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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Dressed for Battle




Dressed for Battle

 

 

Scripture says that we are in a battle – a spiritual battle.  Even though we know that we live in a very troubled world, we still don’t like to believe that there are evil powers lurking around every corner.  And we wonder if it isn’t a bit  paranoid to worry about such things!

 

 Our ancestors didn’t worry about such things as germs!  Just a couple hundred years ago people saw no need to wash their hands or cover their sneezes or sterilize anything.  But then Louis Pasteur looked through his microscope and saw a whole world that nobody had ever seen before. A world of germs moving around under his microscope, so tiny that no one could see them with the naked eye!  Pasteur was shocked and startled! When the news got out that he had discovered a world of microscopic germs that could cause sickness, and that they were everywhere, folks didn’t want to believe it.

 

 But this discovery eventually led the medical profession to announce that germs are very real and they are indeed all around us!  And germs can bring disease and even kill us!  And of course that changed everything.  In the hospitals doctors began washing their dirty bloody gowns between operations and sterilizing their surgical instruments.  And the population was encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water. And the death rate from infectious diseases began dropping so much that people began to actually believe that germs were real.  And this knowledge changed their behavior.   

 

 Perhaps it’s the same in the spiritual realm.  Even though we can’t see “evil powers” as we go through our daily life, the Bible tells us that evil powers are very real. And our protection and our victory over evil is our position in Christ because He has us covered. But we also have a part. The Bible says our job is to believe the truth and try to live a good life.  – try to obey God’s commands. 

 

You may ask, “If my protection is found in Christ, then why do I have to get involved?”  Scripture tells us that we are in a spiritual battle and that God has provided everything we need to be victorious over the evil forces, but we have to believe what He has said and use what He has given us.  Each Christian has been given a set of armor and a sword but we need to put the armor on and use the sword.  Let’s read about what we have been given - our armor.  

 

“Stand firm, having put on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace: in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  (Ephesians 6:14-17)

 

First of all we are to put on and wear the belt of “truth”.  Jesus said, “I am…the truth” (John 14:6) And because Christ is in you, the truth is in you. The belt of truth is our first line of defense against Satan’s main weapon- that of deceiving and lying.  Jesus prayed this prayer for us:  “Sanctify them in the truth: Thy Word is truth.”  (John 17:17)  The Word of God (the Bible) is truth and we should not wander away from it or open ourselves up in any way to false doctrines. Also we should always speak the truth.  Lying even when we think it is for a good cause is wrong.

 

The second piece of armor we need to fight the battles in life is the “breastplate of righteousness.”  This righteousness isn’t your righteousness or mine otherwise we would all be in trouble!  The righteousness is Christ’s righteousness.  (1 Corinthians1:30; Philippians 3:8-9)  When we believe in Jesus as Savior we put on Christ’s righteousness. And since we are covered by Christ’s righteousness, we are justified before God.  (Romans 5:1)  So when we worry that we aren’t good enough to go to heaven we need to remember that it isn’t our goodness that saved us but Christ’s.  “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?  God is the one who justifies.”  (Romans 8:33) And even though we stand on our righteous position in Jesus, we need to try to obey His commandments.

 

And then we are to put on the “shoes of peace”.  Scripture says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  (Matthew 5:9)  Jesus prayed that believers might be united and He calls us to forgive those we don’t agree with or those who have harmed us. Christians are called to be ministers of reconciliation.  We are to bring people together and encourage fellowship.  A joyful but often difficult ministry!

 

The “Shield of faith” is the forth piece of armor that we have been given.  The object of our faith is God and His Word.  Scripture says that God gives each of us a measure of faith. But we can build up the faith we have by worshiping God and reading the Word. “For then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”  (Romans 10:17) 

 

Scripture says: “take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles from the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16)  These “flaming missiles from the evil one” are nothing more than lies or temptations or fears that bombard our minds.

 

 When Jesus was tempted by the devil He answered the temptations by quoting Scripture (the Word of God).  And we can do the same.  If we are attacked by fear we can meet the fear with God’s Word.  “Fear thou not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am thy God, I will strengthen you yes I will help you, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.”  (Isaiah 42:10)  And if we are attacked with the temptation to lie (bear false witness) we can pray and ask for God’s help and again counter with Scripture.  “Thou shall not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16) God also includes our prayers as part of His strategy to help us win the spiritual battle. 

 

The fifth piece of armor is the “helmet of salvation.”  Sometimes we may be tempted to doubt our salvation. We may think that we have to do a lot of “things” to receive salvation. But Scripture says that all we need to do is believe that Jesus is our Savior and try to follow Him.  Jesus has won our victory and we are to stand firm in Him.  God has “delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”  (Col.1:13)

 

And the last piece of armor is the “sword of the Spirit.”  The Bible says that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.  It is the only weapon we are given to actively fight with.  The other pieces of armor are for our spiritual protection.  Scripture says: “The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit …” (Hebrews 4:12) We can use the sword of the Spirit (the Bible) along with the shield of faith to fight this spiritual battle that we find ourselves in.

 

We each have a purpose and a mission to accomplish here on earth.  But if we love God, Satan, the enemy of our soul, is there to oppose us – to undermine all our hopes and dreams and to tear apart all of the good that we would do. We are in a battle –the battle between good and evil – between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world! But God promises to be with us and He has given us everything we need for the fight.  We have already been promised the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord. So let’s put on the armor and dress for battle.  Stand firm and fight the good fight.

 

 

Some ideas have been taken from Neil T. Anderson’s book “The Bondage Breaker”  pages 95-102 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 


1 comment:

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