Thursday, June 25, 2015

FAITH & SALVATION: The Full Armor of God Series (Part 4)

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 stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your 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. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:11-18)

Are you headed in the right direction?

For me, it is interesting and quite sad to observe the many, many, MANY people who thoughtlessly claim Christianity as their "religion of choice". Yes, I said "claiming a religion" rather than actually following Christ. You see, most "Christians" of today are not really devoted to seek after and obey Jesus. Sure, many state to be followers of the Messiah, but unfortunately they do not produce any actual fruit in their lives.

Their profile is generally the same: They do not participate in any form of regular public worship or Bible study. They are not involved with a church family. They rarely step outside of their comfort zone to love those that are viewed unlovable. They never, never, NEVER tithe or give a percentage of any amount of income to further God's kingdom or rely on His provision. They hardly consider reading scripture much less worry about memorizing the Word. They rarely pray or make time to be alone with God. They are undisciplined in seeking the Savior daily... in fact, it is often the least important matter to them and falls last on their long list of priorities (as an afterthought that they didn't meet on their daily to do list).

Frankly, in my eyes, these "Christians" appear to be exactly the same as those lost and unsaved in this world. Their only difference is their need to say otherwise - making a point to appear and sound like other Christians (just enough to get by). But if you look closely - if you focus on what they do rather than what they say - you will see a person that remains in in the same spiritually place year after year after year.

No place.

Interestingly enough, these are usually the folks that are the most vocal about questioning God's intentions and complaining about what is wrong. They are usually hot tempered or easily depressed... or both! They truly believe that their life on earth should yield the worldly mindset of "living their best life now" and are unable to find rest without some kind of assurance that God will produce as they have romanticized and imagined. So, they seek outside answers from anyone who claims to be an expert - even those of secular, worldly authority. They are not convinced that just abiding with God is enough. No, they must know the purpose He has set out for them to do, so they can do it NOW! They must know every detail, every outcome, every timeline - especially just how long their trials and dry spells will last. They must have the blueprints to how this whole "life" thing will turn out so they can drive (rather than God). They must KNOW everything so they can best control and plan and scheme.

Usually, somewhere between the joyful and difficult circumstances of their day-to-day, they may hear a motivating statement that puts their restless heart temporarily at ease. With that motivation, they fool themselves into thinking they are emotionally close to God... they can "feel" Him. Of course, at the first sign of trouble, their "faith" wavers in tandem with their present situation and mood, after which the questioning cycle begins all over again.

These people are followers, just not of Christ. They seek only to learn some great quotes and possibly a little scripture by means of others who (in their eyes) may seem enlightened or wise. But never, ever do these "Christians" personally turn to God's Word and trust the Holy Spirit to lead them in their daily walk. No, the Bible is just too difficult to read and study. It requires entirely too much time and energy. Surely, God will show them His truth some other way... an easier way.

These are the lukewarm that make-up the majority of our "Christian" society. The lost who state they are found and turn faith into opportunity. These are the "Christians" who are consumed with SELF rather than SERVICE. POWER rather than HIS PRESENCE. WISHES rather than WORSHIP. COMFORT rather than CHRIST.

I know these "Christians" all too well. In fact, I was once one of them. Sadly, they show up here on DW, in our churches... even in our families. They are relatives, friends, acquaintances... and, if you look close enough, you may even see some leading as pastors, spiritual teachers, musicians and authors. Worse yet... perhaps this "Christian" is you...?

It is here where I will begin our study on the Shield of FAITH and the Helmet of SALVATION. A shield and helmet that compliment their effectiveness against a wicked, relentless enemy that wants us DEAD spiritually and physically. These pieces of vital armor will offer us the cornerstone of Jesus Christ who by his abundant grace and mercy offered HIMSELF as a sacrifice on our behalf, so that we may find fullness and true love while living in His presence forever. Please read the following quotes below... these are some of my favorites concerning faith and salvation:

"The real issue in life is not the search for God's will; it is the search for God. The issue in faith is not knowing what God is doing, rather it is knowing that God knows what he is doing. The issue of faith is seeking God's presence, not God's plan for my life, because there is no plan outside of my knowing Him." ~Mike Yaconelli

"Faith is God's work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (see John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn't stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words. Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they're smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do." ~Martin Luther

Ladies, to wear the armor that God has provided us as stated in Ephesians 6... to fend off the enemy from the horrors that he most certainly will throw our way... we must believe in Jesus and accept His gift of salvation. Then we must continue to ask Him to keep our faith strong while we spend the rest of eternity seeking God's Holy presence and believing He is WHO He promised.

It is true freedom to be able to give everything to Him. It is freedom to know the promises of our trustworthy Creator. We are to love Him more than our own families, more than our spouses, more than our children... MORE THAN OUR OWN LIVES! For He is bigger than all that - for what we see and know in this world is only temporary. But God is eternal. To hold His shield and wear His helmet... to wear His belt, to secure His breastplate, and to strap on His shoes... we must pick up each piece of His armor and PUT THEM ON... FOREVER! We must never remove them! We must always SEEK HIM! Our lives will be abundant and full, not because we find something to do, some purpose to fulfill. Rather, HE is our something! JESUS is our purpose!!! Our lives will be abundant and full BECAUSE WE ARE WITH HIM... ATTACHED AND CLINGING TO HIM! SEEKING HIS FACE! WEARING HIS GRACE! SHOWCASING HIS MERCY! BELIEVING HIS WORDS! SHARING HIS MESSAGE! TRUSTING HIS PLAN!

Ladies, all we must do to LIVE is remain close to Him.
Are you close to Him?

Tomorrow, we will discuss the Sword of the Spirit... THE WORD OF GOD. Until then, I encourage you to take time out to assess your relationship with Christ. Are you a real Christian or a lukewarm "Christian"? Do you follow Him as He has called you to do? Do you seek Him over anyone/anything else? Is He greater to you than your own life? Do you trust Him no matter what?

Be honest. Does your Christian life produce spiritual fruit?
Are you headed in the right direction?
Or are you in the same spiritual place year after year after year?

I pray the Holy Spirit will work in each of us. I pray for spiritual revival in all DW's. I pray that this little ministry will produce fruit that domino effects the love of Jesus to our homes, churches, communities, and countries. I pray that our Christianity will represent following Jesus at all cost! I trust my Savior and know that He is EVERYTHING! I pray you will join me and know His fullness personally. When the enemy attacks and tries to steer me away, I will raise my shield and secure my helmet with the assurance of His salvation and the hope found safely with my Master!

Sweet Jesus, please show me more and more of You. I seek you alone and put aside everything else! Be Thou My Vision.... nothing else, precious King.... only YOU!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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