The loud banging on the door woke him up. “Pastor Frank*, you have to come with us, Rima* is demon-possessed!”
He opened the door and saw a wall of concerned faces urging him to follow them, so he went. From a distance, he could hear a crowd repeatedly shouting, “In the name of Jesus! In the name of Jesus!”
When he reached the gathering, Pastor Frank motioned for the people to stop shouting and said, “What exactly are you asking for in the name of Jesus?” He then knelt next to Rima and prayed softly.
Pastor Frank was my seminary professor who had lived in Indonesia as a missionary. He shared about this encounter in one of our classes on spiritual warfare to illustrate an important truth: every Christian shall stand a victor against the enemy’s darts—not because of our strength or might, nor the fervency or loudness of our prayers, but rather by resting confidently in our identity as children of God (v. 10).
Though what he shared might not be a common experience for most Christians, we do live in a world where we’re constantly in battle with spiritual forces and will continue to face temptations of various kinds.
We see this in the subtle areas of our lives, such as in our negative thoughts of self-condemnation, our sense of self-glorification, or even the smallest seed of doubt. Just think about how the slightest distortion of God’s truth—“Did God really say …?” (Genesis 3:1) was all it took for the serpent to deceive Eve.
In Ephesians 6:10-24, Paul closes his letter by warning the church of the powers they’re warring against—the unseen forces of evil at work in the world (vv. 11-12). Paul uses warfare as the metaphor to highlight the urgency of our situation and our need for vigilance, exhorting us to put on “the whole armour” (v. 11, 13): “The belt of truth,” “breastplate of righteousness,” shoes [of] “readiness from the gospel of peace,” “shield of faith,” “helmet of salvation,” “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (vv. 14-17).
By listing down the different parts of the armour, Paul reminds us that the battle we have been enlisted to is not merely a battle of the mind or the heart, but rather one that engages our whole selves. The call to put on the armour, then, is a call to bring every part of our being before God, that we may be fully equipped to “stand our ground” (v. 16) against the enemy.
How do we put on this armour? As our ultimate defence, Christ Himself clothes us with His righteousness (Romans 13:14), instructs us in His truth (Ephesians 4:21), and secures our salvation (Romans 1:16). We then go on the offence and fight off the father of lies (John 8:44) with the Word of truth.
And as Word and Spirit go hand in hand, while we wield our sword, we are called to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions” (v. 18), bringing “all kinds of prayer and requests” (v. 18) before Him, so that we may find mercy and grace in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Going back to the story I shared, “the name of Jesus” is not some magic incantation that manipulates God into answering our prayers. When we pray “in the name of Jesus”, we are acknowledging that it is by Jesus’s authority that we bring our requests before God, and that in Him we have everything we need to face the battles ahead, knowing that He has already secured the final victory for us.
*Names have been changed for the purpose of anonymity.
—Jessica Tanoesoedibjo, Indonesia
Questions for reflection
Father, thank you for giving me Your armour to protect me from evil, so that I can stand in faith until the very end. Help me to don the whole armour every day and fight with Your strength and Spirit, knowing that when I pray in Jesus’s name, my prayers are always heard and received.
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