and, as Paul goes on to say here, His strength is our strength.

The Lord’s strength is always more than sufficient for the battle. When Jesus told the church at Philadelphia, “I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name” (Rev. 3:8), He was affirming that even a little power was enough to preserve them, because it was the Lord’s supernatural power. Our own strength is never strong enough to oppose Satan, but when we are strong in the Lord, even a little of His strength is sufficient to win any battle. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” Paul said (Phil. 4:13). It is not the amount of the strength we have that is important—only its source.

In the ultimate sense, the church’s battles with Satan are already won. In his crucifixion and resurrection Jesus destroyed Satan and his power of sin and death (Rom. 5:18–21; 1 Cor. 15:56–57; Heb. 2:14). Trust in Jesus Christ initiates a person into that victory. To the extent that a Christian is strong in the Lord, his victory over the worst that Satan has to offer is guaranteed. We are in a war—a fierce and terrible war—but we have no reason to be afraid if we are on the Lord’s side. Appropriation of that strength comes through the means of grace—prayer, knowledge of and obedience to the Word, and faith in the promises of God.

After several years of ministry, Timothy became fearful and timid. He faced stronger temptations than he had expected and considerably more opposition. Paul wrote to him, “I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. … You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:6–8; 2:1).[2]

6:10 Paul is coming to the close of his Epistle. Addressing all the family of God, he makes a stirring appeal to them as soldiers of Christ. Every true child of God soon learns that the Christian life is a warfare. The hosts of Satan are committed to hinder and obstruct the work of Christ and to knock the individual soldier out of combat. The more effective a believer is for the Lord, the more he will experience the savage attacks of the enemy: the devil does not waste his ammunition on nominal Christians. In our own strength we are no match for the devil. So the first preparatory command is that we should be continually strengthened in the Lord and in the boundless resources of His might. God’s best soldiers are those who are conscious of their own weakness and ineffectiveness, and who rely solely on Him. “God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Cor. 1:27b). Our weakness commends itself to the power of His might.[3]

10 Paul introduces his final point with a customary “finally” (tou loipou; cf. Gal 6:17; Php 3:1; 1 Th 4:1). Returning to the language of power employed earlier in his prayers for his readers (1:19; 3:16, 20), Paul urges them to be strengthened continually (present, probably passive, imperative verbal form). The verb endynamoō (GK 1904; “strengthen”; NIV, “be strong”) is a favorite of Paul (six out of its seven uses in the NT are Paul’s) and one he often uses to describe God’s empowerment for his own ministry and for surviving hardship (Php 4:13; 1 Ti 1:12; 2 Ti 2:1; 4:17). In the same way, the church needs to appropriate God’s empowerment to fortify it for the spiritual ordeals it encounters. The call to “be strong” is natural in calling soldiers to battle (recall Jos 1:6–7, 9). To this appeal, Paul appends two prepositional phrases. First, they must be strengthened “in the Lord.” This comes as no surprise: only in union with Christ do the church and believers within it find the power to live the life to which God has called them. No human power alone can resist the devil’s designs. Second, and redundantly, they need to be strengthened “through the power of his [the Lord’s] strength” (en tō kratei tēs ischyos autou; NIV, “in his mighty power”). Paul first used the terms in this phrase in 1:19, where he told his readers of the “mighty strength” available to them in Christ. The capacity to fight spiritual battles lies in appropriating God’s strength. We are strong as we allow ourselves to be continually strengthened by God.[4]

[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (p. 337). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1951). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 162–163). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


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