All posts by Diane

The Armor of God

We’ve been going through the Armor of God from Ephesians in our Sunday services (Thank you Mark and Alex) and I’ve learnt some things that I had mis-interpreted for all these years, or learnt something new from the passage I’ve read so many times.

The Whole Armor of God

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
The goal of putting on the armor is that we can stand. To stand firm. And after everything, to keep standing

We cant stand unless we are focused on God

The belt of truth:

shows others and reminds us whose authority we are under, by whose authority we stand firm, as well as reminds us whose we are

we stand in God’s strength

The breastplate of righteousness:

this is not our righteousness, it’s Jesus’ righteousness.

imputed righteousness – justification

imparted righteousness – sanctification

It is covering our vital organs, heart (thinking), liver, stomach, kidneys (feelings and emotions)

If we don’t put on the breastplate of righteousness, each arrow will be a near to complete deathblow

The shoes of readiness:

This is not being ready to give the gospel to people. This is being ready to stand firm in the onslaught from the devil.

Often in those days, soldiers were actually bare footed, making it difficult to stand firm in an onslaught, especially when the ground was slick with mud / blood or was riddled with sharp rocks and thorns. The Roman army was the first to put shoes on their soldiers and often they would have nails driven through them to spike into the ground for more grip, giving their army superiority by virtue of the fact they could stand firm in any circumstance

The shield of faith:

I’ve always thought when it says “in all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one”, that it meant the shield of faith would help me out of circumstances – boy was I wrong 😊.

We can’t extinguish our circumstances with enough faith, but we can stand firm in our circumstances. When we have terrible circumstances, the flaming darts are the thoughts the devil tries to deceive us with. He puts just enough twist on truth to make it sound like truth but it’s actually a lie.

The flaming arrows attack 2 things: the truth of God, and the character of God

The devil sows the seed of doubt (flaming arrow), when we buy into it, the then sells the lie (raging fire consuming everything)

A single flaming arrow, if not extinguished, can consume and destroy an entire city

The Romans used to soak their wooden shields in water for 2 to 3 days before a battle so that when flaming arrows are fired at them, they are put out straight away.

In the same way we need to be soaking our minds and hearts with God’s truth so that when a flaming arrow comes, it is immediately put out, because we know the truth. We can be searching for a truth in scripture when the arrows come because by the time we have found one, we have another 6 arrows in us.

The helmet of salvation:

This is only helpful if we actually put it on.

Salvation:

I have been saved from the penalty of sin (justification) – Christ took the penalty (Rom 8:1)

I am being saved from the power of sin (sanctification) Rom 8 – we are able to walk in the power of the Spirit, this is going on till the day we die

I will be saved from the presence of sin (glorification)

The devil cannot undo/take away our salvation, but he will try make us think he can. He tries to beat us down, steal our joy.

1 Thessalonians 5:8 “ But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” – live now in light of salvation to come (glorification).

2 Corinthians 4:16 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

Are we seeing spiritual growth despite outwardly “wasting away”? We need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

The Sword of the Spirit:

This is a weapon, it’s not a passive piece of the armor. It’s double edged, and meant for close combat

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”

The Sword is intimidating so don’t give the enemy any ground

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ”

We have the Spirit living in us, the same divine power that raised Jesus from the dead, living in us. But so often we cower before our enemy (who is actually already defeated, but tries to make us think he is winning).

Scripture is written by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit. Its alive and active. Why would we leave our weapon on the shelf to collect dust when we know we are in a war?

As we read God’s word we need to let it change us too. And we can’t recall scripture, if we aren’t actually reading it.

You can watch the sermons (or listen to them in the back ground 😊) – you need to fast forward through the worship, announcements etc

The Belt of Truth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlapSclI3pc

The Breastplate of Righteousness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYwH6609UBU

The Shoes of Readiness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo1W4n_9ZFg

The Shield of Faith (Alex kept referring to V18 but it’s V16): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70TKmQdAVn0

The Helmet of Salvation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKu4YrK-IrI

The Sword of the Spirit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7JlrbQUxJo

Attitude of gratitude

Attitude of gratitude and Praise

 

Life is busy.

Summarized version:

Go to work

House to clean (it just never seems to be in a total state of order for more than a minute)

Children to raise

Ministry to do

Church to attend

Friendships and family relationships to nurture.

 

The list is long, the list is endless.

We struggle to get things in balance most of the time (I know I do, I don’t think I have ever found the balance)

 

A combination of ideas came from different sources and I’ve been reflecting on how they actually go together hand in hand.

