Thursday, December 17, 2015

Suit Up! (Ephesians 6:13-17)

Today's scriptures: Ephesians 6:13-17

Yes, we’re in a battle. You don’t need a gun or a tank or a bomb to fight this battle, but you definitely need to be equipped.

I was encouraged several years ago to pray these verses every morning to prepare to meet that day’s battles, and although I sometimes neglect to do so, when I do, it makes a world of difference. I speak about this in one of my retreat messages:

“The first piece of our armor is the belt of truth. God is the only real truth, and when we put on what Paul calls the ‘belt of truth,’ it means we’re going to strive to be truth-tellers—tellers of God’s truth.

Then we’re to put on the breastplate of righteousness. We aren’t righteous on our own. In fact, without Christ, we are fallen, frail, sinful creatures. Yet when we accept the gift of salvation and the forgiveness of our sins, God sees us as righteous, as cleansed, as pure.

In a suit of Roman armor (don’t think about those big metal suits from medieval times!), the breastplate covered from the throat to the hipbones. While arms and legs would remain vulnerable, the vital organs—heart, lungs, stomach—were protected. When we think about putting on the breastplate of righteousness, we are protecting our most vulnerable parts—our emotions. We protect our hearts from the enemy’s lies and the world’s influences.

And as we do, we remain clean before our Lord.

Then it’s the shoes that prepare us with the gospel of peace. And where does our peace come from? From the gospel. The ‘peace that surpasses understanding’ as Paul describes in Philippians 4:7, is ours because we know the Giver of peace. We can go out throughout our day and choose peace, no matter the circumstance.

We’re then to take up the shield of faith. While the breastplate covered the most vulnerable parts of a Roman soldier, the shield covered all of him. We’re not talking about a small handheld shield here. We’re talking about a huge, hide-covered barrier that a soldier could crouch behind and find protection.

Our shield is our very faith. And we must continue to grow in that faith. The Message translation of Hebrews 11:1, says it like this: Faith is “the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s the handle on what we can’t see.” Faith is trusting God in everything, being confident that He has a perfect plan for each of us. And the Bible tells us that “… without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).      

Then the helmet of salvation. The helmet protects the head, the center of what makes us human. We must be ever-careful of what we put in our heads. The Bible tells us how to keep our minds focused on the right things: “… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

And finally, we hold tightly to the sword of the Spirit—the very word of God. I can’t begin to tell you how very important this piece of weapon is for keeping the enemy at bay. If we know His word, if we meditate on His words, we begin to recognize His will, especially those things that are not His will.

We need to meditate, actually feast on His word. God’s word to us should be like bread for our bodies. We should delight in His word (Psalm 1:1-2)

And as you meditate on God’s word, you’ll begin to take some words to heart. Memorizing God’s word is a great way to wield that sword.”

So I have to ask … are you equipped for today’s battle?

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