Encouragement, Jesus/Faith, women

This is How We Fight Our Battles- Part 2

Hey friends!

Last week we learned that our victory and our strength is in the Lord and in his might. Paul gives us careful instruction here as to why we need this strength. It’s not only for our regular and ordinary day-to-day life, he is telling us about something serious evil business. Remember, I asked you if you see any schemes of the devil or evil forces around you? I see the enemy trying to break apart families and marriages, wreak havoc in souls with addiction, and try to take over our minds with his lies of insecurity and fear. He tries to put a wedge between us those good and godly influences in our life. The devil and his wicked friends try to keep us busy so we won’t have time to spend with God, allowing us to rely on our own selfish nature to get through life. How have you experienced the enemy trying to have his way with you?

So, ladies, we get to play extreme dress up today. We are putting on our armor of God (Ephesians 6:14-17, an outfit, made of steel or metal, made exactly for us, cuz the Lord knows each and every one of us in such a personal way. He knows all your curves and edges, Girl. You will not have to have this outfit altered. You won’t have to return it for a different size. To put on this armor of God means to put on the Messiah himself, Jesus himself. Back in the OT, Isaiah tells us that God displayed or “put on” the powers of a fully equipped warrior. So today, we are gonna clothe or equip ourselves with that same power. And this is an outfit we should never take off.

Paul speaks of five components that make up our defensive armor. Paul specifically says to take up or put on the “whole” armor, other Bible translations may read “full armor” (v. 13), meaning this armor has a divine nature and power more than it’s completeness of the five parts. Now, with this divine power on us, we stand. And Girl, you were already standing in verse 13, but now, you’ll be standing firm, no matter what comes at you, not giving in to fear. The “evil days” or “evil times” will have ebbs and flows throughout our days, weeks, months; shoot, our lifetime, so let’s get ready to fight.

The Lord does not leave us defenseless against the enemy. He covers us from head to toe with a belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, and helmet. Our first fashion element, ahem, piece of armor, is the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14). Paul portrays us as soldiers ready for battle, lined up with our Sister Warriors, holding fast against the enemy’s charge. I’m totally thinking about Wonder Woman right now, minus the skimpy little outfit. I’ll totally take the cool headpiece and the cape though. And maybe the boots. Back to this belt of truth. This gold encrusted belt could also be called the belt of faithfulness, the belt of the loins (Isaiah 11:5). You know that saying, “Gird your loins” (Luke 12:35)? The dudes back in the day, when they’d get dressed for action, they’d tuck their long robe up into their belts, readying themselves to run in to battle. What is this truth? This is the very word of God, the words he commands us to write on our hearts, the words to transform our minds, and to clean our hearts. The words of Jesus, giving us such a beautiful example in how to love and serve others.

The other defensive pieces in our armor suit include the breastplate of righteousness (v. 14), shoes for our feet, having put on readiness given to us by the gospel of peace (v. 15), the shield of faith, that we should have on in all circumstances, so we can can put out or extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one (v. 16). You know what that feels like. The days when you aren’t feeling good, you go to work or try to hang at home, you get a call about one kid breaking their arm, another call that your daughter is sick, then finding out your husband is working late, and your teen has stolen the car, all while having to finish up the homework, that you’re already behind on, for your Bible study. I’ve had lots of days, or what seems like weeks like that, how about you? Our last piece of defensive armor is the helmet of salvation (v. 17). So the ensemble is complete, and you’re ready to sing to the devil, “Hit me with the best shot” in your best Pat Benatar song and dance.

The above pieces in our new outfit are needed to defend against the enemy. The breastplate of righteousness helps us to obey God’s laws, to do right in God’s eyes, and to live out God’s laws of love. Without these laws, there’s sin, and sin is the opposite of righteousness. The breastplate is worn to protect our heart and other vital organs, creating a barrier for sin in get in and dwell within us. Shoes? What is up with these shoes or what good are they? What do they have to do with the gospel of peace? A girl’s got to have her shoes, right? We need these to complete our ensemble. Being the warriors we are, we need shoes to allow us the freedom in where we step, and doing so without fear, so we can put our full attention toward the battle itself, rather than worrying about stepping on the rocks and twigs of life.

The gospel of peace, is the gospel of the Kingdom, the “good news,” about Jesus the King, his grace (unmerited favor), and his plan of salvation for every man and woman. This peace, we have it now, and we will have it in the future. What does this have to do with shoes? Paul tells us in Romans, “How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they preach unless they are sent? …How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15 CSB). These shoes help us to stand tall and firm. As we allow the truth and the gospel of peace, promised by God, to comfort us, there’s nothing that can trouble our hearts or cause fear in our souls. Jesus has already overcome the world (John 16:33), and we have nothing to fear about it. As we live out God’s ways, peace follows. This gospel, like hiking shoes, provides support and strength, allowing us to stand on a firm foundation.

