By Alex Florez
You will find Ephesians 6:10–20 repeated first in your reading each day as a reminder of the full context of the passage, and remaining passages will show how each day’s theme is present throughout the rest of Scripture. A short introduction that summarizes the day’s reading begins every devotional response.
God is the supplier of our strength and He equips us with His armor. We are called to depend on Him rather than ourselves or any other power.
The first lessons I remember on how to be a man came from the movies. Rocky Balboa taught me that no matter how bloody a beating you receive from the bad guy, you can always work out really hard and eventually slay the giant that once seemed unconquerable. Daniel LaRusso showed me that no matter how puny and unskilled you are, if you train hard enough and never stop believing in yourself, you will eventually land a trophy along with the affection of a lady by delivering a swift kick to your enemy’s face. I’m actually on board with both of these lessons in so far as they emphasize perseverance, determination, and grit. In light of the gospel, however, these lessons fall apart in their unwavering insistence, above all else, on self-reliance and inner fortitude.
The Bible teaches us that our real enemies are spiritual in nature, so even ten thousand one-armed push-ups or a million crane kicks will not prepare me for the most important battles I will face as a man.
I understand now that I must completely reorient my perspective on manhood. The Bible, in no uncertain terms, defines strength—and manhood itself—as something that derives from one source and one source only. Our strength comes from the Lord.
The only strength that matters, the only kind that has no limit and no equal, is the strength that comes from God Himself. As the absolute standard of strength, it is the Lord alone who can claim authority and power over our lives as men. “See, the Lord GOD comes with strength, and his power establishes his rule” (Isaiah 40:10). To understand the heart of strength, we must go to the source.
Miraculously, the Lord delights to share His strength with us for the purpose of doing His will; He knows the enemies we face and wishes to equip us with His power so that we will be able to stand and do battle with the spiritual forces of evil that seek to disrupt and, if possible, dismantle the unity of God’s kingdom on earth.
When Scripture calls us to be strong and courageous, it is because “the LORD is the one who will go before” us (Deuteronomy 31:8). We sing thankful praise to God because He is our strength, our shield, and our stronghold (Psalm 28:7–8). It is neither self-improvement plans nor trusting our inner strength that emboldens or empowers us; it is the Lord who “gives power and strength to his people” (Psalm 68:35).
The enemies that Paul warns us about in Ephesians 6 come armed with weapons that pierce our faith, ensnare us in sin that leads to spiritual ruin, and drive an intractable wedge between our hearts and the very source of our being. To be men—to be real men—we must renounce all that we learned about manhood from this world and lean wholeheartedly instead on the mighty arm of the Lord.