14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Being a visual person, this exercise of meditating on the Armor of God has proven very good for me in drawing the Word of God deeper into my heart and soul and not just leaving it powerless in the recesses of my mind.
The Word of God is meant to penetrate our hearts and make us different people, and this specific passage in scripture speaks personally into the deep brokenness that comes from being a child of abuse and an adult as an abuser.
I wasn’t an abuser in the physical sense my own parents were, but instead became a doormat people pleasing fear-based adult who modeled escape-isms, insecurity, fear, powerlessness.
The core of my adult behaviors before Christ; and clearly some of the strongest character battles I still face today come from the lies of Satan, the deceiver, the destroyer.
He wants to keep us beaten down, broken, incapable of sharing our faith, silent, secluded, removed from God’s equation.
He does have the power and authority to influence external circumstances, but the true spiritual battle that Satan wages against our souls is through guilt, shame, fear, regrets, direct attacks against our self-worth.
Satan and his minions of darkness oppose the Truth of God.
How? By taking God’s loving convictions meant to spur us on to greater character growth and instead drive it into self-condemnation and shame. He takes God’s healthy moments of quiet discernment and pushes it into doubt; converts righteous hesitation straight into fear and inaction.
The Word of God
The Word of God speaks directly into our old broken self and says you are worthy because of what I’ve done, not unworthy because of what you have done. We are His beloved children, adopted and washed clean by the blood, not because we earned it or deserve it, but His nature of pure love once sealed in relationship cannot be broken by outside forces.
It is God who tells us who we are, what we are capable of, and forgives our sins, past present and future. It is He who drives us with passion and purpose to stand and speak boldly in His name regardless of where we come from.
To have faith that the Word of God is true and tells us who we are, to have faith that the blood of Christ and the redemption found through Calvary is real and for us specifically and individually, to have faith that the Holy Spirit is real and alive and living in each of us with the power to give us all that we need in any circumstance or trial to not only survive but to thrive in the battle; it is our faith that protects us from the relentless attacks of the evil one.
To believe in the magnificent gifts of the Trinity of God is to have successfully armed ourselves with the Shield of Faith.
Without faith, we have no walk, can bear no fruit, will never be able to see the glory of God in everything we experience, nor will we be able to withstand the lies of the Deceiver.
Faith is truly our shield in every sense of the word.
Father God, You alone know how much I need this message this morning, a message of love, grace and mercy which says I am whole, complete, set free because of who You are, not because of what I’ve done. I thank you for Calvary; that supreme sacrifice which makes a relationship with You not only possible, but supremely desirable and solidified for eternity. There are no temptations, there are no condemnations, there are no circumstances or principalities that can separate us from Your love, from Your protections, from Your loving embrace 24×7. Help us all this day Father remain focused on Your Truths in our lives and let the constant droning of lies and oppression from a broken and falling world fade into background noise. Give us the boldness to speak against the lies of the Accuser by drawing deeply upon our faith that You are God, You are sovereign over all of creation and You are eternal and now, because of Your great love for us, so are we. Thank you Jesus for making our life not only possible, but filled with passion and purpose. You alone are our Salvation and it is in Your precious name I pray these things for all Your children, both those who know you and those who don’t yet…
(For a list of 50 biblical affirmations of who we are In Christ with links to an in-depth study on many of them check out the I Am Series page)
Reblogged this on spiritual warfare journal and commented:
Many times I have come close to the foot of the cross, seeking salvation, but was never fully able to let go of my doubts and fully give myself to Jesus. Why was it so hard to believe that someone I couldn’t see was carrying me through my darkest trials and most difficult journeys? I longed for that special kind of relationship with him that meant giving over control of my life and simply having faith in a ‘savior of all mankind’. Yet, I couldn’t get over the way my mind’s questions rolled over and over endlessly, bringing me back to that pesky thing called proof. My friends told me that in order to avoid the flames of eternal Hell, I’d have to ‘get saved’ and be ‘born again’. I really had no idea what that meant and so I avoided the chance at getting religious and literally sprinted the other way.
I was afraid.
And yet, I couldn’t get the dream (no, vision) out of my head that I had had when I was maybe 14 or 15 years old. The feel of the timber beneath my feet and the ice-cold waves that lapped over the side of our tiny boat was too real…too terrifying and vivid not to be a message from God. Jesus was with me on that boat and told me not to be afraid, that he was with me. I was certain to drown, but it suddenly didn’t matter, because his touch told me that there was nothing to fear. I woke up still warm and tingling with his touch on my hand. My cheeks were damp with tears.
Still, I was afraid.
Just have faith, is the message I’ve heard whispered in my ear for the time in between that vision and the present. How exactly do you do that? Some kind of pill I can take? An extract found at the health-food store? Self-Help DVD’s? Books? Seminars?????
Some kind of lightning bolt or angelic appearance in the woods needed to happen (I felt) in order for me to fully ‘get-it’, and because I wasn’t getting it on my own…wasn’t feeling it… I turned away from it as if it didn’t exist.
But I still missed the tingle of my hand and the warmth deep inside that let me know I was loved by Him. And in hurt rebellion, I thought I could think my way into ‘getting faith’. I started turning to books that talked not of the grace of Jesus and his work on the cross, but instead of the mysteries of the cosmos, the symbolism of religion and the occult. I wanted control and knowledge and in some twisted way my mind thought that I could get saved if I just figured out my future and know all the secrets. I bought Tarot cards and books on the Tarot and tried to convince myself that there was an occult side to Christianity and it was far more interesting than my dusty old bible. There was no mystery in that.
Then one day I watched a video that was a testimonial of a man who claimed to run a Satanic cult and who spoke to the Devil on a regular basis. If he could find his faith…what on earth was wrong with me?
I decided that I just had to decide to have faith. I had to just stop thinking so hard and just let it happen. I had to decide to just read that dusty old Bible and let Jesus show himself to me once again. I had to stop thinking and just have faith.
Powerful testimony, thank you for sharing Heather! I didn’t come to Christ until 45yrs old and through reading the bible I learned my journey like yours was as Solomon throughout Ecclesiastes trying EVERYTHING else first. Diabetics, self help books, materialism,, careerism, partying, sex… Nothing filled the void until surrendering in faith to Christ. He is faithful and merciful!
“You are worthy because of what I have done, not unworthy because of what you have done.” Wow. Well put.
Yes, we need to discern between the conviction from God sent to help us and the condemnation from the enemy sent to destroy us. I have found that when the guilt is from God, I’ll know what I need to do about it. The guilt from the enemy is often something I can’t change, and all it does is make me miserable.
I love that distinction, God will never convict without providing a redemptive action plan which includes repentance, restitution and as much as it is up to us, restoration. The Enemy only seeks to inject venom and destroy.
That will be helpful in my own discernment challenges. Thanks for sharing SDP!