Tag Archives: Armor of God

Don’t Allow The Enemy a Foothold

As I prepare for my trip to Colorado in 2 weeks, one of the many things they asked us to do is to re-read John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart.  When I first saw this on the list, I thought, “really?”.  I’ve already read it 3 times over the past couple of years.  After going through some of the other things, I picked the book back up again began to read it once more.  After not reading it for a year and half, I was immediately sucked in again.  The reason being is the practical teaching that Eldredge placed in this book.

41ebvat8gvl-_sy344_bo1204203200_My last post a couple of week’s ago, I wrote about the Father’s restoration.  I thought more about that as I read through this book. I’m on the last couple of chapters now.  I realize just how desperately I needed restoration again and how complacent I was getting in my own spiritual discipline.  Life moves so quickly, so fast, and mine is no exception.  I’ve been on such a fast track that I think my time with God became more of an obligation, than a full on desire to be with God and walk with Him.  It really hit me yesterday, when I was sitting in prayer and a million thoughts began to run through my head, distracting me.  Later I was sitting and reading the book again and on the first page I was on, it talked about this very thing, being in prayer and just consumed with so many other things.

In essence, this is a battle that the Enemy is waging against us.  Knowing you’re trying to speak with the Father, the Enemy immediately thwarts us in some way.  I recognized that this was once again, another one of his tactics to distance me from the Father.  Satan will try in every way he can to pull you way from the Father.  William Gurnall stated, “It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell, it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons.

So what do we do with all of this?  How in the world do we handle this?  Knowing we are in a world at war.  Knowing as Jesus said, that thief wants to kill and steal and destroy.  Knowing as Peter stated that our adversary, the devil, prowls around the world, looking for someone to devour.  What do we do?  Discipline!  Being disciplined every day to walk with God, not out of a sense of obligation, but from the reality that we are in a world at war and we need to be able to stand strong and firm in the faith of who we are in Christ.

Spiritual discipline seems so hard for many of us though.  John wrote, “A man will devote long hours to his finances when he as a goal of an early retirement; he’ll endure rigorous training when he aims to run a 10k or even a marathon.  The ability to discipline himself is there, but dormant for many of us.”  In essence, although it requires work, when we have our own goals in life, we can find a way to discipline ourselves to attain those goals.  The Father has the goal of walking intimately with each and everyone of us.  It’s readily available to us, yet we find it so difficult to do.  We don’t want to get up in the morning.  We don’t feel the sense of connection with the Father when try praying or reading Scripture.

This may, for many of us, be easier said than done, but we have to become more intentional, more disciplined through real prayer, meditation, fasting, submission, journaling, and studying of Scripture.  All of these disciplines coincide together.  If we don’t get intentional about how we walk with God and if we don’t stay on alert through this armored with the full Armor of God, which He has given us, the Enemy will easily gain a foothold in our hearts and find a way to take us out.armor-of-god_seriesbutton2_raster_web

Eldredge wrote, “Against the Evil One we wear the armor of God.  That God has provided weapons of war for us sure makes a lot more sense if our days are like a scene from Saving Private Ryan.”  God has given us the armor for a reason.  This is no fairy tale we live in.  Don’t live in fear of the Enemy, but rather live with a sense of knowing he is there and wants in every way to destroy your connection with the Father, through lies, deceit, pain, and struggles.  Being disciplined enough to prepare yourself each day and not walk through this world, blind to this reality will help you stand stronger.

This armor is what you need and you need to pray it over your life every day, authentically. Put on the belt of truth, choosing to live a life of honesty and integrity, the breastplate of righteousness, knowing that His righteousness can stand against any condemnation and corruption, the shoes of the Gospel of peace, choosing to live for the Gospel at any moment.  He has given us a shield of faith to deflect the arrows that the Enemy will try to fire our way.  Those arrows come in the form of wounds, sin, agreements, and anything else meant to draw you from God.  We have the helmet of salvation, which declares nothing can now separate us from love of Christ and our place in His Kingdom. Lastly, we have the sword of the Spirit, through which the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth’s through His Word to enable you to counter the assaults of the Enemy.

Being disciplined and intentional enough each day to walk with God and pray His full armor over your life, will help you to be prepared for the onslaught that is to come.  We will continue to be attacked.  Look around you.  People we love are being taken out everyday.  It’s a reality.  We have to be prepared and discipline ourselves to truly walk in this reality and walk with the Father allowing Him to come over our lives to Father us and guide us in the way we should go.  It’s a daily struggle.  Don’t let complacency set in.