1: an attitude of gratitude – a challenge given by a dear and wise sister on the devotional Whatsapp group for moms she started

2: Praise Him forever – day 7 of Chris Tomlin’s Holy Roar devotional on YouVersion Bible app.

3: Concept of Rest

 

For all three of these, the key is spending time with our Creator. His Word is the common thread that ties these together.

 

The more we Praise God, the more we find things to be grateful for. The more we find His rest in His Word, the more we praise, the more we are grateful.

 

I checked out synonyms for these words too:

Gratitude: thankfulness, appreciation, acknowledgement, respect, indebtedness

Praise: worship, glorify, honour, exalt, adore, reverence, bless, magnify

 

If you look up these words in the Bible, most of the time they appear in variations of gratitude and praise in the same passage.In searching for passages on each of these, the more I find this to be true. More often than not if you find a passage that mentions one of these three, it will invariably mention another one or all three.

 

Here are a few I found:

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+62&version=NIV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+95&version=NIV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+30%3A15-18&version=NIV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-30&version=NIV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+3%3A15-17&version=NIV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians+2%3A6+-+7&version=NIV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Thessalonians+5%3A16-18&version=NIV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+12%3A26+-+29&version=NIV

 

That’s just a few – there are loads more.

 

It starts with our relationship with God. In any relationship you get to know the other person by spending time with them, listening and talking to them.

Gratitude

It is no different in our relationship with God. We cannot get to know Him without reading His Word, we cannot listen and talk to Him if we are not spending time with Him. And like any relationship it takes effort, relationships don’t just happen.

 

God revealed Himself in His Word and by Jesus who is described as The Word (John 1:1-5). The more we are in His Word, the more we will see things to be grateful for, our eyes will more easilt recognise it.

 

This leads us to praise Him more and more, and leads us to want to spend more time with Him and He is our rest.

 

Not every encounter with a friend is an intense, in-depth time. Sometimes it’s just a “thinking of you”, “hope you having a great day”, “love you”, but there does have to be intense, in-depth sessions otherwise our relationship is just superficial and of no substance, it will not withstand the onslaught of crisis.

 

God isn’t saying everyday must be an intense study of His Word, or time of prayer. Those are necessary and vital to our relationship, but He says in Philippians 4:4-9 “in every situation”, so whether you are standing in a queue at the shops, driving in traffic (that’s an oxymoron, it’s more like sitting in traffic), washing dishes or you have a treasured time to be intensely in His Word, in every situation talk to Him, praise Him, be grateful for something, recall scripture.

 

We will find that cultivating this relationship, we will experience God’s peace, His rest for our souls. Regardless of our circumstances, He will give us His rest. Our world might fall apart around us, but with our eyes focused on Him, He will be our sustaining strength.

 

As I’m writing this, I remember another idea that totally blindsided me. I can’t remember exactly where I read it that first opened my eyes to my error, but I’m glad it did.

 

All my Christian life I have lived with the concept that God will not give us more than we can handle. If a situation arose that I thought was hard, I would tell myself it’s because God knows you can handle this.

 

But that is totally wrong and misconstrued.

 

God will not allow us to be TEMPTED more than we can handle, and He will always provide a way out, but if He only gave us situations that we could handle how are we supposed to rely on His strength, because we would be able to handle all circumstances in our own.

This blew my mind when I realised this.

 

We will be faced with situations and circumstances that are more than we can handle. It is in these times that we learn to live by God’s strength, to rely on His provision. It is at these times that our faith is tested.

 

I know God provides, but let me just do my thing to make sure we don’t run into trouble, surely this is how God is providing for us. I still constantly struggle with this. How do I know that the solutions I am coming up with are God providing, or me just making a plan to get through in my own strength?

I have heard many stories of people who know people who have had miraculous provision in desperate situations, and remember thinking to myself “why does that never happen to me”. Instead of being grateful and in awe of God who provides for each of people, I would be jealous of those who had these miracles happening for them. What a selfish, spoiled brat attitude I have. Stamping my feet and throwing a tantrum spiritually because God didn’t do that for me. Wow, I am dumbstruck that I could be such a brat towards God and think that He owes me more evidence that He loves me.

 

I want to take myself by the scruff of the neck and say “Hey, doofus, shut up and realise the intense love He has for you. He sent His ONLY Son to DIE for you, so that you could be adopted into His family, and you think He owes you MORE proof that He loves you. Wake up girlie, there is no greater proof.”

 

I still struggle with falling back into old patterns of thinking, but with God’s help and His Word I can find many reasons to be grateful, to praise Him to come to Him for rest.

 

So what started out as a few thoughts on our relationship with God turned into something a little different than I imagined at the end, but that’s fine.