PREVIOUSLY IN EPHESIANS: Yesterday chapter 5 began illustrating how it is we are to relate to each other, especially as families. It starts with the concept in v21: everyone must live in submission: wives to husbands, and husbands to Christ. Chapter 6 extends this discussion. Children must submit to their parents, and slaves to their master.
IT'S NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS: The way chapters 5 and 6 lay out these relationships is elegant and straightforward, and it all makes sense. Yet it's so hard to realize this order in everyday life because we are so prone to view submission in terms of hierarchy. In other words, when a wife submits to her husband, or a slave to his master, to us it seems like the husbands and masters are superior to the wives and slaves. This causes jealousy and a host of other related problems. Keep v9 in mind: God has no favoritism. While God has ordained an order to society, he sees all people, whether wives or husbands, slaves or masters, as standing equally in front of him.
WILL THE TRUE CHRISTIANS PLEASE STAND: Most people have been able to live a very passive Christian life. Most of the people we know are either professing Christians, or at least believe in God and Jesus even if they don't really know what that means. This reality is fast changing in our society however, and the time to passively sit around as Christians has past. Look how often the final part of chapter 6 refers to standing: take your stand against the devil's schemes (v11); stand your ground (literally antistanai = stand against) and then remain standing (v13); stand firm in the truth (v14).
GEAR UP: In order to remain standing, you will need protection from the attacks you will face, and that protection is appropriately referred to as the armor of God: Truth, righteousness, preparation/readiness, shielded by faith and salvation and protected by the sword that is God's Word. AND PRAY... ALL THE TIME: You are not told to just pray before meals, as you lay down to sleep, or go to church, you are commanded to pray 'on all occasions with all kinds of requests' (v18). Remember, you don't need to pray long prayers, you just need to pray all the time. Another way to remember that is that you don't need to pray very much, you just need to pray all the time. Short prayers, all day long - both consciously and unconsciously. Learning the Triple-A Prayer Pattern (AAA prayer) will be helpful:
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The God of angel armies who gives you His armor to stand against the devil's schemes (v11)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to strengthen you to do His will from your heart (v6)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: