Thursday, April 25, 2013

Where's Your FULL Armor?! (Part 2 of 2)

Fight a good fight, and finish the course strong!
We've gone through a few of the important things our King issues to us as a full armor for the battles we will wage in. We have so far established in the first post that the FULL ARMOR of GOD must be put on by those who profess allegiance to Christ Jesus, the King. 

Let's look at that list again, shall we?

11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6, KJV)

#4 - The shield of Faith

If there's one thing we don't want to be without in the battlefield, it is going to be our shield. 

The "Scutum" or "shield" in Latin, is the body shield that is carried by Roman soldiers. It is light enough to be held in one hand and its large height and width covered the entire wielder, making him very unlikely to get hit by missile fire and in hand-to-hand combat.

Whether the attack is from a distance or right in front of you, the soldier's ability to cover himself entirely with the shield helps greatly in his ability to win the fight.

The Word of God describes Satan's attacks as "fiery darts." They aren't only sharp, they're also on fire! This gives me the idea that inflicting PAIN is one of the enemy's main purpose. Whether it be physical, emotional or psychological pain, the devil's primary tactic is to inflict pain to a believer.

Have you ever been burned or scalded? Have you ever had a splinter stuck in your skin? What was it like? Irritatingly painful, right? It's that kind of pain that that the devil wants to inflict to us. It is the kind of pain that takes our minds off of more important things and keeps us focusing on the area that hurts. It makes us whine and cry, even! It is just something that hinders our ability to focus on the task at hand.

Can you see why we are given a shield of faith? Because Faith PREVENTS US from getting hurt, distracted and hindered by the devil. We will be able to move forward and conquer! We will be able to push forth against the attacks of the enemy. 

Why a shield of FAITH? Well, Scripture tells us this...

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is an assurance of what we have in the promises of our King. It is the ultimate REALITY of the hope we have in Christ. This faith is the evidence of the things we do not see. It gives us the boldness to move forward KNOWING that our King has ultimately won the victory for us. It is our holding on to the promises that we have in our risen LORD! It is FULLY TRUSTING in the FINISHED WORK of the reigning King of kings!

The shield of faith prevents us from wallowing in the pains of life. That is why no matter what we are going through in our battles, when we raise up our shield of faith, we KNOW that everything will be alright because of the promises of our King who has ultimately won the victory!

Our situation may be bad, or we might be going through a whole lot of fiery trials at the moment, but raising up our shield of faith allows us to regain our posture, our strength, our stance in the battle because the shield absorbs the pressures that will come from the fiery darts of the enemy. And it helps to prevent us from feeling totally debilitated by pain. We CAN move forward! We CAN fight back! For we KNOW our King has ALREADY WON THE VICTORY. The end of the story has already been written. The end of the war has already been established. Our King REIGNS VICTORIOUS and we reign victorious together with Him! 

Got a LOT of fiery darts aimed at you today? RAISE UP YOUR SHIELD OF FAITH and KNOW that Christ has won the victory already!!!

#5 - The helmet of salvation

It doesn't take a scientist to know that a helmet is a head protective gear. No matter the shape, color and style, helmets protect the entire head from any kind of injury. I'm sure we all don't need a Nursing or Medical degree, either, to know that injuries to the head are almost always fatal. If not, one ends up either confused or in a coma!

I remember when I used to work at the trauma step-down unit of a hospital in East Texas. Most of our patients were trauma-related injuries and one of the most difficult to handle of all these are those with head injuries. They are the most unstable ones on the floor as they could be in a very confused state, or they could crash on you at any moment.

The head is a very important part of the body as it is where the brain is housed. And we all can agree that the brain is the central computer of our entire body! It is the pretty much the main switch for every automatic vital process going on in our bodies. Any disruption in the brain or central nervous system, could lead to the shutting down of the rest of the vital processes of the body.

That's the physical picture of it. But let us not forget that our heads are also responsible for the thinking process. Our minds function to allow for normal psychological and emotional responses to take place. You might be familiar with the phrase, "The mind is the battleground." That is somewhat true because our mind plays a vital role in our functioning as a whole individual. It is the seat of our knowledge and understanding and holding fast to what we have been taught.

Scripture tells us this in Romans 8:7...

"The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."

