He is getting us ready, the next step is coming and He wants us ready, willing and able! Our Great Redeemer is equipping us for victory and it is so exciting to watch and see how is working in all of us!
This week I want you to see where the enemy attacks us and the truth that sets and keeps us free. Be sure to read to the end because I have something special for you to do. I promise, it’s really cool and so very much the heart of God for you.
1.Our Body (Physically and our Emotions): Food is a huge issue today. Look at how much time we spend on diets, on changing our appearance, and generally being dissatisfied with how we look. I know this has been a huge area of grief, distraction and bondage for me for years. Food has almost taken on a god-like persona in our world and in our lives, as has an obsession with how we look and how others perceive us. This even goes back to the Garden of Eden, the very first temptation used under the guise of food. And only after they’d sinned did they become aware of their appearance (nakedness).
But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. — 1 Samuel 16:7
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. — Proverbs 4:23
2.Our Mind (Mentally): The enemy wants us to question our beliefs and create doubt—doubt in our faith, our salvation and the truth. If we are uncertain of what and why we believe, then we lack confidence to speak God’s truth for own benefit and the benefit of others.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. — Romans 12:2
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. — 1 Peter 3:15-16
3.Our Trust (Spiritually): Again and especially to doubt who God is. That He is good and always works for our good. To doubt God’s provision for us, even when His Word says He is our provider.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:19
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28
In his book Spirit Wars, Kris Vallotton points out five places that the enemy attacks:
- Identity (who we are)
- Motives (why we serve God. Notice how satan tries to tempt Jesus with power by appealing to His pride. The enemy does this to us, then condemns us for our pride.)
- Our relationship with God (Do we even have one? Does God even want one with us? The enemy loves to make you think you are unworthy to stand before God. But you are because you now wear the righteousness of Christ. This is your birthright!)
- Our ability to accomplish our mission (Our calling)
- Our quality of life and ministry (Our testimony and message)
Kris also makes two great points. One, when we are in the wilderness, the enemy and God wants us there but they have different reasons. The enemy wants us there to destroy us. God wants us there so we can destroy the works of the enemy (Woohoo!). And two, when we know who we are and whose we are, we’ve won the battle (Woohoo again!).
Remember the Belt of Truth?
We’ve talked in the past about our armor, but God showed me something last week that just tickled me beyond words (for just a moment). Ephesians is a powerful book that is so much about who we are in Christ. In Paul’s desire to show both Jews and Gentiles that in Christ they are no different, he clearly points out over and over again who we are in Jesus, and there are not boundaries there. Only unity for the body of Christ.
I often wondered how he got to the end and brought out this analogy of armor. Notice how he starts with the belt of truth? That’s because this is the very first piece of armor that Roman soldiers put on. Why? Because it supports all the other pieces of armor. Look at what the Expositor’s Bible Commentary says:
First, the "belt" tied tightly around the waist indicated that the soldier was prepared for action. A soldier slackened his belt only when he went off duty. It served to gather in the short tunic and helped keep the breastplate in place when the latter was fitted on. From it hung the scabbard in which the sword was sheathed (v. 17).
In Isa 11: 5 the Messiah is depicted as wearing the belt of righteousness around his waist and faithfulness as the sash around his body. Here "truth" is said to be the soldier's belt. "Truth" is to be interpreted both objectively as the truth of the gospel (1: 13; 4: 15) and subjectively as truth in one's inward being. Because Christians have accepted the truth of revelation and are now indwelt by the risen Lord, who is himself the truth, their lives have truth as its basis, and they display the consistency of character that springs from it.
Our belt of truth is our identity in Christ! How we believe (faith), how we understand the Bible (our sword—did you notice that it hangs from the belt?), our helmet (our understanding of our salvation), feet shod in the gospel (how we share or even have courage to share)—all starts with our identity in Christ.
My friends, we've run out of time and blog space again. I have so much more to share with you, but it would make this post twice as long. Lynn has graciously given me her day, Friday, to put up the next part of this post. PLEASE don't miss it. I have something very special to share with you and something specific that I want you to do—something that is very precious between you and God, and is part of your identity in Christ.
Until Friday, remember WHO YOU ARE and WHOSE YOU ARE and the battle is yours! We are, day-by-day, becoming more confident and competant in our Lord God Almighty! (2 Cor. 3:3-6)
Love you with the passion of Jesus!