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Archive for the ‘Armor of God’ Category

I have to confess to you all that this entire week of studying the armor of God has been for my own benefit. I hope that you’ve learned something and found strength in God’s power along the way but the honest truth is that I really needed it. Satan has been having a heyday with my emotions for the past several weeks and I didn’t recognize it until last Thursday. I just thought I was discouraged or hormonal or maybe a little crazy. But I have to tell you that as soon as I started resisting the devil, he actually did flee. I feel like I can see clearly again. God’s power is no joke. Hal-lay-loo-yuh.

 

Before we adjourn for the weekend I wanted to share one more thing that God showed me while I was digging around in Ephesians 6.

 

When our daughters were in preschool Sunday School the teachers would always greet us at the door when we picked them up. They would turn to our daughter and, while handing her all of her 4,271 activity pages from the morning, ask her a question that related to the story of the day. What we learned was that, no matter what the question, the answer was always Jesus. Every single time. “Who healed the sick man?” “Who died for our sins?” “Who loves the children?” Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

 

The exciting thing is that this is true for the armor of God as well. Jesus IS each of the pieces of armor. Check this out:

 

The Belt of Truth – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

 

The Breastplate of RighteousnessIt is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Cor. 1:30

 

Shoes for the Gospel of Peace Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel…2 Tim 2:8

 

Shield of FaithLet us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

 

Helmet of SalvationFor God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess 5:9

 

Sword of the SpiritIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1-2

If that don’t make you wanna stand up and shout, I don’t know what will.

I’m outy. Enjoy your weekend!

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Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:17,18

As I’ve been studying these verses in Ephesians, I have wondered why Paul associated certain virtues with certain parts of the armor. For instance, why is truth a belt? The only relationship I can think of between truth and a belt is “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” But I doubt Paul had ever heard that. And now today, why is salvation a helmet? I have read that a helmet was a symbol of victory in biblical times so possibly it is representing the greatest victory ever won: Jesus’ victory over death and sin. Or maybe because the helmet protects the most vital part of a person’s body, it represents the fact that salvation is our ultimate protection. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul clarifies it by saying “put on…the hope of salvation as a helmet.” In that sense, the hope that we have that our salvation is real acts as a helmet to protect our minds from the lies that Satan speaks to us. When we remember and believe that God promised that whoever believes in Jesus will not perish, but have eternal life, the devil’s attempts to make us feel worthless or unforgivable fall flat. The helmet of salvation can be used to deflect Satan’s reminders about our past sins and help us to stand firm in our belief that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough to cover it all.

No one used the sword of the Spirit better than Jesus himself. In Matthew 4, Jesus went into the desert to be tempted by Satan. The devil tempted him to switch his focus from seeking God’s kingdom to seeking the filling of His own belly, from trusting God’s perfect plan to testing God’s love, and from worshipping the one true God to settling for the riches of this world. To every temptation, Jesus responded with scripture alone. He knew and believed the Word and He used it simply and powerfully. I am encouraged and challenged by His example. I am encouraged in the sense that I can see that the resources I need in order to stand firm are readily available. I don’t need a fancy formula or a seminary degree to fight a spiritual battle. I just need the Word. I am challenged by Jesus’ example because I know that my sword isn’t very sharp. I’d like to increase my stores of memorized scripture so I will have it at the ready should I need it. In the meantime, I’ve typed up a bunch of my favorite verses that help me to have faith and I keep them nearby all the time. It’s a four page word document so I won’t include it here, but if any of you would like a copy I’d be glad to email it to you. Check out the contact page for my address.

Finally, once we’ve got all our armor on, we’re all dressed and ready to stand our ground, what do we do? Paul mentions two things:

1.  Pray in the Spirit about everything

Stay connected to the power source. Keep putting every situation, issue and concern back into God’s hands. Renew our strength daily by tucking into Him.

2.  Be Alert.  

When we are armed appropriately and relying on God for strength we don’t need to fear the enemy. However, we do need to stay alert so we recognize his attacks for what they are and can counter them appropriately. I was shocked to see the many different tools Satan used against Jesus in the desert. He used Jesus’ hunger, His relationship to God, all the splendor of the world’s kingdoms and even God’s very words to attempt to woo and confuse Jesus. It is essential that we stay alert so we are not wooed or confused ourselves.

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Stand firm then…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:14a,15,16

 

I just got some new running shoes last week. I had been wearing my previous ones for over a year and they had definitely jumped the shark (must use Happy Days references whenever possible). Every time I ran or walked in them my legs ached for two days afterward and I was starting to have knee pain while running. Not good, not good. So, I bit the bullet and bought a new pair. For some things, you just have to have the right equipment.

 

I have this feeling that Paul was talking about getting our running shoes on when he said to get our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. A messenger needs good running shoes to get him to his destination quickly and safely so his message can be delivered. And that is what we are…messengers of the good news. We must have our shoes ready and be willing to run like the wind to carry the message that God has laid on our hearts. There is good news to be shared: that peace is available to all of us. It is not a message to be hoarded or something of which to be ashamed. As messengers, we must make sure our feet are ready to go when the Spirit says go, whether the destination is another country or our friend’s home next door. Readiness to go and a willingness to share are all that are necessary. As my mom likes to say, if He used a donkey, He can use anyone.

When we put our shoes on we say to ourselves and to the devil, I know I’m not capable of saving anyone myself, but if God wants me to be a part of His story I want to be ready.

 

In order to understand the shield of faith, I turned to C.S. Lewis. Sometimes his brain hurts my brain, but I appreciate the way he explains things and makes me think. In Mere Christianity, Lewis describes the importance and definition of faith. I will simplify here for the sake of space, so please consider this a nugget and not a thorough exposition on the subject. He says,

Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods…For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes….That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off’, you will never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

Faith is not a feeling or a mood, but a decision to believe in the truth of God’s word regardless of our emotions. Satan loves to make us “feel” things…doubt, depression, fear, discouragement, anger, etc. He knows how much we adapt our behavior to accommodate our feelings. If we raise our shield of faith when negative moods come, believing that what we knew was true when we felt good is still true when we feel bad, we can extinguish all of the devil’s arrows and press on in hope.

 

So go check out your shoes and make sure they are ready to go. And take the time to polish up that shield of faith cause I’m pretty certain the devil never has an “off” day. If we are prepared ahead of time for a call to action or an unexpected time of discouragement we can press our way through it with God’s help.

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