| More

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What to Wear to the Fight

Ephesians 6:10-20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak


1) Be strong IN THE LORD AND IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS MIGHT. This is reassuring because, as I described in the post below, I lack the strength to fight.

2) Put on the WHOLE armor of God, not just part of it.

3) The fight involves what is unseen--fighting against what is unseen for results that will not fully be revealed until later (our future hope of glory!). This reminds me of what Jesus said to Pilate as He faced torture and persecution--what looked like defeat by what could be "seen". John 13:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

4) In being charged to put on the belt of truth, I am reminded that what I know to be true comes from the Word, not from my instincts, emotions, circumstances, fleshly desires, culture, opinions of others, etc.

5) My breastplate of righteousness is the blood of Jesus Christ! I have no righteousness apart from Him. At the same time, there is no condemnation for me because Jesus fulfilled the requirements of righteousness on my behalf (lived a sinless life, was the worthy sacrifice to pay the penalty of my unrighteousness so that I could be united with a righteous God). Romans 8:1-3 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. " Putting on the breastplate of Jesus' righteousness is a powerful tool in the battle against the enemy who is known as "the accuser." Our enemy wants us to believe that we are failures and worthless because those thoughts take our eyes off of the beauty of a God who loves us despite our sin and who solved the problem of our sin, cleansing us from unrighteousness. I love this passage from Zechariah 3. Keep in mind that many scholars believe "the angel of the Lord" is Jesus Himself: Zecharian 3:1-10 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by. 6 And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.” This passage tells me, yes, my garments were filthy, but Jesus gave me something new to wear--a robe of righteousness--His righteousness. Satan's accusations are wrong! Because of Jesus, I have a new inheritance, a redeemed life with God--a shadow of which I know now to be realized in its entirety in the future!

6) The gospel of peace is my inspiration to fight and my means by which to fight.

7) I love that the shield of faith is introduced by the clause "in all circumstances". The difficulty of faith is in the circumstances for me! Some circumstances make it easier to have faith, but other circumstances really test faith. I think of how Abraham trusted in God's goodness love, and righteousness even as God told Him to sacrifice his son. Those circumstances did not make sense, yet the God in whom Abraham believed during confusing circumstances proved Himself faithful just as Abraham trusted He would. In the confusing circumstances of my life, sometimes my faith is more like the father who came to Jesus for healing of his demon posessed son: Mark 9:21-24 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” When I exercise the little faith I have by coming to the Lord, He is faithful to answer my prayers to grow my faith in Him. I should never forget that my faith itself is a gift from Him! Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

8) I love that one of the weapons is the helmet of salvation--I belong to Jesus and that Jesus has already saved me from my enemies--satan, sin, and death! This victory was won on the cross and I will taste it in its entirety when I get to be with Him in glory!

9) The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God--the Bible! This is all the more reason I need to be in the Word--reading it, learning about it, knowing it, memorizing it, measuring all things against it, and looking for my answers in it. Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." I ought to open the Word of God regularly, especially when I am feeling weak.

10) Prayer is another important tool with which I can fight. I can go to my Loving Father and ask for help! Prayer expresses my reliance on God and my faith that the strength I need comes from Him. Prayer expresses my confidence in the All-Powerful, All-Wise, All-Loving God who delights to help me fight. Prayer invites the Holy Spirit to do His work in my heart. Jesus shows me how to pray. Luke 11:11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come.3 Give us each day our daily bread, 4 and forgive us our sins,for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.And lead us not into temptation.” 5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” As I stumble for words to pray, the Holy Spirit helps me: Romans 8:26-27 "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."

11) I get to fight on behalf of my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ by praying for them!

12) The Lord wants me to perservere. So much of life here on earth is about enduring through difficulty and uncertainty (this theme is repeated in the letters from Jesus to the churches--to us--in Revelations). The Lord is my strength to perservere!

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the tools you provide to fight against our enemy with the strength you provide. I pray that we would regularly go to you--for strength and equipping. Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters and for myself as we fight against the lies and the accusations of the enemy who wants nothing more than for us to take our eyes off of your beauty and who will employ any means to do this. Help us to be alert. Help us to be grounded in your Word and in your character, and in your love for us! Help our faith where it is lacking. We pray all of this in Jesus mighty name. Amen

1 comment:

Heather said...

Isn't God great?! I love that He gives us the necessary equipment, we just have to be willing to learn how to use them (like actually reading His Word, before we can use it!). It is my hope against that darn Sniper.