"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to and your ground and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm with the, with the belt of truth buckled around you waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."
Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV
I hope the journey in understanding your spiritual arsenal
has been a productive one thus far.
I went to a women's conference this past weekend and the speaker drew parallels between women and lionesses. There were so many wonderful things to say about the beautiful creatures and how, as women of God we were not unlike them. As I reflected on the weekend, I thought that it would be such a shame if the lioness (or lion), in all their strength and majesty, didn't realize just how strong and majestic they were. How sad and what a shame to not know who you truly are. We are creations of God Himself, and when we come into relationships with Almighty God, we are His sons and daughters. If you don't know who you are, you forfeit the right to the power that is your birthright. Knowing the weapons of your warfare is absolutely necessary. The force and authority that it provides you is incomparable.
Feet That Wear the Gospel of Peace
It is so funny because with the arrival of different
situations and frustrations I find myself throwing my head back and raising my
hands and saying, "GOD! Pleeeease grant me peace!" As if the desire for peace is my last resort;
my white flag raising moment after I've tried to figure everything out for
myself first. Then when I can't make
heads or tails of it, I say, "Ok God.
Tag, you're it! You try and figure this one out." (As I'm typing this I'm coming to the
conclusion that perhaps the key to peace is often getting His take on a
situation before it even becomes a situation.)
If God's desire is for us to experience and abundant life, that must include peace. Merriam-Webster has several definitions for it, but the one that grabbed me was: "something accepted or promoted as infallible truth or as a guiding principle or doctrine." So what is the truth or doctrine of peace? Let's look at the infallible Word of God.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 64:6,7 NKJV
God doesn't desire for us to live under the enormous pressure of constant stress and strain. Yes, there are things that will arise on the day to day that we will have to be concerned about, things we must give some thought to. But to allow yourself to get so wrapped up in a problem that it robs you of your peace? No, that is not God's plan. The scripture here doesn't specify what requests can and cannot be made known to God, which indicates we are free to express every concern. Now my desire to replace my faithful Honda, Jabez (yes, I name my cars!), with a Lexus just 'cause I think I would look good driving a brand new Lexus? Maybe not. Whether or not to start your own business? Finding yourself discouraged with a friendship? Follow the Word and "with prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God."
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
-John 14:27 NKJV
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
-John 16:33 NKJV
The Lord makes the truth of peace very clear to us. He has overcome the world! Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world! So the truth about peace is that it was provided for us a long time ago. That knowledge is a weapon that you can fight with, something to protect yourself with.
Helmet of Salvation
A helmet protects the brain. Our thoughts about and perceptions of a situation are formed in the mind. If we don't remember what salvation is and how and why we came to receive the gift, the enemy can really send us on a mental trip. He's done it to me on more than one occasion. He can lie to us through his teeth and we'll believe him if we don't protect our minds.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
-Romans 3:23 NKJV
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
-Romans 6:23 NKJV
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
-John 14:6 NKJV
None of us are exempt from the declaration of the first verse. Without salvation, we were sinners who deserved death. God was gracious and loved us enough to send us a Savior to forgive our sin. If we remember that we have been redeemed and justified by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, a spotless lamb (offering), how can we possibly allow ourselves to feel powerless against attacks of the enemy? We have been bought by perfection; God, through His Son/God-made-flesh, Jesus Christ. THAT is who YOU are. Know your identity. What's more, remember it is so the enemy can't trip you out with his lies. He would have you believe that your salvation is not enough. That maybe it didn't apply to you because you were "too deep" in sin. No such thing. Salvation is/was strong enough to bring any man or woman from a life of sin.
Cover your feet with peace and walk forth in the direction that you know God has lead you to because you have sought His face, as the Word instructs and you've received your confirmation. Protect your mind with the knowledge and understanding of your salvation and what it cost God.
That arsenal is getting bigger. How good does that feel?
Shari Grant is a Registered Nurse in South Florida, where she was raised in a (very!) Jamaican home. Some of the loves of her life are words (both reading and writing them) and missions work. She enjoys spending time with friends and family while living for a good laugh - one that makes her belly ache and her eyes water. Her bottom line goal in life is to make the Lord smile and maybe even serve Him up a chuckle from time to time, too.
*Photos of women are from the Armor Edition, the fashion collection of JK Experience.