“An army in battle would become confused and weakened unless all worked in concert. If the soldiers should act out their own impulsive ideas, without reference to each other’s positions and work, they would be a collection of independent atoms; they could not do the work of an organized body.
So the soldiers of Christ must act in harmony. They alone must not be cherished. If they do this, the Lord’s people in the place of being in perfect harmony, of one mind, one purpose, and consecrated to one grand object, will find efforts fruitless, their time and capabilities wasted. Union is strength. A few converted souls acting in harmony, acting for one grand purpose, under one head, will achieve victories at every encounter.” — Ellen G. White, Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 121.
What is the significance of Paul’s labeling himself “an ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:20, ESV)?
Ambassadors often played challenging roles during wartime, so Paul’s self-description fits the context of his military metaphor. Ambassadors were to be treated with the respect due the person or country that sent them. So there is stark contrast between Paul’s status as ambassador for the Supreme Ruler of the cosmos and the utter disrespect signaled by his chains (literally, “chain”). However, since ambassadors would wear a “chain of office,” Paul’s mention of a “chain” may be “spiced with irony,” in which he sees his chain as “a decoration to be worn with distinction.” — David J. Williams, Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999), p. 152.
In your corner of a world divided and at war, what does it mean for you and your congregation to “wage peace”? How can we be agents of peace in a world so increasingly characterized by aggression and violence?
What particular “fiery darts” are being hurled in your direction? How can you ensure that the “shield of faith” is in place to extinguish them?
We sometimes speak of “prayer warriors.” How might we conduct “prayer ministry” based on Ephesians 6:18-20?
How should we treat those who are wounded on the battlefield of the great controversy? How should we treat the Christian believer who, in the heat of the battle, flees out of fear or openly capitulates to the other side?