Saturday, October 26, 2019

Stay Armed

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Ephesians 6:11-13 NASB

Consider where does it say it's ok to let go or that you can let your guard down.  No where does it say that we aren't at war. We are to be ready. 
In Timothy, Paul was trying to prepare his son in the faith for life as a Pastor. But not only as a Pastor but life as a whole.  Our prowling enemy doesn't rest. In many of his attacks he counts on driving us to get no rest. He knows that a tired body means a tired mind. That a tired mind makes mistakes.
From the moment our eyes open we think there's time. Time before the first attack.  Ok. Stop and think about how ironic and ridiculous that statement is. If you can have a first thought in the morning, so can your enemy. He's been either sitting at the sidelines waiting, because God's been watching guard over you as you slept, or if you are an unbeliever, he will attack at any opportunity. 
In other places in the New Testament we are described as soldiers. At no point can a soldier let his guard down.  Not using the latrine, not while on KP.  Wherever they went they kept themselves armed.

But you want to relax and have fun you say?  Well God does too, but, you see, Adam and Eve ruined that for humanity. 
Whereas it's possible to still have fun as a soldier of Christ, you cannot let your guard down. Sin and temptation only need one thing: opportunity. There is many times when our own worst enemy is ourselves. 

Elijah, one of the greatest, if not arguably the greatest Prophet of the Old Testament. Stops it from raining for a very long time through prayer.  Takes on all the worshippers of Baal and proves before all of Israel that the Lord is God.  Ran for his life at hearing of a threat. Nobody is immune to attacks, regardless of how strong they are.  No where in Scripture does it say it's safe in this life.  Only when God calls us home are we safe. 

I will freely admit that I have been knocked down right after my eyes opened on some days. Temptation only needs opportunity.  A stray thought can bring about many a sin.  King David wasn't immune. He began innocently enough thinking he could stay home just once from fighting a battle. He thinks it's good to rest! That he earned a good rest.  Notice the subtlety of temptation? Convincing ourselves of the potential for good in our choices? Then as he is out and about walking.  Enjoying his rest his eyes weren't protected. The eyes go directly to the heart where sin waits. So you can read how that turned out. In a matter of days he went from lust to being a murderer. 
Honestly we are no different.  We fall just as easily.  Oh we can put up a great disguise. Play the part of a stand up Christian.  Not showing anyone the battlefield within us. 
Let me tell you.  There's a enormous reason why accountability is essential in our lives. We can't trust us. 
There's a huge reason why we are to bear one another's burdens. We are ill prepared to handle this life alone. Our enemy just loves to see us convinced that we are ok and can stand on our own.  He loves to see us not relying on others. 
There's great importance in Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and Spirit. To love your neighbor as yourself.  In all purity.  Guarding your mind.

We don't have the strength within ourselves to stand toe-to-toe with sin.

We don't have the fortitude to handle life on our own. 

Only Jesus can tell the storm to hush and be still.  Only Jesus can command us to step out on the water.  Only Jesus is our King and conqueror of sin. We can't do any of that! Although our sin nature and our enemies will always subtly tell us we can. 

Oh that storm is too big! It's relentless! It's too much for me!  It hurts!  I can't take it!

Guess what.  You're right. 

You were never going to be able to fight a Spiritual war and win when you have never grown up Spiritually to be able to put on the very armor God calls us to wear. Only those who have given their lives to Christ grow Spiritually.  Only those in Christ are protected by His promises.  Only those who are in the fight know how to wield the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Only those can put on the helmet of Salvation. Take up the shield of faith.  

King Saul tried to have David the Shepherd put on his armor to go face Goliath.  Guess what, it didn't fit. Why? Because God fits HIS armor to each of US.  You can't wear my armor and I can't wear yours. We don't face the exact same things each day. It's a different battlefield for each of us.  

We indeed can relax in this life.  It's not impossible.  But take note of what happens in the physical world of battle.  There's a time for R&R. A time where it's safe, but you need to not let your guard down.  King David was still known as a man after God's own heart.  He learned a painful lesson. His disobedience brought about a deeper relationship with God.  God still caused all things to work together for good in David.  Read Psalms. The emotions evident came from a deep trust and love for God.  Came through many trials and temptations. 

You will be on the same road as he. It's the same road that I am on.  Keep your armor on. Keep helping one another. Don't try to fight alone. As Scripture says a chord of three strands isn't easily broken. 

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