Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Love Story In An Unlikely Place

Hey Friend,

To be quite honest with you, this segment of scripture was never my "favorite". Perhaps because I don't like war and warfare.  I detest the battle scenes in movies.  

I really don't like thinking about spiritual warfare because, frankly, it scares me at times.  I don't relish the thought of the enemy of my soul coming after me...who does?

When I've read this segment of scripture before, I'd picture myself standing there in ill-fitting armor that was two sizes too big because it was made for a warrior.  I may be a prayer warrior, but please don't send me into battle.

I invite you to read this segment of scripture and let me share with you what Jesus lovingly shared with me...

Christian Warfare

10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics[a] of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore,
with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
15 and your feet sandaled with readiness
for the gospel of peace.[b]
16 In every situation take the shield of faith,
and with it you will be able to extinguish
all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is God’s word.

Jesus knows that in our own strength we are toast.  Because He loves us so, He wants to strengthen us by HIS vast strength.  He could choose to give us a sword or a shield, but no, He gives us a custom-fitted FULL armor of God because He doesn't want anything or anyone to touch us because we are His beloved.

Notice how He doesn't suit us up and then say, "Go get 'em tiger" and send us out into battle.  Just the opposite.  He lovingly suits us up so that we can resist in the evil day.  Resisting is not an "offensive" maneuver, it's defensive.  

Jesus is our great defender.  He wants to protect us while HE goes to battle for us.  

"The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."  (Exodus 14:14)

So what does He tell us to do...He tells us to stand.  After He completely suits us up He commands us to stand while He fights.  

So what is this suit of armor for, then?  It's for protection during the battle. Jesus knows that the enemy is going to shoot his flying, lying, fiery arrows toward us and He wants us to be safe.  

Safe how?

Let's look:

"Stand, with truth like a belt around your waist,"...

The enemy will come at you with lies, deception, discouragement, doubt, condemnation, every un-truth because he seeks to disable and devour.

"You are not worthy of being loved," he says.  

The belt of truth says that you are "fearfully and wonderfully made and that the Lord loves you and delights over you with singing."

"You are not saved.  Because of your sin, God condemns you,"  he says.

The armor of righteousness (the piece of armor right over our heart) says, "Therefore there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."  When we believe in Christ as our Savior, His righteousness is imputed to us.  In God's sight we are pure.  Our hearts are forever SAFE.

"You are a failure.  You are incapable - you'll never measure up,"  he says.

The shield of faith, soaked in the blood of Jesus, extinguishes the enemy's fiery arrows.  Faith says, "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me."  

"You are not forgiven.  God will never forgive you," he says as he invades your mind with all kinds of negative self talk.

Jesus lovingly places the helmet of salvation on our head - the piece of armor that protects our mind.  He reminds us, that through Him, we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our sins have been removed from us as far as the east is from the west.  We can take all the enemy's lies captive to Him and He will destroy them.   

"You are going to lose.  You aren't going to make it.  I will destroy you," the enemy sneers.

But Jesus.  But Jesus gives us the sword of the Spirit which is God's word.  At the name of Jesus the enemy must flee and at the Word of God the enemy must bow down.  

Whatever lie the enemy comes at us with, Jesus has given us a formidably more powerful Word of Truth to combat it.  

Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit as our wise counselor to STAND with us and to reassure us of His constant presence. 

He protects our feet so that we will be ready to move forward to spread the gospel of peace.   

The gospel of peace tells me that His grace is sufficient for me and in His grace I can STAND.  

To me, this sounds more like a love story than a war epic.  Jesus covers every square inch of us in the armor of God so that we will be safe.  

But we must take it from His hand and put it on.  His heart, beating with love for you, is stretching out His mighty hand and He's saying, "Beloved, put this on so you will be safe.  Put this on while I fight for you.  Take heart, O one that I love. Though the enemy rages, I have already defeated him.  He cannot have are mine.  Now and forever,  I love you.  The battle for your heart has been won.  Until I come again....stand."

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you that the Bible is your love letter to me.  Thank you for reminding me, time and time again that the battle has been won.  Thank you for sacrificing your Son so that my salvation would be secure.  Thank you Lord Jesus that you fight for me.  You suit me up so that I will be safe and you have defeated the enemy.  When thoughts are being shot at me like arrows, enable me to put on the armor that you have so lovingly made for me.  Let me put on Your truth, righteousness, and salvation.  Enable me to stand in my faith in you armed with the sword of your Word.  Thank you for loving me this 
much.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Be blessed....