The first time I went through this study, I had a really hard time understanding what it meant for God to be my banner. But six years and three times through this book, it’s finally beginning to click because I’m living it. I’ve been living it.
The battle is constant.
My way or God’s way. While it may be a one-time decision to follow Christ and become a believer, it is a daily, moment-by-moment battle to surrender to his Lordship and walk in the Spirit.
In Exodus 17 we read about a battle between two people groups, the Israelites and the Amalekites.
Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning… So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword… Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my banner. – Exodus 17:8-15
If the Amalekites represent the flesh, then there are a few basic conclusions we can draw:
- We must fight (vs 8)
- We need a mediator with his arms held up (vs 11)
- The flesh will lose by sword (vs 13)
Life experience as a believer will quickly reveal that a battle exists. The apostle Paul writes about this to the Romans.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 7:15-25
Jesus is our mediator, and there is victory because his arms were held up. Stretched out. And nailed to a cross. He died, and three days later revealed his living self to hundreds of people. He won. And in him, we win too.
I’ve been nose-deep in the book of Ephesians lately, meditating on the truth of who I am in Christ, and the truth of the battles that we face.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:12
We are no match for this on our own.
We need armor, and we need a weapon. Joshua defeated the Amalekites by sword, and the sword is the only weapon believers get. It’s the only weapon we need. We get the sword of the Spirit, “which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). The word of God is true. It is the ultimate truth, it is always true, and it forever will be true.
The battles may be tough, they may be frequent, and they may leave us feeling beat up at times. But no matter where we are at, our battles are not our identity. When we are in Christ, we are a new creation. We are his, we are robed, we are clean and we are loved.
Stay near to the One who calls you his own. Stay near to the One who makes you new and loves you just because you are his. Let him be always your banner.
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. – 1 Corinthians 6:11
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. – Isaiah 40:8
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. – 1 Corinthians 10:12-14
Read: Ephesians. The whole book. It’s only 6 chapters and packed.
Specifically, read Ephesians 1:1 – 2:10. What does God say about who you are if you are in Christ?
Read Ephesians 6:10-20. What does God say about the battle? About your armor? About your weapon? What does he say will be true of you when the battle is done?