The last day of our study of Ephesians. This part is powerful and can change the way you see yourself. It can change the way you act as a Christian and the pace at which you grow. God loves you so much and loves giving you great gifts: He has given you a whole new wardrobe. So I declare:
God likes shopping… lol. I actually don’t like shopping, but I love new clothes. It’s like opening your closet and all the perfect clothes with the perfect fit are there… It’s time to get dressed! It’s the reward at the end -we get a whole new wardrobe. Imagine, looking in your closet and seeing all new clothes. This might be a simple illustration for a deep principle in the Word, but I hope you will see the simplicity of God and how strong and effective doing things HIS way makes us.
For some of us, in our christian walk, discovering the armor of God is just like this. We can actually walk out of this book of Ephesians with a whole “new look”. This might be my favorite part of Ephesians. It reminds me of two things. I am not alone. It’s not my strength but His that encourages me to stand, suit up and fight with the armor of God. We have read, memorized, and learned how to apply the book of Ephesians to our lives- now its time we use what we have learned. Put on the new clothes aka: Armor, Stand Up, and fight the “good fight of faith” – It’s not against people! It’s against sin in our lives, negativity, anger, hypocrisy, and so much more. We can walk into each day perfectly dressed for each day. There is nothing like feeling prepared, feeling like we look good, and the feeling of confidence to start a day. Let’s look at how:
The instruction God gives over and over in the Word of God is “to be strong in the Lord” – Do not be afraid or discouraged, because He promises to be with us where ever we go.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
A confidence boost comes when we get properly dressed! When we know how we should dress but our clothes don’t fit well or look good, we can walk in insecurity…. BUT God is our perfect clothing tailor- lol. Our heart is the first thing he deals with…. BE strong. Being always comes before doing. Find strength in God before you put on the armor. Our command is to BE strong in God, stand firm in Him, put on our armor & fight the enemy of our souls…. It’s not our own strength, it’s not even the armor- it’s GOD’s spirit within us- causing us to stand strong , even when we are weak, He remains strong… GET to KNOW God, HE is I AM, he is what you need him to be in your situation and because he will never leave us, we can be strong in HIM – He will never require us to DO something before he works on and shows us who he wants us to BE. Character always comes before Function.
- 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
- Action!!!! Go look in your spiritual closet now…. its Full!!! but You have to PUT IT ON for it to be worth anything to you!... This is an everyday thing. When you get up each day, your clothes don’t put themselves on, you choose them and put them on. Everyday we need to get “dressed for our spiritual day”. It really is a very cute outfit! lol. We need a proper outfit for each day…. it’s for a purpose- so we can stand strong! We gotta stop trying to stand against the enemy and our flesh (our desire to sin) in our own strength!
- 12 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.
- It’s time to see what you are getting dressed for. What is this battle you are fighting? Um hello—- The real enemy is not the person you are irritated with… stop letting them get to ya and fight the real battle. Choose to forgive, set your will to forgive them ahead of time! Fight against Satan who plans to divide you from the people in your life, who hates you and the plans God has for you. This fight is not people! Stop fighting people, even the ungodly. We are not called to fight people- we are called to love them. We are supposed to be fighting a spiritual war. This is done in PRAYER.
- 13 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.
It says this twice… like maybe we need that second alarm clock… don’t forget to stand…..don’t forget to get dressed – put on your armor….Putting on the armor of God is the way to stand up under the pressure of life. Putting the armor of God is a parallel to life…Each day, we get to go into our closet, choose our clothes and PUT THEM ON!!!
- 14 Stand firm then,
- So wake up, get up, get out of bed -out of your spiritual sleep (depression, insecurity, frustrations) and STAND UP, Firm= strong, unmovable, confident…..a strong foundation in Christ is needed so you know how to wear and use the armor
- with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
The right belt perfectly balances out an outfit and sometimes holds it in place. (Truth is your “core” Strength. God’s Truth + a truthful mouth & heart = HUGE weapon against the enemy of your soul) Don’t lie to others and don’t believe the lies the enemy tries to tell you. What you believe determines your strength level. We need to believe the truth of the word of God, the truth of what God says about His church and What God says about us personally. This is your core strength as a believer.
