Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Difference Between Victory and Defeat Is Found In What You Wear

Good morning everyone. Ready for an adventurous day? I hope so because with Jesus you just never know what the day is holding for us to experience. We are continuing with Ephesians 6.

Yesterday we considered how important it was that we were proactive in facing the schemes of the enemy. Being proactive means that we maintain our relationship with Jesus daily and not just during emergencies. In this way we are prepared for anything we will have to face because our relationship with Jesus is already strong. If you are a list person then this blog is for you today because the apostle Paul has kindly provided us a list of things that God has equipped us with to be proactive in the fight. We have heard of them as the armour of God and its purpose is clearly stated:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. v. 13

This armour equips us to face the daily battles we face, the things the enemy uses against us in his schemes to try to destroy us. If we learn to fight with this armour we will learn what it is to live a victorous life and not be a victim of circumstance. Let us begin:

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,

I think it is significant that Paul saw truth as a belt. The belt was used to hold all the armour in place. The truth we are to buckled around us, to hold everything into place, is that Jesus is the Son of God; he died on the cross that we may receive the salvation of the Father; that he rose from the dead and destroyed the grip of death. The truth is all of this was done because the Father loves us. The truth we buckle around us is the fact that whoever we are, whatever we have done the Father loves us, enough to sacrifice his best for our rescue. That is the truth that holds everything else in place.

with the breastplate of righteousness in place

You may not feel righteous at times but the Father has declared you to be righteous because of Jesus. It is your faith in Jesus that has provoked this declaration. I find it interesting again that this righteousness is what guards our heart against any blow from the enemy. It is this right relationship with the Father that keeps our heart pure, clean and capable of loving others with the love of the Father. In our own selves we are incapable but in this relationship that has been declared as a right relationship with the Father we are capable. That means when we mess up this declaration covers us and allows for the Father's forgiveness to freely flow. We do not have to twist ourselves in a knot and the enemy cannot whisper any lies to deny this righteousness. It has been declared by the Father. It is ours.

and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  

Another interesting choice. What do we use to try to run away from the battles we face? Our feet. But our feet are equipped with the gospel of peace. This gospel of peace is for ourselves so we do not become anxious about anything but instead we experience peace. This peace is also something we bring with us, carry with us, into everything we do in our day. People should never sense panic in us because our trust in our Father allows for peace in every decision and action we take. This peace in the face of our battles is what often touches the heart of those around us.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

One of the great pieces of armour is the shield. With this shield we are able to protect every area of our body from any blow from the enemy. Faith is something we must equip ourselves with every day along with all the rest of it. This faith is renewed in the Word, in worship and in prayer. It is a relationship thing and it is very personal. It is essential for daily life and will determine our attitude and response to the circumstances we face. It is what allows for joy and peace as opposed to misery and fear. In the face of faith the enemy can do nothing against us. Is your shield in place?

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   

Often the enemy cannot touch our heart so he goes for our mind. He will plant ideas and come against God in our intellect. In the garden he did not attack Eve's heart but instead used reason to convince her to disobey. If Eve had stuck to the instructions God had given she would have fended off that attack from the enemy. But on that day she had set aside her helmet. Friends, get to know the Word of God. Hide it in your heart. When the enemy used the same tactic in the desert with Jesus, Jesus used the Word to deflect the blows of the enemy. He walked away unharmed. How much trouble could we avoid if we would only defend ourselves with the Word of God?
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.   

The only part of our armour that is designed for offensive use is prayer. Prayer is our greatest weapon for putting the enemy to flight, for protecting the weak and vulnerable, for causing confusion to the enemy's schemes. Unfortunately too many of us use it as the last resort instead of our first defense. Not only do we use it to defend ourselves, we are also suppose to be actively, proactively using it to defend our brothers and sisters:

With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

This is the equipment of a proactive Christian, one who takes the time every day to put on this armour, to stand against the enemy's schemes. It is pretty simple and straightforward. Spend time every day maintaining your relationship with Jesus and your armour will always be in place. Become a neglectful follower and you are facing defeat after defeat. I encourage you my friends to join in the battle today because it is not just about you, it is also about your place in the body, protecting and covering your brothers and sisters in the battle as well. Learn what it is to pray without ceasing and you will learn what the war is all about. So stand firm my friends, defend the ground you have been given.

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