Friends! Can you believe that we're at the last week of our study in Ephesians already? It's been so much fun studying this with you the past six weeks. <3 Starting next Thursday we're going to begin a four week study on JONAH!! So stay tuned for that. You won't want to miss it!
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints."
Sometimes I think we can forget that we are in the middle of a war.
Of course it's not a war that we fight with flesh and blood or anything physical, so maybe that's why it's so easy to forget at times.
But this is a spiritual war and as children of God, every day we are asked to stand up and fight. We're called to stand against the attacks the devil throws at us.
What does that look like though?
Putting on the whole armor of God.
We can't expect to fight a battle without the proper armor. As Christians we have God's armor ready and available to us at all times. But how do we use it and what does it look like? Well let's look at each piece of the armor in more detail:
Belt of truth.
What do you do when your pants don't fit right and they keep falling down? You get a belt. The belt keeps them tight and helps them fit better.
What do you do when you start to believe lies about yourself like "I'm not good enough," or "I'm not loved"? What do you do when these lies cause you to begin doubting God's words to you and you feel like you're slipping out of control?
You put on truth.
God's truth is like the belt for your mind to keep you from slipping into believing lies that will destroy you if you let them. The next time a lie comes to your mind, stop and meditate on the truth. Tighten your belt.
Breastplate of righteousness.
A breastplate was a piece of armor that soldiers used to protect their most vital organs (like the heart) from being injured in battle. It was meant for protection.
Righteousness is something that can only come from God. Humans in themselves cannot be righteous, because they cannot keep God's right laws at all times. We sin. We're not perfect.
So if righteousness--God's perfection--is what protects us in battle, how can we ever achieve it?
When Jesus died for our sins, He exchanged our sinfulness for His righteousness. Now when God sees us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus because we belong to Him.
The only way to protect yourself in this battle against the devil is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Without Him, you can do nothing.
Shoes of peace.
We have all experienced times of intense worry or anxiety. We have all let our fears take over and take us down roads we regret. Because sometimes uncertain futures can overwhelm us just a little bit too much.
Worry, fear, and anxiety cause us to doubt in God. Sometimes they even cause us to seek our own answers to our problems. They cause us to drift away from our goal and get caught up in all the "not knowing."
God's peace is like shoes for our soul to keep us grounded in His truth when worry and anxiety lies to us. These shoes keep us moving forward towards God's plan for us, even when we don't understand the whole picture.
Next time you're feeling worried or stressed out, allow God's peace to fill you. And then keep walking forward.
Shield of faith.
A shield protects you from getting injured by the warfare around you. A shield is something you hide behind for protection or security.
Faith is our shield because without faith it is impossible to please God or keep fighting this battle. Without faith, we are open to all of the enemy's attacks and we will be defeated. Faith is what protects us from the enemy's lies, oppression, and tactics.
When doubts creep in or disbelief shakes you, hold onto your shield of faith and raise it up high.
Helmet of salvation.
The helmet protects your mind. Your salvation in Christ is like the helmet protecting your mind from the lies the enemy wants you to believe about God.
There are so many different "religions" in the world today and so many different beliefs shouted out on social media and in the news. It can be so easy to be led astray or start believing lies about God.
Your salvation and core belief in how you are saved and who God is, shields you from all these wrong ways of thinking and keeps your mind secure in Christ.
Sword of the Spirit.
This Sword is the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. A sword is the weapon used to defeat the enemy you are fighting.
The only way to defeat our enemy is by believing and living out the Word of God in our lives. So how do you do that? You must spend time in God's Word. Without doing this, you cannot fight.
I also firmly believe we should be memorizing Scripture. To use our weapon to it's full potential against the enemy, we need it to be in our minds and hearts. So memorize Scripture, meditate on Scripture.
Let it change your life.
Paul ends his description of our armor by encouraging us to pray always, without ceasing. To pray for anything and everything. To pray with perseverance. To pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Prayer is a battle weapon that we so easily forget about or take for granted. Prayer is our direct access to God!
Keep fighting the good fight, friends.