Tuesday, October 4, 2022

After You Get Dressed

After You Get Dressed 
by David Brenneman 

Many are familiar with what's called putting on the full armor of God as written in Ephesians 6. If not, read it here:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 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. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Ephesians 6:10-17 NASB 

The part of reading that got me this morning was what and why.  Essentially, you just got dressed, ok what's next?  You go to work and in many instances PPE is involved. Personal Protective Equipment. Things like safety glasses, possibly a bright vest, possibly a smock, possibly a hard hat or other things.  What comes next?  You finding out from your boss "What's next? What are we doing today?"

There is a "What's next?" written in Ephesians right after you're told how to dress:

"With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints," Ephesians 6:18 NASB 

Verse 12 tells us the "Why".  Most recently this has been hitting home with me.  In several, greatly unexpected, sets of circumstances I have been mentally broadsided.  Both from Believers and those whom I believe aren't saved yet.  How I react to those situations is what I believe that the "What's next?" part means the most. 

Contrary to popular belief this world is a rough, nasty, place.  We keep trying to recreate it into our own image of Heaven here on Earth.  We try to "toughen up" against what others do to us and move on.  

There is possibly a problem with that. 

We don't get dressed for nothing.  We who are in Christ are visiting here.  This world is not our home.   No matter where you are, you are in a foreign country.  You are also, as the text implies, behind enemy lines. 

Attacks can come from anywhere and anyone.   I have been hit by both people whom I considered strong in the Lord at one time and by those whom as I said earlier don't appear to be saved yet.  

We don't get dressed for nothing.  Be it for work, for around the house, or for battle. 

The 'next' serves a purpose.  It's those deeds we do so that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.  It's those deeds we do that count for something in Heaven when we are face-to-face with Jesus. 

"With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints," Ephesians 6:18 NASB 

See that part in the middle?  Until today I missed it.  "on the alert with all perseverance and petition".

First we know what alert means.  It's to give focused attention for something, eliminating all distractions. 

Second perseverance.  This is what started my thoughts on the what's next. 

Perseverance implies not stopping. To push through. To stick with it. Don't give up. 

Third is "and petition".  A petition is our prayers. That goes back a step to "in the Spirit".

To be honest my first reaction to the things that I have been facing was to just think "Oh wow.  They certainly are having a bad day. Probably best to just let sleeping dogs lie and go away" and that would be the end of it.  But that's not what Paul is saying to do in Ephesians.  We are dressed for those very same battles. Do something with what we are dressed for!  

So my train of thought is changing. To not just consider the situation as seen, but to pray soon if not immediately concerning that person!  That's what I am dressed for. 
That's the reality of life.  We are told to pray without ceasing and to rejoice always in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NASB "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Setting our minds on the things that are above sets our priorities.  It's us aligned with Jesus as to what we are doing in what we are dressed for.

I won't lie. It was a crushing thing to me personally when it was those whom I looked to as being strong in the Lord snapping at me moreso than the others.  I am forever grateful for learning HALT. 

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.  It helps me to understand the situations that I face with people.  They may be how they are being, but, it gives me specifics on how to pray immediately.  Yesterday's incident I saw all 4 in a person.  The other Believer that snapped at me, I saw several of those.  

We have to use the armor as intended. Not just put it on and wait for what we hope isn't a pending battle. The reason we are to properly put it on is because a battle will be coming.  The world will not accept the things of God.  They won't want to play nice.   Jesus said they hated me, they're not going to be all that fond of you on account of Me (my paraphrase).

Praying immediately is the will of the Spirit of God.  Saying you will and yet not is called being a hypocrite. We are told in Matthew 5:37 NASB "But make sure your statement is, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil origin."

Satan wants us to forget to pray. 
Satan wants us to put our hurt feelings in the way and to not pray. 
Satan wants us to not forgive in order to get us to not pray. 
Satan wants us to just not pray, period. 

He will introduce whatever he can to give that perfect excuse to keep a prayer from happening.  

Realize that earlier part of Ephesians 6 is what life is about.  We need to be fully devoted followers of Christ.  The Bible says of itself "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

So get dressed for today.  When opportunity strikes, pray. Don't hesitate. Be on the alert. 

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