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Fighting On Three Fronts

How often do you think about the spiritual warfare that we face in our lives each day?  When you think spiritual warfare, how do you picture it?  Do you think about angels and demons battling it out and Satan in the mix trying jack things up?  The subject of warfare is on my mind often.  I’ve really come to grasp the reality of this through my own life experiences where I’ve been able to recognize the reality of it and through others around me.

I was with Amber on Sunday in our meeting and study with our church small group.  We are doing a study of Ephesians and talk of warfare came up.  I began to talk in terms of the spiritual realm and the warfare that goes on in that aspect.  I referred to Daniel 10 when Daniel had prayed and began fasting for 3 weeks.  A angel finally comes and tells Daniel that God heard him the very day he prayed, but it took him 3 weeks to because the prince of the Persian was keeping him back and he had to call on Michael, one of the chief princes in Heaven’s armies to help him.  It’s a reminder that just as this warfare was going on before, as we in Scripture, just as Jesus had to resist Satan in the wilderness, warfare still goes on today in many ways.

I thought about this more later I really began to realize just how much warfare we face and where it all comes from.  I began to think that, in reality, we are faced with, everyday, fighting a war on three fronts.  It’s a battle for every part of our being that we face.  One front is clear and that is the enemy, Satan and his armies.  We are faced with him everyday or those fallen with him.  We are warned repeatedly about it.  As John 10:10 shows, Jesus stated that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”  Peter tells believers to be on alert because our “adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  This is a given and we know this.  If Satan himself is not coming after us to take us out, his armies are in some fashion.

As a part of the assault we face, there are two other fronts we have to battle in that the enemy uses.  The next is against this world and those around us.  Because we are a fallen race, we are faced with daily battles with people around us.  There is so much in this world that is designed, much of it by the enemy, but it is designed to draw us away from things of God.  To draw us away from Jesus and the grace offered through Him.  This world can take you out in such a big way.  I’ve seen it for years and even fell victim to it.  To find yourself in a way that you begin to do things that others expect of you.  This could be choosing a path in college and a career.  Allowing the problems of others to effect you in some way.  Simply seeing so much despair in the world and losing those we love in ways that we don’t understand causing us to question life and our faith in many ways.

The third front is within ourselves.  The battle with the false-self.  This is something we don’t think about enough, but all to often we are faced with ourselves.  The decisions we make day to day.  Choosing to fall to sin and temptation.  Choosing to live life behind a fig leaf and not coming from hiding to face the false-self and renounce it.  There is a glory in each one of us, that God created in each of us.  It has been veiled since the fall and we are faced each day with whether to let that glory shine through or to hide.  We are restored in Christ, should we choose to follow Him and just as Paul said, we should be “renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:23-24).

This is a daily battle within ourselves to seek Christ’s restoration everyday, putting on the whole armor of God to fight each battle.  Spoiler alert!!! Christ has won the war, but until his return and the coming of the Kingdom, we continue to face these battles on all sides everyday.  I know it can sound all mystical and strange to some to think of spiritual warfare, but it is very real and it comes at us from every angle.

978-0-7852-8829-9Don’t neglect this important part of our reality.  I know I have written about it many times, but only because it is on my heart a lot and it is so real, yet many refuse to believe it or are just completely oblivious to it all.  Remember, you are created in God’s image and the closer you draw to Him, the harder the battles will become.  William Gurnall stated, “It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell; it is this at which the demons hurl their mightiest weapons.”  They will come at you head-on, they will attack through those around you, or come at you from within your false-self.  As John Eldredge wrote in Waking the Dead, “The is the heart of our Enemy.  He is determined to hinder and harm and ruin God’s image bearers.

The war is real, the ongoing battle is real.  The enemy will do everything he can to take us out.  To steal and kill and destroy us. What will you do to stand against the enemy from within you and within this world?  Don’t deny it exists, recognize it, and stand firm in the faith and in the strength of the Lord’s might.

