Saturday, June 27, 2015

STAND FIRM & PRAY PRAY PRAY: The Full Armor of God Series (Part 6)

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)

As we wrap up our study on The Full Armor of God, it is most important to review the first and final instructions noted in Paul's letter in Ephesians 6. Paul wrote this passage knowing that mankind is unable to defeat Satan alone. He was full aware that without Christ and the armor of God, we would be overwhelmed and defeated by our enemy. So, Paul made sure to repeatedly tell us to stand firm in our God-given armor and hold true to our position in Jesus Christ.

Personally, I think one of the hardest things in the whole world is to stand firm. It goes against my best instincts to not hold up my fists while formulating my own plan of attack against those who want to hurt me. But this is not about me. Nor should it be about something that I accomplish to gain glory for myself. Rather, this is about how we are to ward off the enemy while giving God all the glory. It is clear that the only place our Heavenly Father expects us to be before, during, and after an attack from Satan is standing firm in God's armor and alert - in constant communication with our Maker.

Since Paul makes the point for us to stand firm and pray in the Spirit on ALL occasions, we should rethink the whole battle plan. For in truth, the exercise to stand firm should take place irrespective of Satan's presence or not. Regardless of our enemies, sin, or circumstances, we are to be most concerned about furthering our spiritual relationship with our Creator and lifting up our fellow believers to do the same. We must focus on the fact that our Master is really the One who has already defeated the prince of darkness. No matter how hard things can get or how tragic this world seems, He is the Shepherd who will ward off all danger and make His sheep lie down in green pastures while restoring our souls. He is the only One we should know... the only One we should be listening to... the only One we should follow and trust... the only One we should seek after.

Read these wonderful words of our Savior from John 10, "I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

Yes, we must be branded with the armor of our Lord. We must wear every piece with full confidence of God's intention and power to protect us, and we must be aware and ready for any attack that may challenge His authority by being equipped with His word. But to do this, it is most important that we make every effort to BE WITH OUR ALMIGHTY GOD.... ALWAYS!

Look again at what Paul says in Ephesians, "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."
What does a life of PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT look like? It is taking to heart Jesus' own words in John 15:4 when he tells us, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you." I especially love the wording used in the King James translation which says, "Abide in me, and I will abide in you."

Abide in Jesus. Commune with Him. Live with Him in ALL occasions. Worship and pray and communicate... eat, breathe, sleep, exercise, work, play... EVERYTHING with Him. Let your Spirit rejoice in His presence always. Experience this alone and together as His church. But remain with Him always! Because apart from being with Christ, we can do nothing.... we are nothing. Our identity is with Him. Our security is in Him. Our existence and life is only because of HIM.

With that in mind, let's not diminish the importance of being prepared and putting on the full armor He gives us. Each piece is vital to our life, and He calls us to wear His armor to remain free from the devil's schemes and avoid struggling with this sinful world. But let's not give Satan center stage on this (or any) matter. No, let's keep our focus on our wonderful Master. Let's give Him our full and undivided attention when it comes to His instructions regarding our safety and growth. Let's worship His Name when we read these verses because we know the battle is His. He took it all on. He saved us from eternal hardship when He died on the cross. He paid for us with His own blood.

Yes, the war is still on - and it is raging! But, ladies, the battle has already been won!!! Jesus is the victor! He is the King over all other kings and will not share His glory with another. The only fitting response to His love and protection for us is seeking Him daily in all occasions... praying... worshiping Him in the Spirit... remaining fully devoted to our Messiah.

Let's follow Paul's instructions and lift up Jesus name and seek Him in all forms of prayer: in public or in private... with our families, during small group meetings, in worship services, convocations... in our personal devotions, quiet meditations, with our families at mealtime... first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening... sporadically and scheduled. With our armor secure, let's confess our sinful inadequacies and lay them at His feet. Let's intercede for one another praying for those in danger, sickness, or crisis. Let's petition together to receive every gift of physical life and spiritual grace that He wants to bestow upon His people. Let's bow down in thanksgiving to Him for all He provides and gives us.

Yes, we can pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. We can stand firm in His armor to live fully and without worry about the attacks of our enemies. All we must do is abide in our Savior. For He has promised to abide in us!

Thank you, dear Jesus, for being our Shepherd. Thank you for giving us the necessary armor to protect us and ward off the wolves who wish to destroy us. We give you our full adoration that you are so worthy of and deserve. We focus all our energies on knowing and loving you with all our hearts. Help us to stand firm as we encounter your infinite holiness, majesty and perfection. There is no greater Master and Commander than you, our Holy Holy King. We will praise and trust you FOREVER!



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

1 comment:

  1. This is really so true, Lord make me a faithful servant.


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