- with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
- this is the main part of the outfit – the perfect fitting clothes. lol. Clothe yourself with righteousness- a breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate is the piece that guards your heart from harm- the bullet proof vest if you will…. & “Righteousness” a big way of simply saying “being right with God” and pursuing what pleases Him. THIS will guard your heart from following your own desires!!!!! – out of our hearts flow all the issues of life. Guard it! Only God will ever be able to heal and satisfy the longings in your heart- nothing will ever fill HIS place in your heart, so don’t let anyone try to take that place. Let being right with God guard you.
- 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
- NEW SHOES! Ready to go…. ready to preach the gospel in any situation and share with others. If there is peace in your heart with people and situations, telling of the good news that is working in your heart will be easy. PEACE is the name brand of the shoes you need to put on everyday 🙂 PEACE produces JOY regardless of circumstance. If you have peace… sharing your testimony will be so easy! No peace in your heart = an ineffective witness. Go get your peace shoes on!!!!
- 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Believe in a Big God… believe He can do immeasurably more than we can ask or think. Believing this about all the plans & purposes for your life and His church, will stop the arrows that come to take you out. Without faith it is impossible to please God, but I am so grateful that all throughout the bible God calls people faith-filled who struggled with doubt and fear. We see examples where they just “did it afraid”. They stepped out because they believed in a God that was bigger…. This kind of faith is a shield for you- to believe God through & in-spite of your doubt! Let your faith be bigger than your fear! Faith guards. Fear cripples.
- 17 Take the helmet of salvation
- Why a helmet? God understands that our battlefield is in our minds…. and so he wants us to guard our minds… and He wants to bring salvation to our thinking… a helmet of salvation. Our minds need to be daily renewed, transformed, daily saved. We get a new hat but not just a cute one, it’s a protective hat! God cares about your thoughts and is helping you work out your salvation by asking you to go to Him with everything…Prayer instead of analyzing too much. I need a savior for my thinking everyday. It’s the reason I am thankful each day for a Savior. I need my thoughts to be renewed each day!
- and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- This is what we fight with… We gotta know the Word… it is an effective weapon to use for life, prayer, worship, decisions, relationships, etc. If you are not getting the Word of God in you personally by reading, memorizing, meditating, singing, applying the word to each situation…. then you are just swinging your arms without a weapon…. you look pretty silly trying to fight against an enemy without a weapon. Without the word of God you are only half armed, and certainly not dangerous! 🙂 Our only danger being wordless is to ourselves and those we love. The word of God brings direction and wisdom into any situation. Take up the sword of the Spirit!
- 18 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 Lord’s people.
This is another weapon- Yes prayer is a weapon. It is a very effective weapon… because we can pray the word of God! Double whammy! The bible talks about your tongue having the power of life or death… We can yell at people all day long or try to convince them to change, but it only makes things worse…. Pray don’t say!!! Prayer works. It changes things spiritually. We are fighting a spiritual battle. Changing natural things to try and effect spiritual problems will never work. Because the Holy Spirit lives within us we can PRAY All day long. Wait- what? Pray all day? Let me show you. When you are doing your daily things….and your mind wants to flush your life and your world down the drain. Switch. Pray in the spirit instead. You can tell the “natural, worldly, fleshly” way of thinking to sit down…. and let the “spiritual” way of thinking get fed a little. All day we “feed our flesh” by the way we think and do things… and then we wonder why our “flesh is so strong and we fall in sin” – time to “Feed the Spiritual”. Something is always growing… what is it going to be?
What if we obeyed this verse and prayed in the spirit on all occasions…. we would find ourselves growing in God and choosing to fight battles instead of giving in to them. You don’t have to be superwoman to pray all the time…. you don’t even have to be in your actual spiritual closet to pray. (although there is a blessing in taking specific time for prayer- we miss out by limiting our prayer to that) Pray in your car, in the shower, while doing laundry. Use the prayers in this book of Ephesians and Pray for each other, pray for everything big or small… When you don’t know what else to do, Pray in tongues again, pray in tongues often! If we would just pray for people instead of the allowing the negative thought patterns…just imagine what might change.
Pray for boldness to speak and fight:
- “19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
When you are done getting dressed…. you will look fierce! lol. Your strength is from God- He will give you grace to fearlessly fight the enemy and speak up for Him. You will be HIS ambassador.
What ever you are going through today, GET DRESSED! You have a brand new wardrobe! God’s grace is enough for you. He has a way for you to make it through… Get your attitudes adjusted by God, Put on the Armor of God, stand up fight against whatever the enemy has put in your path. You are armed & Dangerous! An effective loving weapon in the Hands of God!