We all have carnal minds. Our first birth has brought us into this life in the flesh. Jesus explained it to Nicodemus that that which is born of the flesh is flesh. The flesh is carnal, and thus our minds are initially carnal. Unfortunately for that, God's Word said that the carnal mind is enmity against God! 

Our carnal train of thoughts and understanding of life is against that of God's perfect will!  It refuses to be subject to the law of God, and it refuses to understand the ways of God because it just doesn't have the capacity to do so.

What is the end of being carnally-minded? Read Romans 8:6. The end of it is DEATH. If we are not saved, we will DIE not only physically, but also spiritually... eternally separated from God in hell in the end!

Isn't it amazing that our King issues us the very thing we need to protect us from the very thing that hinders our full allegiance to Him? We are issued the helmet of SALVATION! We have to have this helmet ON to renew our minds and subject our thoughts to the LORDSHIP of Christ Jesus! This is what Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter 3... "YOU MUST be born again."

Only those who are SAVED from sin and death can fully pledge allegiance to the King. Only those who receive the issue of the helmet of SALVATION, can become a soldier of Christ. And this we ought to realize... as part of the full armor of God, this too is ISSUED TO US... given FREELY by Grace... for we are SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH alone. We do not work for it, we do not strive for it, we do not achieve salvation with our own effort. It is GIVEN to us by the King. 

The helmet of salvation then protects us from any driving thoughts that will lead us to rebel against God. It allows us to UNDERSTAND and ACCEPT WILLINGLY the battle commands of the sovereign King! It prevents our thoughts from going back to our carnal nature, but instead protects our minds in Christ Jesus.

This helmet of salvation allows us to do the following for the glory of our King...

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Have you been born again? Do you have the helmet of salvation? The words of Jesus our King should ring out in our lives... REPENT! 

Turn away from your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus to save you. Trust FULLY in His FINISHED and COMPLETED work on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins and for bringing you into new life with Him.

#6 - The sword of the Spirit

The sword of the Spirit,
which is the Word of God
Aaaah, saving the BEST for last. What's a christian soldier doing in war without his or her sword, right?! This is the ONLY item that we can use for offensive moves! Our King didn't just give us ways to defend ourselves, but He's also given us a way to STRIKE BACK AT THE ENEMY!

The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. It is sharp, it penetrates through and through, and it kills the enemy!!! Hallelujah!

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)

We have to understand properly that the sword of the Spirit is part of the FULL ARMOR OF GOD. Those who profess allegiance to King Jesus PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR! There is a problem if a professing soldier is all geared up for war but fails to pick up his or her sword! Imagine a soldier standing in the battlefield with the devil prowling around like a lion just waiting to strike and the soldier only has his shield, helmet, breastplate, belt and sandals! You can't spank that lion with your belt! You can't throw your shield at it, either, in order to defeat it! You probably can run as fast as you can with your sandals but the devil WILL eventually catch up to you when you're tired! 

The enemy doesn't go away! He is persistent and DETERMINED, most of all! We have got to KNOW HOW TO USE OUR SWORD TO STRIKE THE ENEMY DOWN! Now there's something important that we must ponder upon here. Many today believe that they need to have leaders to teach them the Truth in Scripture. That means, you are giving YOUR SWORD to others for them to use for you! If you think that you can't personally STUDY and master the use of your sword with your own hands then you do not belong to the army of God. 

His soldiers EACH carry their own swords and USE their own swords against the enemy! We are only deceiving ourselves into thinking we are part of the army of God if we gear up but do not take control of our swords.

The devil is cunning. He has devised a way to lie to so many by convincing them that the sword of the Spirit can only be used by those in authority or leadership in church. Unfortunately for many today, they take everything from their spiritual leaders hook, line and sinker and never bother to check if things were really so. Many are being deceived that they must not read the Word of God by themselves because it will just confuse them.

Well, a soldier in war who doesn't take up his own weapon to fight back against the enemy is a soldier who's dead. And no matter how much we convince ourselves that we belong to the army of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are nothing but a counterfeit without our FULL ARMOR which includes the use of the sword of the Spirit.

Beloved, are you standing face to face with the devil who is prowling like a lion? PICK UP YOUR SWORD AND STRIKE!!!

"16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The King issues the FULL ARMOR OF GOD to His soldiers. Do YOU have yours? Are you FULLY geared up for battle? Onward Christian soldier and march valiantly into war!!! 

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