30TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Stand firm against the tactics of the Devil.
Have you ever heard the old adage “The best defense is a good offense”? Well, in today’s first reading, Paul seems to flip that idea on its head. He describes a struggle not against other people but against the lies and temptations of the devil. And for Paul, the best way to triumph over Satan is not by launching an offensive but by putting on the “armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). In other words, the best spiritual offense is a good spiritual defense.
But putting on God’s armor is not as easy as putting on a piece of clothing. It happens over time as we become “girded in truth” (Ephesians 6:14). That means immersing ourselves in those truths and asking the Holy Spirit to bring them to life for us. As we do, we become better able to “stand firm” against the devil’s tactics (6:11).
For example, if you meditate on the truth of God’s love for you, you’ll be less likely to fall prey to the evil one’s efforts to convince you that the Lord doesn’t care about what’s going on in your life. If you know for certain that Jesus died to save you, you won’t be tempted to believe that his forgiveness is for other people but not for you. Such gospel truths are the armor that keeps the enemy’s lies at bay.
So where do you encounter these truths? First and foremost in the Scriptures! That’s why St. Paul calls the word of God “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). The more you meditate on God’s word, the more his truths become embedded in your heart and mind. Studying and praying with Scripture will also strengthen your faith, which Paul calls a “shield” that can “quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One” (6:16).
Today, choose a verse from today’s Gospel reading or another Scripture passage that speaks to you. Then ask the Lord to help you understand it in a deeper way. You might even want to memorize it so that you have it readily available whenever you are tempted to listen to Satan’s lies. As you make it part of your spiritual “armor,” your best offense will become a good defense!
“Jesus, help me to put on your armor so that I can stand firm.”
Psalm 144:1-2, 9-10