Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Shield

Ephesians 6:16
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

The Shield of Fatih is the Christian's protection against the attack of the enemy. When faced with authentic faith in God the powers of darkness are overcome. This is why the apostle John could say for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

One of the greatest pieces of armament that was ever created was the shield. Shields have been key in any successful military force. From ancient warriors to modern riot police; shields are being used. Though the type and durability of shields have changed over the centuries shields are an essential piece of equipment. Imagine being a warrior without a shield. You have a lot more to worry about than before and a lot more energy is exerted to dodge attacks because the shield isn't present.

A shields elementary purpose is to intecept an attack or redirect a blow. That is what our faith does. Sometimes we pray that God delivers us from stuff we are meant to endure. When we engage in a battle and must step out in faith as the enemy approaches to attack we can have confidence to know that as the blow comes in we can position our faith in a way to break up its intended purpose.

Don't just have faith. Actually PUT faith in God.

To have faith in something is like having faith a wall will hold you up. I have faith that if I lean against any wall in my office it will be able to hold me up. Yet if I never lean against it what good is that faith? So what you can quote books of the Bible. So what you got gold stars for perfect attendance in Sunday School. If what you now isn't how you act, than what you know is worthless. It is a whole other thing to say I have faith and actually commit to leaning on that very faith.

One other great thing about a shield is that you can use it to help those battling beside you. Our faith can be an encouragment to others who may be struggling to endure the very trials that we are in or have already overcome.

Intercept, redirect, can't do any of it if you're not engaged in faith.

Friday, June 17, 2011

God's Foot Locker

Ephesians 6:15
And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

Without good shoes or shoes that actually fit the soldier that soldier would not be able to hold his ground in battle.

Your feet fitted: is a call to step into YOUR anointing, YOUR purpose, YOUR life with God and not living someone else's. It is easy to see the glory in a persons life but you may not know the struggle that person went through to get there. I remember in Bible college all us young buck preachers wanted to be like T.D. Jakes. One of his catch phrases was "Get ready, get ready, get ready." It was often imitated by several of us. I believe I sounded most like the Bishop. But T.D. Jakes has an anointing for what he does where he is by God. I am not to be T.D. Jakes Jr. I am to be like Christ and find my identity in Him.

When we try to live a life based on the outward appearance of another human we fail to see God's original purpose for us. Try God's Foot Locker and put on the shoes that have been designed with you in mind.

The readiness means to be ready to make a faithful stand. Sometimes peace is brought about through an act of aggression. Like I have said before part of living right is being prepared to fight. There must come a point where as Christians we become intolerant of the nonsense and speak the truth of the gospel. In doing so the message of the gospel of peace which is that those who trust and believe in God are no longer on the receiving end of His wrath.

Those who stand firm in their anointing and their God directed purpose are not easily tripped up by temptation. The peace that Jesus gives in knowing who we are in Him is liberating. We are liberated to have life to the fullest when we experience it in the way God intended for us.

Go in this peace and return in the victory.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Righteous Swag

Ephesians 6:14
...with the breastplate of righteousness in place.

The Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate was one of the single most important elements of the Roman armor. If any soldier decided not to wear their breastplate they were asking to be killed. The breastplate protected the vital organs. Many commanders would also wear it for swagger.

Righteousness means to be just or act justly. Isaiah 59 says that the Lord puts on "righteousness as a breastplate" and goes into battle against injustice and corruption, restoring peace and order to the land. God offers us His righteousness and the duties that go along with it.

Sometimes as Christians we can assume that our religion makes us righteous but that is NOT the case.

James 1:27 says,
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Our duties in righteousness is to "look after" which means protect, stand up for, support, and be a guardian of. To act, think, walk, and talk justly. This involves getting involved. No one believes a person to be righteous if they don't act accordingly.

You keep yourself from being polluted by guarding your own heart. You can only guard your heart with something that is as pure as righteousness. To be righteous a person must have integrity; publicly and privately. A righteous person is not enticed to lay it down for momentary pleasures.

Having the breastplate of righteousness in place means that it is secured; not in oneself but in Jesus. It is a command to never retreat. There is no rear defense. Nothing to guard the back. Only to engage in the mission. Righteousness must stand the test of time. It must endure to the end. When the battle gets difficult they don't run they raze hell.

Those who stay true to righteousness definitely have some swag.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Keep the Belt Tight

Ephesians 6:14
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist...

The Belt of Truth
When preparing for battle, the belt would have been the first piece of protective armor put on. It was more than a strap around the waist. It had other leather straps with brass plates connected to them which hung over the groin area of the soldier.

Belts were used to tie up the garments so they would not get in the way while fighting. Without the belt the armor becomes weak and wobbly. The same goes with the truth. If we don't have a definite absolute truth everything else becomes weak, awkward and a burden. The call to already have "buckled" is a call to already be prepared. You start with the truth. You can't go any further if you don't have the truth.

This truth is not relative. This isn't theology or doctrine. It is the one simple truth that everything else hangs on. JESUS. In the movie A Few Good Men Colonel Jessep says, "You can't handle the truth!" I believe when we try to add so many other things (theologies and doctrines) to the truth of Jesus whether they're indeed the truth or not it begins to make the truth harder to handle. The person of Jesus begins to get blurred. We are meant to be replicas of Jesus and a replica is no good if it has things added to it based on a belief about the original.

Jesus said that He is the truth. There is no other truth besides Him.

In our faith we cannot get anything else right if our understanding of Jesus is askew. It doesn't matter what you believe about the rapture, if you are pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, or about speaking in tongues, and all the other debatable topics. They come second to Jesus and a far second at best.

We cannot do Christianity right with a false Christ. An image of a true Christian is found in Christ. We find our purpose, our mission, our hope, our joy, our peace, our freedom and our life in Jesus.

So make sure the belt is tight and you'll be able to stay in the fight.