We’ve already mentioned items we put on, that we wear, in our Armor of God outfit. Once these babies are on, they aren’t going anywhere. But what about the shield of faith? This requires us to intentionally hold it up, to shield or block off from the enemy and his wickedness. We have to hold it up the right way, hoping it defects the blows of the enemy. Our arms and shoulders may get sore and shaky trying to hold it up all the time. This is where faith comes in. Let me tell you a little about faith and hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things we cannot see with human eyes (Hebrews 11:1). We look at the word “substance” and may think, “That is something tangible, something we can see and touch and feel.” Faith is real, not some hazy emotion that isn’t established in reality. And we were saved in this hope and hope that is seen is not hope at all. Who hopes for what they actually see? But, Paul tells us, if we hope for what we do not see, we can eagerly wait for its perseverance (Romans 8:24-25). Hope requires a lot of trust.

So, as we saturate our minds with his being and with his truth, we see that God is unchanging and consistent, inviting us to firmly believe that he will fulfill his promises to us. As we believe in God and begin our walk with him, we gain a deeper, more intimate, living, and growing faith through the Holy Spirit. Why a shield? Because it deflects the fiery arrows of fear, doubt, and worry headed at us. In the times our arms and shoulders get weak, not able to hold up our shield, when we stop believing God is in control, we can have faith that is working everything out for our good. When we place our faith in our powerful God and in his care, it’s impossible for Satan to penetrate that shield of yours. Don’t let that faith of yours dwindle, don’t let doubt and fear and worry to cause that shield to come down because it will mess up the rest of your armor, among other things. May your faith be your first line of defense, sister. Get yourself Captain America ready, now.

We understand the importance in our kids’ wearing a helmet when they’re skateboarding or riding a bike, right? We want their precious little noggins protected. We have seen the tragedies and injuries as a result of not wearing a helmet. The helmet of salvation, this piece of your spiritual armor, is not to be underrated. Our helmets protect us from the attacks of the enemy. How? Because this is our helmet of salvation, meaning we are saved or delivered from something. We saved by the power of the enemy and the power of sin over our lives. And this salvation, a beautiful gift from God, not something we can earn or obtain through our own actions, with our wimpy muscles. The hope I mentioned above? It works like a helmet, surrounding and protecting our minds from distress, hopelessness, pain, anguish, and discouragement. So ladies, wear that helmet well! We have these different pieces in our suit of armor to fight the enemy and the wickedness of our world; but how can we be proactive in preparing ourself so the enemy isn’t even within distance of ourselves? How can we keep the devil and his posse far from our hearts, as well as those of our children, our spouses, our homes, etc?

God has given us an offensive tool for battle. This is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (v. 17). So, we’ve got on our breastplate or steel sweater vest on. We’ve got our shoes or Wonder Woman boots on. We have our shield, fashioned after Captain America’s shield (Why not? It’s cool). And finally we have our helmet on, whether you pick the Harley Davidson type, the dirt biker rider type with the mohawk, or the pink helmet you wore skating at Roller Town, when you were ten years old. We’re using our imaginations here but I wanted you to have a picture in your mind of what this would look like for you. These are our spiritual weapons provided by God.

The word of God, the only offensive weapon, is like a sharp two-edged sword. Hebrews 4:11 states, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” I find it interesting and amazing that this sword is sharper than any two-edged sword. There’s no match. There’s nothing greater or more powerful, because it is used with the mighty power of his Holy Spirit. What does God want us to learn here? Remember, the victory we already have in the Lord and his vast strength? This is it sister, this sword, is what will deliver us. The thing is, the armor of God that we have on, is not going to do any good without the sword of the Sprit. We are just moving targets, with metal or steel trying to weigh us down.

God’s word is “a lamp to your feet and a light to your path” (Psalm 119:105). God’s Word helps us discern between the good and the bad and the wise and not-so-wise. This book, God’s story, is our life manual, our precious tool in helping us live our best life possible, free from the straps of darkness and despair. His Word, simple and true, guides us along the yellow brick roads of life as well as the deserted, weed-covered dir paths, without failing, without stumbling. As you dig into God’s Word, be confident in its truth and accuracy. Be confident is who this book is about-God. He is powerful, always present, always protecting, and our strength is in him. This sword reveals and leads us to cut out or surgically remove any thoughts or actions that don’t line up with his purposes and plans. And friend, this is the only thing we need to finish out the work that God created us to do in advance, the good works, he created for you and for me. Be assured of this girlfriend, there is no enemy that the Word of God, partnered with the Holy Spirit, cannot defeat. If you don’t want to wear that heavy armor, if you only use your sword of the Spirit, you are equipped to face the battle of the enemy head on. The struggles of the world are real, they’re around the corner, they come immediately, and we find often find them right in front of us, or slapping us upside the head.

Take up your sword. The battle is yours. You are ready. You are armed. You are prepared.

Next week, we’ll be talking about prayer and how we can use prayer along with the Armor of God and the sword of the Sprit. Look forward to digging in the Word with y’all next week! If you’d like to chat further, if some questions come up about what we discussed, shoot me an email, let’s talk!

Hugging you so tight,

Tammy

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