Posted under The Rectory Bulletin
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Ephesians 6:10
This verse stands at the beginning of the well known passage about the ‘amour of God’, and it operates as a summary of all that Paul goes on to say in that illustration. All that business about shields, swords and helmets is summed up here.
The important thing to notice is where the strength comes from. This is not a verse all about self improvement, or sheer moral courage. It’s a verse about reliance upon God. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might”. The question being posed is “from where is your strength coming?”
So much of the Christian life is learning to rely upon ourselves less and on God more. It is counter intuitive, but herein lies the key. Think of the Lord’s Prayer; it is thy will be done, not my will be done. When God is the source of our strength and our joy, then we have a deep well indeed, filled with the sweetest water. Any other source quickly dries up.
William Gurnall (1616-1679) was the vicar of Lavenham in Suffolk, and nothing much is known about his life. His fame lies in his pen, and in particular his six hundred page book The Christian in Complete Armour which is a collection of sermons on this section of Ephesians. On this very verse, he makes the following comment:
The strength of the general in other hosts lies in his troops; he flies, as a great commander once said to his soldiers, upon their wings; if their feathers be clipped, their power broken, he is lost. But in the army of saints, the strength of every saint, yea, of the whole host of saints, lies in the Lord of hosts. God can overcome his enemies without their hands, but they cannot so much as defend themselves without his arm.