The Warfare Intensifies

I’ve become a firm believer in the existence of spiritual warfare.  I’ve experienced first hand and the evidence of it is all through Scripture.  It’s been around since time began.  Jesus encountered this warfare in the wilderness when He was tempted by Satan.  Jesus warns us about this war by.  In John 10:10 we are told that, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”  Peter puts out the warning in 1 Peter 5:8 to believers that our, “Adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:11 to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

These are just a few examples in Scripture, but it’s been going on from the very beginning.  There is a war in the spiritual realm and we are right in the midst of that war.  We have gained victory through Christ, but I don’t think we would warned about it time and in Scripture if the war weren’t still going on.  Jesus has been given authority, but this world is still fallen and the enemy still prowls this earth with his armies with one goal in mind.  To destroy the human heart and pull us further away from God by taking us out through warfare.  He knows he stands no chance against God, so instead he attacks that which is nearest to God’s heart, which is the human race.  Imago dei.  God’s image bearers.

As I mentioned, I’ve experienced this warfare first hand in many ways.  There are many that believe if you come to faith in Christ, you should be without problems.  The fact is, often times, the believer, is the one who has to battle the most.  The enemy currently has the non-believers already, which are the lost we need to fight for.  The enemy will next try to take out those which do believe through various ways.  The closer to you come to God, many times, the harder the battle will become.  I’ve experienced it and I’ve seen it in people I love that have been surrendered to Christ for years.  The enemy will continually try to get you to fall back.

I’ll give a couple of examples that have happened to me and to my family in the last year.  One, I wrote about recently, which happened before leaving for Wild At Heart.  I spent most of January 2015 suffering continuous headaches.  Had never had them like that before, but they were relentless.  Almost to the point of my cancelling the trip.  When arriving and John Eldredge says after prayer, “Great job men…You’ve made it,” the headaches left.  I knew after that, this was warfare.  The last week, before getting to baptize my family this past Sunday, we came under attack again.  It was disruptive to the point that we were under such distress.  We regrouped as a family, prayed over it and were freed from that leading to a wonderful and unforgettable day.  Being stronger in the faith, we recognized the attack for what it was and took the steps to fight back though the power of Jesus Christ.

There is no way to deny that this warfare exists.  It’s apparent throughout this world.  The enemy is using so many different things in this enlightened and post-modern world to take us out and draw us away from the heart of God.  The answer in this is Jesus Christ.  Stand firm in our faith in Christ and we can be victorious through Him against the warfare we face.  Billy Graham is quoted as stating, “Whenever I am conscious of Satan’s presence, I try to follow the formula once offered by a little girl: “When Satan knocks, I just send Christ to the door.”  The answer lies in Christ.  Bringing the blood, life, and authority of Jesus against every evil power we face.

Armor yourself everyday with the full Armor of God.  Pray for it every day.  The belt of Truth, breastplate of Righteousness, shoes of the Gospel, helmet of Salvation, shield of Faith, and sword of the Spirit.  Do this in prayer and by staying in God’s Word.  This is your armor.  Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword…”  

037512John Eldredge writes in his newest book, Moving Mountains, “Resist, Fight back. Take your stand. The Scripture is very clear on this point. First, Jesus models it; the the disciples do it; the Paul and the early church. To make it all perfectly clear, the command to fight is also written down in black and white.  This is part of what it means to be a Christian.”  

James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  We must submit the Lordship of Jesus Christ and stand firm resisting the attacks of the enemy.  The closer to press to God, the harder the battle will become.  The attacks will persist as the enemy wants nothing more than to take you out and pull you away from the heart of God.  He knows he already lost the war and he wants to take as many of us with him as he can in each individual battle.  Don’t let him claim victory in the battle over you and over those you love.  Resist and stand strong

Stripped for Battle

Our world is wandering into a very scary place and nearing the tipping point for something huge to happen.  If you’ve ever doubted the existence of evil, it stares us right in the face every single day.  There is evil perpetrated across this country on a daily basis by people who place very little value on human life.  Across the globe we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are facing a greater evil and being martyred because they refuse to renounce their faith in Christ and turn to Islam.  A month of ago, we saw that evil stretch out into western Europe as Paris was hit and then last week, it came back to US soil again in San Bernardino, CA.  This comes from a group that is bent on destruction and killing anyone who does not share their religion.  So much suffering and violence everywhere.

With all of this, there are many questions on what we should do.  How do we as the body of Christ, as the church, deal with this evil and how do we go about our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ and continue to declare the Good News to the world.  I’ve heard talk of people in this country…In the United States of America that are starting to go underground with their faith so as to hide themselves and out of fear of possible attacks.  Is that the place we’ve come to in this country?  We have people across the world dying and put in prison for declaring the faith in some of the most dangerous parts of the globe and people here in this country are hiding.

