Monday, March 29, 2010

The Armory of God

As we walk through our daily lives, we seldom realize the battle that is raging all around us. Some visualize a battle as being somewhere on a battlefield with the sound of artillery and gunfire all around, not in some quite home in suburbia. But, if you look around you will see the evidence is as clear as the sound of gunfire. With tempers flaring, voices bickering and arguing, the deafening sound of anger simmering just under the surface and the cry of a wounded soul.

The battle rages right under our noses, but have we become too callous to recognize it? Maybe we are desensitized, and somehow write it off to daily life. That is not what God purposed our lives to be. Instead of growing in love and compassion toward those in our homes and neighborhoods, we turn a blind eye or make an irrational judgment call. We try to maintain peace in our homes, by giving into the whims of our children and spouses to keep from facing the reality that we are in trouble. We will settle for “good enough” instead of passionately pursuing all God has for us.

In war, there are victims and victors. We all want to win, but we haven’t the strength in and of ourselves to wage a counterattack, that is where the Holy Spirit comes into play. The Holy Spirit ignites our sensitivity to the sinful world we live in and the sin that still resides in us. When Jesus was about to return to heaven he told his disciples that he was not abandoning them, but would send the Holy Spirit. (John 16:5-11). God the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today.

I am sure many have heard of the Armor of God but either don’t use it or don’t understand it. Paul urged us to be strong with the Lord’s mighty power and put on the all of God’s armor (Ephesians 6:10-12). Then he went on the describe the equipment; Belt of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Shoes of Peace, Shield of Faith, Helmet of Salvation, Sword of the Spirit, and of course prayer. (Ephesians 6:13-18).

So how does this equipment defeat evil? We work with the Holy Spirit who gives us strength to continue to stand against all attacks. These attacks are not what some might think, because they are spiritual in nature and the primary purpose is to get us to stop trusting in the Lord and get us walking again in our own strength. We still choose our actions at any given moment, that is why seeking the Lord and obeying the Word of God is vital to our success, knowing what action to take in every situation.

Belt of Truth: Think of this as your personal experience with the Lord. Be mindful of the truth that God has revealed to you. Hold fast to your salvation experience or those undeniable encounters with the risen Lord.

Breastplate of Righteousness: Think of this as the truth of your salvation. The blood of Christ has cleansed you from all unrighteousness and you are a new creation, even though you are still growing in the grace of God and learning his ways.

Shoes of Peace: Think of this as whom you represent. You are a child of God on a mission to bring the Good News to those who are stumbling in darkness. Jesus said that the world would know we are his followers because of our love for one another. We should always walk in forgiveness.

Shield of Faith: Think of this as the truth you have learned in scripture, your “Aha” moments when what the scripture describes is what you have found to be true.Discovering that God is our protector. Standing firm in your faith will send the evil one running.

Helmet of Salvation: The battle begins in your mind so guard your thought life and bring every thought captive to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Don’t dwell on evil thoughts, because they will lead to evil actions.

Sword of the Spirit: Think of this as the truth that is spoken through you by the Holy Spirit. The word of the Lord is sharper than a double edge sword able to get to the heart of the matter. Your words should always be encouraging and loving to those who hear them.

Of course prayer: Begin each waking moment in prayer and continue through your day. Be mindful of the ever-presence of the Lord and his tender care of you.

As you begin to use this armor not as defense but offense against the evil in this world, you will begin to walk in the victory that Jesus won for us at the cross.

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