By Elizabeth Prata
Our Sunday School class finished studying through Ephesians last Sunday. Ephesians 6 is the last chapter, and so rich with practical living.
We’re called to stand. After all the Ephesians chapters about doctrine (roughly chapters 1-3) and all the practical applications and commands (roughly chapters 4-6a), we come to Paul’s final thoughts. He wrote,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10).
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, (Ephesians 6:13-14a)
Four times within 4 verses he calls us to stand. Not chase the devil, not march against him, not blaming him on every failed desire disrupted event. Simply…stand.
The Christian life is one of battle. Paul often made military allusions in his verses. When he called for the Christian to “stand” he might have been thinking of the Roman Caligae.
Caligae (Latin; singular caliga) are heavy-soled hobnailed military sandal-boots known for being issued to Roman legionary soldiers and auxiliaries throughout the Roman Republic and Empire. Wikipedia
Worn by all ranks, no other shoes in history are as symbolic of the expansion of an empire as the famed Caligae. Rome Across Europe
The caligae are sandals and not a boot on purpose. It was a military footwear that laced up the ankle and calf, providing air to run through and preventing trenchfoot and blisters etc.
The soles were triple soles. The middle part had strong hobnails nailed into them and acted like cleats or crampons do.
When a soldier was fighting hand-to-hand they of course would not want to give ground. Firmly planting their caligae into the ground, no matter how bloody or muddy it became, they would not slide back.
It’s a powerful metaphor. “Stand”. Do we want to give ground to the enemy? No. Do we want to slide back? No. We are not wearing caligae today, but if the men who disciplined themselves, wore that armor and obeyed their commander, conquered a continent, we who are adorned with something much more powerful and effective can do so much more.
Imagine the terror of a population, hearing that hobnailed clatter on the cobblestones as a legion of 6000 hardened and disciplined soldiers marched into their city. How much more so that satan shudders when he hears disciplined and firmly standing soldiers of Christ proclaiming His word, marching on by standing firmly, unable to be moved or even pushed back.
We wear His armor, live and proclaim His Gospel, and possess His Spirit. We are God’s army, united in one cause, spread as a phalanx across the world. Wherever we are planted, stand. Housewife in Des Moines…stand. Pastor in Calgary…stand. Plumber in Portland…stand. Teacher in Kuala Lumpur…stand.
We stand against his schemes. We withstand all in the evil day. We stand firm.
Soldier on, ladies. By standing.