Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Armor of God

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."  -Ephesians 6: 10-17 

I had hear this passage before, and I even liked it so much I have a print of the armor of a Roman soldier hanging up in my den with the scripture. I didn't really look at it as something I needed to reflect on daily, but I am starting to see the real importance of this "armor" and how much it helps me to truly understand it's significance.  
I learned at church just this past week that our struggles or fights -all of them- are not with people.  The person that we have a conflict with is not our enemy.  They are only a victim of "The Enemy".  And you know who I'm talking about, right? Satan. I don't even like to talk about him, but I need to because he is always ALWAYS scheming against us.  I can't tell you how much that changed the way I was looking at things.  When I am involved in a conflict I always use up all of my energy being angry with the person.  That is exactly what he wants.  It's not always about a giant, earth shattering, soul stealing, good verses evil battle with Satan.  He loves his small victories, too.  It's all of these small things that he gets through with that beat us down and cause us to forget our true purpose. 
I'm asking God's help to make me more aware of these battles that are going on all the time.  Every time Satan gets a hold of one of my "strongholds" and tries to use it against me, I need to realize what's going on.  It's not just part of the natural scheme of things.  It truly is supernatural. 
If you read my previous post about trying to come to terms with my past, I am recognizing that was truly an attack from the Devil.  He wants me to think I'm not good enough to be loved by God.  Well, I'm really not, but Jesus is, and because of Him I can have a relationship with God.
I want to share with you what God has shown me.  It is helping.  I am thinking about this armor all the time, now!  Every time I start to hear that ugly voice in the back of my head, I am coming to this:

I put on the belt of truth:  The Roman soldier's belt was the foundation for the rest of his armor.  The truth is Jesus.  He is the"way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him." (John 14:6)  This is my foundation.  My solid rock.  Every thing I am rests upon this truth, and it trumps all of Satan's lies.

I put on the breastplate of righteousness.  Jesus is my righteousness.  I can never be righteous enough on my own to come to God, but because of Jesus I am under God's protection.

I will wear the sandals of readiness and peace.  Our peace is the Gospel.  Jesus' life, death and resurrection is the only way to be at peace with God.  Just like a soldier who must always have his sandals on to be ready for battle, I will be ready in this peace I have because of Jesus.

I will carry the shield of faith.  My faith is in the power of God.  Our mighty, mighty Father can protect us from anything the Enemy hurls at us.

 I will wear the helmet of salvation.  Jesus is my salvation.  He is my savior, my redeemer.  He will deliver me from any evil.

I will take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  This is the weapon God has given me to defeat the Enemy.  The Word of God is more powerful than anything the Devil has.  It is living. John 1:1 tells us "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  Jesus is the Word and He will always prevail over the evil one.

I will return to this over and over again because this battle is going on around us all the time. Whether we really want to be part of it or not, we are.  This is the only way to stave off the attacks and prevail for the Lord.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Someone recently stepped out of my past and said I was a hypocrite because the person I used to be was so bad.  It hurt.  It brought up a lot of feelings.  Mostly shame.  Something was whispering to me that they were right.  "Look at what a waste you were.  God can't love you".  I am grateful that I have faith enough to know that it was Satan whispering these ideas into my ear, not the voice of truth.
I want to share my testimony with anyone who may read it.  Not to try and prove my worth, now that I am a Christian, but because I want anyone who may struggle with some of the same feelings that I have to know that it's okay.  God does love you.  He loves you while you're still a sinner and wants you to come to him no matter what.
I accepted Jesus as my savior when I was young, but, as I heard it put by Joni Eareckson Tada, I had not given Jesus the "throne of my heart".  I was saving it for myself.  I was living in the world to please myself.  It was like I had Jesus in my pocket and I could get him out if I needed him, but I would keep him in there so I could do what I wanted.
I can't really tell you about a certain moment that I finally decided to give myself wholly over to God.  I just know I felt quite empty through the majority of my late teens and twenties.  God was always there trying to lead me to the narrow path.  I could feel the desire to let go.  I think it took for me to understand that I wasn't the one with the power.  If I kept relying on myself to choose good without asking for God's help I would fail every time. I had to make a decision to repent- not just say I was sorry, but turn away from my old ways and let the Lord lead me.
The thing that I struggle with the most is that obviously I was not being identified as a Christian back then through my actions.  I was a walking contradiction.  I am so sorry that those who saw me then, may have ill feelings about Christianity because of  what I have done.  I know God has forgiven me as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).  It's hard to forgive myself.  This is where I have to stop relying on myself and let God take over.  He will replace the shame and guilt with love and light.
I didn't write this in hopes that people will look at how "good" I am now.  If it weren't for the cross, I would still be doomed even if I had turned away from my old ways.  I want everyone to know that I didn't do anything.  Jesus did it. He paid the ultimate price and washed me clean.  If you are reading this and you have some of these types of feelings, I encourage you to let them go.  I promise you that God loves you and wants a relationship with you.  No matter what has happened before.  Just forget about all that stuff.  I know you may be scared to let go of your life like that or think that you aren't strong enough to turn away from the world.  Well, you don't have to be.  Just let go and ask God to take it all from you.  He will.  He can't wait.