Armor of God

                 Armor of God 

 (Ephesians 6:1-24) 

We see from the references made in this passage that St. Paul, as prisoner, is writing to the Ephesians to evangelize the Church. St. Paul writes, “And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” We see that especially at a young age, it is the parents’ responsibility to provide children with spiritual guidance and help children engage in spiritual practices with the best understanding of what they are witnessing. In St. John Chrysostom’s Homily, he comments on a common misconception that it is only the ‘business of monks’ to engage in the divine Scriptures, but rather it is the duty of every Orthodox Christian, both clergy and layperson, to uphold the study of the Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Church. He says,

“How is it not absurd to send children out to trades, and to school, and to do all you can for these objects, and yet, not to ‘bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord?’” (Chrysostom, Homily XXI, On Ephesians). 

Our fascination towards our monetary success stems from our tunneled vision on the short term and our lack of both trust and faith in God. St. Paul reminds us in this passage that we must bring up our children to apply themselves to the reading of the Scriptures and to constantly hold ourselves responsible primarily for the study of the Scripture and the doctrines of the Church. 

                  In Ephesians 6:11, St. Paul writes, “Put on the full armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil because for us the wrestling is not against blood and flesh but against the principalities, against the authorities, against the cosmic rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of evil on account of the heavenly things.” In our daily lives, we may find struggle in our spiritual warfare against the one who is skilled in the art of war, tempting, and deception. St. John Chrysostom says,

“He speaks not merely of doing the deed, but of completing it, so as not only to slay, but to stand also after we have slain. For even after the victory, we must stand.” (Chrysostom Homily XXII) 

Here we see that in this spiritual warfare, it takes vigilance and completely dependence on God to not only fight against the evil forces of this present day, but to shield ourselves from our daily adversary towards temptation. As the Great Lent comes to a conclusion, let us continue to be aware of our opposition surrounding us and let us be vigilant in our study of Scripture and faith.

Reflection questions:

1. How does temptation play a role in our daily lives? What are ways of actively putting on the ‘armor of God’?   

2. Why do we struggle in prioritizing our spiritual progress over our monetary success? How can the eternal kingdom and complete faith in God help us realign our priorities?