Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Message for worship at West Richmond Friends Meeting, 4th of Tenth Month, 2020
Speaker: Getry Agizah
Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. 12 For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13 So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16 At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18 Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people.
WORLD QUAKER DAY
With the suicide rate climbing in our communities of believers and non-believers, and the depression dues to various life stressors, not forgetting the natural calamities and diseases such as Covid19, there is need for education on spiritual resilience.
The dangers of ignoring the little stresses in life that can quickly snowball into a heightened state of distress which can lead to feelings of despair, hopelessness and depression. The communities recognize that one of the best tools there is to cope with trouble is faith. In order to be proactive they are provided with help learning how to build spiritual resiliency that will see them through even the challenges of their life challenges.
Faith is so crucial to our everyday functioning, yet faith can be fragile. Maybe you know someone who lost their faith after going through a long difficult stretch. Resilient faith is a quality of faith that’s able to see us through trouble, temptation and trials and even come through stronger.
Resiliency is the ability to cope with stress and adversity and bounce back to a previous state of normal functioning, or using the exposure to adversity to produce a “steeling effect” and function better than expected. Resilience is a process and not an individual trait that some have and others don’t.
For some people life feels like a battle field…and they’re constantly being engaged in conflict or fighting, at work, at school, or at home. For some folks, the war they fight is within themselves, battling addiction, battling criticism and negativity and fear. You’ve heard it said that some people are their own worst enemy.
Maybe you know someone who’s tired of the fight, tired of getting up every day to face the left over struggle from the day before, to try to appease an abusive spouse, to face the prejudice of hateful ignorance, to face a temptation that’s beat them before, to face the same fears that never go away, or face the failures and mistakes of the past.
You don’t have to look very far to see why we need faith that’s tough and strong. We can have faith that’s resilient and strong. God provided some help for us in this area. Listen to the encouragement of Ephesians 6:10-18.
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 the entire Lord’s people.
In Ephesians, Paul talks about how to have power for living and what right relationships look like for Christians. Now he illustrates how to have faith that’s fully equipped to protect us from any attack. He begins by telling us to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. We don’t have to rely on our own strength to deal with things; in fact, if we do, we’re vulnerable to disillusionment and doubt. Be strong means to be continually strengthened in the Lord and his mighty power.
But how exactly do you do that?
He says, 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.
There’s two things here to help us to take our stand; wearing the right armor and understanding where the struggle comes from.
We can’t fight what we don’t understand. You know we can spend a lot of time and energy struggling with and being mad at things that aren’t even the real issue. Maybe the thing we think is the problem isn’t really the true source of our problem.
Paul says, our struggle isn’t always against people, it’s against the powers of spiritual forces…He calls it the devils schemes. So what are those schemes and how do we fight them? Jesus said, that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (