Ephesians 6:10-13 (NKJV)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Girdles, I believe, are torture device contrived by men to exact revenge on helpless women. Have you ever worn one of those things? And for those men reading this today, don’t act all “holier than thou” when it comes to appearance. We diet and exercise to lose weight so that our clothes fit better and we look better. Sometimes it is hard to discern what we are really after in the name of better health. But for those of us with great aspirations but little self-control there are a plethora of enhancements to be found in the lingerie department of our favorite store. We have girdles to suck it in and padding to push it out. If that doesn’t work there is underwire to push up and hairspray to “jack it to Jesus”. We have firming lotion for those who fear facelifts. Appearance does affect how others receive us at least in the world in which we live. Assumptions are immediately made simply by a 30-second evaluation when we first see another person many times before a single word is spoken. Guilty as charged. When I began to make some life changes, it just so happened to coincide with our son’s cancer battle. It was an emotional decision to take back my mind, soul and body. I shed about twenty pounds gained eating hospital food and spending countless hours sitting with our son. I didn’t feel well so I changed what I was eating…but people assumed that consumed by grief I was not eating at all. When I discovered those little rushes that are given off by endorphins, I found a release for my overactive mind. This revelation produced a consistent routine of exercise with further changed my appearance in the midst of our chaotic life. People assumed that I was wasting away from despair. I have a drawer full of slips, girdles and other female “torture” devices but what I have discovered in this process is that the change in my mind cannot match the change in my heart and mind but struggles to keep up. My strength comes from the Lord. My Power is in His Might alone. As I strive to put on the whole armor of God, I no longer need to paste a fake smile on my face covering my tear-stained cheeks with Maybelline. Because rather than being overcome by the lie of the enemy, I have found freedom in the Truth. I am girded by truth according to God’s Word that keeps me from the inside out from falling to the temptations of fear and doubt so my faith is strengthened and confident hope remains.
Ephesians 6:14-20 (NKJV)
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
I attend a full-gospel church. We believe in Father, Son and Spirit. We believe that the Word of God is Truth and holds no exceptions. We believe that salvation comes one Way – through Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus died for our sins, rose again on the third day and ascended to the Father’s Throne where He intercedes for us today. He sent His Spirit to empower the believer to do greater things than even Jesus did during His Short Stay on the earth. Where is the Power in the Body of Christ today? We must check our garments to be certain that we have not become so involved in improving our appearance that we have forgotten our core values that produce soul prosperity and strength. Our pastor recently polled the congregation by a show of hands who was raised in the Baptist church, almost the entire building raised their hands. But now they are attending a “full gospel” church because most of the Baptist congregations do not believe in the Gift of the Holy Spirit. What I have found is that His Spirit has activated the Word of God in my life and now I am experiencing the Glory of God given by the Goodness of God to those who believe. I don’t have to pretend everything is okay or going to turn out fine because it will. I have changed undergarments no longer girding myself naturally but now I do so spiritually – you can, too!
Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are more than conquerors who tend to hide in caves rather than stand in victory. The crazy part is that Jesus Christ overcame the world so we don’t have to fight just receive His Glory. If I can get this into your spirit today, your life will change even if your circumstances do not! We are not battling cancer in our family but the lie of the enemy that our son might die. Every day the enemy whispers in my ear “what if the treatment doesn’t work” or “what if he gets an infection when he is immunocompromised’? If the enemy can find a way to commandeer my thoughts and overtake my mind, he will win the battle for my soul as I am pulled away from the Lord into the darkness of fear and doubt. What is your worst fear? It is the enemy’s greatest weapon in your life. It is time to find the Truth in God’s Word and allow it to free you from your fear. There is nothing that can ever separate us from the Love of God unless we choose to surrender our life for the lie. In doing so, it is not God that moves away from us but rather we who decide to leave the Lord.
Ephesians 3:8-12 (NKJV)
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
It’s all in your head, no really it is all in our head when it comes to faith and confident hope. The enemy cannot harm the righteous. He cannot snatch you from the Hand of God. The Good Shepherd has gird you up in many ways. He has encircled you with His Unfailing Love and all its many benefits. The Lord has surrounded you and enclosed you with His Grace and Mercy. He has prepared you for this fight for faith with careful instructions outlined in His Word. He has provided you His Spirit empowering you, equipping you and strengthening you to stand to the very end and give Him the glory that He deserves while experiencing the blessings and promises for those who overcome. It is a win-win. But victory begins in the heart and moves to the head. You must believe by faith in Jesus Christ enough to stand strong when the enemy begins to try to invade your thoughts and mind. You must fortify your thinking so you will not be taken over by evil but overcome with good. Faith gives us access to confident hope which will become the anchor for our soul if allowed to take hold. Jesus Christ disarmed the enemy (Colossians 2:13-15) and every principality when He snatched the keys to death and the grave from satan’s gnarly hand. Nothing has any power over you unless you choose to give it credibility which includes the lie of the enemy. Have you let the enemy get in your head?
