Admiral Jim Stockdale was one of the highest ranking officers held as a POW in Vietnam. For seven years he was a prisoner, tortured and beaten, before it was all over his back would be broken and his legs shattered by his captors. Eventually rescued he would never walk the same again. Asked how he survived such a brutal captivity, he shared that when he was being taken away to be tortured, his fellow soldiers would tap in Morse code, "God bless you Jim Stockdale", over and over again, and he then found the strength to endure the beatings. He shared something else profound upon his release that pulled him through this terrible ordeal, "I never lost faith in the end of the story." He knew someday he would be rescued.
It is a beautiful picture of faith, knowing that no matter how bad things get, never lose site of the end of the story, a story we are told is already finished and in Christ there is already victory. The devil just wants people to forget, or never learn this truth. For this reason Paul writes to the church in Ephesus about defeating the already dethroned diabolical one. Ephesus was a very important city. Indeed, history tells us not only did Paul at one point call Ephesus his home, but so did Timothy, John, and Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Paul writes to the Ephesians, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes" (Ephesians 6: 1-2). As Rick Renner states, the word "finally" stands for, "In conclusion, I have saved the most important issue of this epistle until the end. That way if you remember nothing else of what I have said, you will remember this. want this to stand out in your mind. " What follows is Paul sharing how to have victory over sin and the devil. The key is the armor of God.
This includes a helmet to protect your thoughts, a breastplate to guard your heart, a belt that holds everything together by the truth, shoes that represent the peace of the Gospel, a shield that declares faith is stronger than Satan, and a sword that is a metaphor for declaring and praying the words of scripture. These are such important points Paul saves them for last. But he did just come up with these ideas, he wrote this letter while chained to a Roman soldier who was wearing this very armor. He drew his spiritual lessons from looking at the greatest soldier of his day. Paul knew a major key to survival in war was the proper gear, and he made reference to each of these articles the soldier was wearing when regarding the very real spiritual war believers are engaged in. Use it wisely, and never forget the end of the story.