Ephesians 1:18-20—“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”
Ephesians 2:4-9—“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Hope is here, but so is everything else. Hebrews 11:2 says that through their faith—their confidence and steadfastness—those who came before us earned a good reputation, in spite of what was happening around them. God freed the Israelites from oppression and depression, but the only two of them who actually trusted God to fulfill His promises were Caleb and Joshua. Oppression and depression have no place in the life of a believer; but they dominate the lives of so many of us, just as they did the Israelites.
We often believe in the work of Christ on the cross, but not in God’s plan and calling for our lives. But understand the power that is available to us! Hope begins when we trust God for His incredible provision. Our God put skin on so that oppression and depression would no longer be in session in our lives. We shouldn’t live in bondage to the Enemy when we have a God like ours to depend on.
God gives us this gift of salvation because of who He is, not who we are. Many people reject the gift because they want to prove that they can earn it themselves. But Ephesians says that God gives it to us not as a reward or payment for anything that we have done but as a gift so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 4:17-23—“With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 1Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”
God is a strategist above all strategists. He has a great cosmic plan that is in motion right now. If we can get our heads around God’s plan for us in Christ, we will look at challenges through a new lens.
We are in a war zone. Satan was cast out of heaven, with one third of the angels of heaven following him. The Bible calls him the prince of the Earth—our planet is his dominion. But notice that it does not call him the king of the Earth! Ephesians 6:11-12 says, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
What does it look like to get dressed daily in the armor of God? Ephesians 6:10-17 lays it out for us. The belt of truth holds our armor together. The body armor of God’s righteousness covers our hearts. The shoes of peace give us our foundation in the Good News. The shield of faith stops the arrows the Enemy will throw at us. The helmet of salvation protects our minds, and the sword of the Spirit, the only weapon in our armor, is the Word of God, without which we wouldn’t know when to fight.
We find Every piece of our armor in the person of Jesus Christ. God provides us with all we need to fight the spiritual battles that are going on all around us. If we place our hope in Him, we will be prepared. God has provision, protection, and a plan for us to take ground on the battlefield of life. Our world is full of hopelessness, but we can live hope-filled lives when we trust and hope in Christ.
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