Armor

ArmorI sometime wonder how men fought with a full suit of armor in medieval times. I mean the protection of this heavy suit had to make them slower and more vulnerable to the enemy at times. Today when S.W.A.T. comes on the scene, they are equipped with an armor of sorts – the bulletproof vest, helmet and sometimes a shield. Most police in the field are equipped with the bulletproof vest to protect their heart and other vital organs. I think it’s wise to think about protection when stepping up to battle a fire, a perpetrator or an enemy combatant.

Paul speaks about a different kind of protection – armor. He talks of a different sort of battle as well. Check this out…

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 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. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
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. (Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV)

 

I often feel like that I’m squarely in the midst of a spiritual battle. The enemy can’t be seen, but he’s often personified in another person. They aren’t aware of being used by him for him. Most of the time the battle is straight up battle with an enemy that is in the spirit realm and not in the physical realm. I try to live my life to honor God and he’s attacking me at my weakest point, trying to snag me in his trap. In way too many battles, he gets me. I’ve learned over the years that when I equip myself with the Word of God, I am putting on the Armor of God. I have discovered more about Who my Help is and Where He comes from while studying the Word. He is real and He is ALWAYS READY to help me defeat the enemy.  I am suiting up this morning and ready to take on the day. This Armor is not cumbersome and big, it’s actually pretty light-weight, yet tough!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Truth Can Be Tough To Hear

Lies Have Speed Truth Has Endurance SpeedometerI’ve been “pushed on” or “chewed out” before and it’s not really a pleasant experience. As I’ve gotten older, I try to separate the emotion from the truth that is being spoken. It will soon get really clear if there is any substance to what is being said. I have no problems pushing back in these situations. However, if not done correctly, then a full on argument ensues.  I believe that TRUTH is non-negotiable. I don’t believe that truth is relative to certain situations and not others. I believe that truth will nearly always come out. When I’m being confronted with the truth, I don’t always want to hear it. Sometimes the presentation is offensive and sometimes it’s the content that is offensive.  I really work hard at listening to the emotional outbursts and ranting and raving of the fired up individual. I try hard to see if there is truth behind all the emotion – the yelling and veins popping out of the neck. The calmer I can be in that situation, the more discerning I can be.  Paul speaks the to the church at Corinth about how the truth can offend, but it can also bring growth. Check this out….

 8Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. (2 Corinthians 7:8-11 NIV)

 

I want to open to hearing the truth spoken into my heart. I also want to be bold about speaking the truth into others lives.  I don’t want to be judgmental of the other person, but I don’t want to be afraid to confront them. I don’t want to the confrontation to be about my struggles, and me although I may need to do some repentance of my own. I want my relationship with the Lord to be on solid footing prior to confronting the sin of another person. I want godly sorrow in me to produce great spiritual qualities in my life – namely repentance.

I am so imperfect and full of flaws. I need godly sorrow and repentance daily.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Light

bookI realize that light chases out darkness and exposes what was hidden. I love light because I can see much better. I don’t have cat eyes, so I need light to see in the dark. I also don’t always like what is hidden in the dark.  Paul is really challenging the church at Corinth about how they should be regarded. He pulls off the gloves a bit and really lays it out.  Check this out…

1This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. (1 Corinthians 4:1-5 NIV)

 

The Lord’s judgment is something that I used to fear a lot. I grew up learning truth so intensely that grace was pushed to the side. I was in constant fear because according to the truth, I’m in trouble. I can’t stay pure and holy, as He wants me to be. When I first read this passage this morning, the part that pushed on me is the part that “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness”. This means exposure to the secrets and motives of my heart. I really try to guard my heart and protect it, but I’m often failing miserably at this. I also loved the part where Paul says, “my conscience is clear, but that doesn’t make me innocent.”  Without Grace, I’m straight up guilty, but with Grace, I’m innocent. I’m so thankful for the cross and the Grace that Jesus delivered. I’m no longer afraid of the light exposing my sin, the light will expose a heart devoted to the Lord!

Pressing On!
Dwayne