Sunday, May 17, 2015

Needed Armor

Every day of our lives you and I live in spiritual warfare. There is a battle of good and evil. As believers in Jesus Christ we are faced with opposition and a luring to evil temptations on a consistent bases. Satan is prowling around, he is trying to deceive us with his lies and move us in a different direction, away from all that Jesus stands for and the truth of his Word.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” ~ 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV).

It is not against flesh and blood that we battle (Eph.6:12), we are in a fight with Satan who is the Chief Enemy of God, the Prince of Darkness. He has his legion of fallen angels, the demons of darkness who attack us in every way that they are able.  Those that the devil (Satan) has misled he doesn't worry about but he is concerned about those who follow God.  When Jesus was here on earth Satan tried to tempt Him several times: When Jesus first started His ministry (Luke 4:2), as well as in the Garden of Gethsemane before He went to the cross (Luke 22:44).  Many like the apostle Paul who are Disciples of Christ were attacked in their ministry. So if we are living and serving our Lord Jesus we will also be attacked in major ways.

A lot of the choices we make are of our own making or choosing because God has given us freewill. However, we are also able to fight the evil that so easily entangles us. So how does a Christian believer fight off these attacks?  Where do we find the strength to do that?

It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and the provision of essential truths that we can stand like soldiers and come against the “powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil" (Eph.6:12).  We need the Lords strength in this fierce war. As Christians we must depend on God, all other sources of strength will not get us through for God is more powerful than the enemy. Through the strength we receive through prayer, God’s Word, our obedience and faith we can win this battle. Paul said:

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength." ~Philippians 4:13

God has provided armor so that we can ward off the fiery darts that the devil throws at us. The Bible says that we are to:

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
 ~ Ephesians 6:11

What is the full armor of God? How can we be protected?

Full Protection:
The believer’s armor consists of 6 pieces, 3 of which we should have on permanently and 3 which we should take up when we are being attacked. These are all found in Ephesians 6:14-17:

Permanent Armor:

  • The Belt of Truth – Gird yourself with the truth of the gospel “Jesus Christ is the truth, the life, and the way (John 14:6). Without knowing basic biblical teaching, we are subject to being "carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming" (Ephesians 4:14). When you renew your mind (Romans 12:2) by committing yourselves to God's truth,  you will become "a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service of worship" (v. 1). The truth will set us free, it will allow us to be on guard, to be courageous, and to be strong (I Cor. 16:13).  The world cannot buckle this belt because they do not have the truth.
  • Breastplate of Righteousness – The mind and the emotions are the two areas where Satan most aggressively attacks believers. Knowing who you are in Christ because of His forgiveness and shed blood for you as well as the practical righteousness of moment-by-moment obedience to God's Word is genuine holiness, "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5) and setting our minds "on the things above, not on the, things that are on earth" (Colossians 3:2). Those who are not saved through Christ do not have this breastplate to protect themselves from judgment.

  • Feet Fit with Readiness – As a Christian we will have inner peace because “we have been justified through faith” (Rom 5:1) Before we were saved we were enemies of God as Paul attests to in Romans 5:10, “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”  In John 14:27 Jesus says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.“  Our feet need to be ready so that we are not stumbling and falling but ready to march, climb and fight to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. Be ready to step out knowing and seeing what Christ has done for you. This is the gospel of peace! The unsaved person is helpless, ungodly, sinful, and an enemy of God (Romans5:6-10). As a believer you are reconciled to God through faith in His Son (Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21).  Your feet are rooted firmly on solid ground, in God’s unfailing truth.

Take Up Armor: 

  • Shield of Faith – extinguishes all the flaming arrows of the evil one. When you place your faith in Christ, you are placing your full assurance in Christ; you are fully reliant on and totally dependent on, having a complete trust in Christ Himself.  Unbelievers have only their own faith to protect them. Their faith is in their jobs, bank accounts, stocks or retirement funds. It is a hope-so faith and not a know-so faith that is only found in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20)
  • Helmet of Salvation –  Protects your mind. As a Christian It is the knowledge that you have received through God’s gift of salvation, your acceptance of Jesus Christ, and the promise of eternal life. Because of this you have the confidence you need when Satan sets out with blows of discouragement and doubt that are directed at the security and assurance you have in Christ. To discourage you, he will point to your failures, your sins, your unresolved problems, your poor health, or to whatever else seems negative in your life. He wants you to lose confidence in the love and care of our heavenly Father. II Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Isn't this an absolutely wonderful thing to know?  
  • Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God. This is the best offensive weapon that we have at our disposal to fight off Satan and His demons. Jesus used the Word of God (Scripture) to resist and fight off the devil in the temptation in the wilderness (Luke chapter 4). The Word of God is the very power of God Himself. It is alive, active, and powerful. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12.

“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.” ~ Ephesians 6:13

Knowing the armor that we need as Christians and have available to us,  how can we win the battle and not fear the evil one as we live for God and serve in this troubled world?

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