John 14:1-6 (NKJV)
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Doubting Thomas or Negative Nancy – it doesn’t matter their name because the damage they do is the same. Always pointing out the obvious or accepting natural outcomes as the reality that they live by. I am not saying that we all should live with our head in the clouds, but seriously where is faith? Where is hope? Where is the Truth? How do I find it in the midst of doubters, naysayers and negativity? This is the work of the enemy in the heart of many people in this day and age. We are supposed to make the best of a bad situation. Well, I say phooey on that. Jesus told Thomas, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” I have been given a direction now it is up to me to take some action.
I must gird my waist with the Truth. How can I do this if I don’t know the Word of God? I can’t and neither can you. If you know the Truth, it will set you free otherwise you have nothing to hold on to. You must study and learn the Word of God in a practical manner. “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)
I must put on a breastplate of righteousness and stop trying to make one myself. Righteousness if found in Christ alone. I can do nothing to earn it or pay for it. I must receive it as a gift no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. Righteous is found in Jesus Christ who is the Word made flesh. The Truth of God’s Word came to us wrapped in a human body so we could see His Love. (John 1:14) If I do not accept righteousness on God’s Terms, it will never cover me as it is intended to do. Religion does not produce righteousness. Salvation is the only source of such a thing. It is accepted not produced and the sooner I learn that the better I will be protected when the enemy tells me all the reasons that I am not worthy of God’s Love, Grace and Mercy. I can just say, “I know!” then continue to walk in joy, peace and love.
I must shod my feet with the Gospel of Peace. I must follow the example of Jesus Christ who won the battle for my soul walking in peace and love. He did not rant and rave like a madman. In fact, there were times that He said nothing at all on His Journey to the Cross. When He needed to vent, Jesus went directly to His Father where His Words could do no harm. The Word separates good from evil and the Truth from the lie. But in such division, it binds together all God’s Beloved Children with love. (Romans 5:5-6) Those who stand on the Word do so in love with other people even those who rub us wrong in the middle of trials and diverse temptation. This probably takes the most work of all sometimes because let’s face it working out one’s salvation would be a whole lot easier if there were not so many people involved. We must always walk in love!
I must hold tight to my shield of faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of the unseen. (Hebrews 11:1) This makes faith hard to hold on to and elusive for those who still try to find faith in the seen rather than grabbing hold of the unseen. The only thing that can stop the lie of the enemy from penetrating your heart is the Shield of Faith. What do you believe? If it is only in the things you see, you are missing out on life. “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” (Romans 4:16-18) I wish that I could recall the number of times that a doctor or nurse who is caring for our son has called me laughing. They cannot believe the craziness of cancer that evaporates or blood counts unaffected by large doses of chemotherapy. If you met my son and did not know his history, you would never believe that he has had cancer five times or undergone four rounds of chemotherapy. He has managed to go to school and live his life apart from the ravaging effects of the disease. Why? It is the Resurrection Power of God flowing in his veins that when the enemy lies and says that our son will die, Jesus says, “No he’s not!” When the last nurse called laughing, she began to profusely apologize for her lack of self-control. I assured her that there was no need because she would be doing a lot of it throughout the bone marrow transplant. Our son is mandated by God to live and not die. I believe that God meant exactly that when He told me so over two years ago. I believe that God’s Word never returns void and must do what it says. I believe that God’s does not lie or ever change His Mind. This is our blessed assurance in all things supernatural by the Power and Authority of Christ invested in me. When I drop my guard and do not hang on my faith, the enemy will get in my head and wreak havoc on my thoughts.
I must always remember the helmet of my salvation. When all else fails, His Grace is sufficient for me. I am going to fall in my faith from time to time because I am only human but then God knocks on that helmet to make sure that His Message of Love, Mercy and Forgiveness are getting through to me. “My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; tie them around your neck. When you roam, they[a] will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep you; and when you awake, they will speak with you. For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life…” (Proverbs 6:20-23)
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NKVJ)
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
The Sword of the Spirit is the only weapon we have. The Truth overcomes a lie every single time. The Holy Spirit seals us as His Precious Children and guarantees our inheritance. The Word of God is the two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) that continually works to separate good and evil in our life exposing the lie of the enemy so it can be swiftly dealt with and eradicating from our thoughts and mind. Knowledge is important to the validity of faith. It empowers it making it strong enough to become confident hope. Growing up in the Baptist church, I knew the Word of God. It was not until I was introduced to the Holy Spirit that became powerful in my life. As it divides good and evil, we begin to experience holiness. We are separated from the fear and doubt bore of our struggles to become firm in our faith so no matter where we are or what we are going through the Truth allows us to stand. Paul called himself an Ambassador in Chains. Enough said.
Hosea 6:1-3 (NKJV)
Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His Sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.
As New Testament believers, God’s Grace, Mercy and Compassion has come to us through Jesus Christ. Now it is our privilege to know Him and pursue Him. The Truth sets us free to know Him. Pursuit of God’s Word and Power for our life separates us from those things that used to hold us back as we release fear and doubt to fully embrace salvation and put on the armor of God in our drive for holiness. God is working on us from the inside out. He does this by simply promoting His Truth. We accept His Truth by faith and it becomes confident hope so that no matter where we are or what is going on – we have the victory. You are free from faking it until you make it by faith. You can live in freedom holding nothing back by girding your heart with His Love and Promises. As such a revelation of God’s Love overtakes you, there will be no need to focus on your appearance you will glow in the Light of His Love!
John 8:31-32 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”