As I wrote last week, following Jesus comes with a cost.  We have a responsibility and  privilege and brothers and sisters in the faith of Jesus Christ to continue to stand strong with the armor of God in the face of the evil of this world.  Satan already knows that his days are numbered.  Because of this we are coming under constant attack in this world spiritually and physically, as we see play out on the news everyday.  Christ has already claimed victory, yet we continue to fight until His final return because we still live in a fallen world.

So what do we do?  First, there is a real necessity for each of us to stand strong and defend our lives and that of our family.  I challenge you, if you have not done so, to obtain the right training and arm yourselves so that you can protect you, your family, and those around you in the face of evil.  It’s become a necessity.  First we never know when someone may go off the handle around us, and we also have a growing army of people (ISIS) that has declared war on us and our faith.  We have to fight, not just spiritually, but physically if it comes down to it.  As for me I, I will stand and fight.

I shared previously, the King, that’s Jesus, is striped for battle.  He is not here to hang around in peaceful harmony.  He isn’t, as John Eldredge points out in his book “Desire,” “quite like the pictures we have in Sunday school, Jesus with a lamb and a child or two, looking for all the world like Mr. Rogers with a beard,  The world’s nicest guy. He was something far more powerful.  He was holy.” He is stripped for battle.  Exodus 15:3, “The Lord is a warrior; The Lord is His name.”  Matthew 10:34, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” The world was lost to Satan.  After the fall of man, this became his world.  All-out war has been waged to win us back from Satan and from the fallen world.  To restore us to who we were meant to be.  To restore our hearts.  Jesus was full of passion in his life, not apathy.  “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17).  He knew his purpose and mission in this world and was not to walk around carrying lambs.  It was an all-out war to win back the human race from the prince of this world and restore our hearts to the glory that God created us for.  He was poised for warfare with the enemy.

Also, I wrote before that spiritual warfare is very real folks.  It is on-going everyday.  We have to arm ourselves to be able to take it on and not let it take us out.  Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the full armor of God, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm in the faith” (vs 13).  The armor is the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel, helmet of salvation, shield of faith, and sword of the spirit.  This is real and very necessary.  As Paul said, it’s so that you will be able to resist.  We have to resist the devil.  Going back to 1 Peter 5, we as believers are called to resist the devil and stand firm in the faith.  This is not Old Testament.  This is after the ascension of Jesus.  Meaning, the war is still ongoing and still is today.

In the face of evil, armored with God’s Word (the sword of the spirit), and His full armor, we need to stand strong and unashamed of our faith and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16).  We will be tested over time.  In our personal battles with the enemy and in the face of this evil.  The ultimate goal of the enemy is to pull us away from our faith.  He is relentless on those who draw nearer to God as he is trying to separate us from God.  He started that in the Garden with Adam and Eve and continues that pursuit now.  The closer we draw to his end, the harder he will fight us.

So arm yourself.  Don’t sit back waiting for things to happen.  Don’t let the enemy sink his claws into you.  Don’t walk through life alone and let the enemy push you away from from the Truth and Love of God.  Stand firm in your faith in Christ and stand unashamed of your faith. Don’t let the attacks of the enemy deter you.  We are victorious because of Jesus Christ.

“There is a war going on. All talk of a Christian’s right to live luxuriously “as a child of the King” in this atmosphere sounds hollow — especially since the King himself is stripped for battle. ”  John Piper

It’s A Daily Battle

I have realized that we are a world at war, but this past weekend it really hit me that we are locked in battle not just occasionally, but every single day. It’s unrelenting. The enemy tries to take us out in ways you would not think about.  I know I have written about spiritual warfare a few times.  At Wild At Heart Boot Camp, it was definitely touched on significantly.  Spiritual Warfare is a part of our daily life and will find us no matter where we are.  A friend I met at Boot Camp who has been attending Ransomed Heart events for some time explained that what we retain about 20% while at Boot Camp and the remaining 80% comes after.  I have found that to be true so far as my heart continues to be filled with all I have learned and I immerse in Scripture and prayer each day.

The spiritual warfare and the issue with our daily battles came through and hit me hard this past weekend and in the most subtle way.  I began the day like normal with working out and then diving into Scripture.  I am currently studying through book of Ephesians.  There’s a story behind that, which I’ll get into another time, but God led me to dive into Ephesians.  I was a little rushed on Saturday morning to get out of the house as we had  a field workday for my son’s high school baseball team and then they had an inner-squad scrimmage.  Beautiful day and a great time with our baseball family.  Something lingered however.  Due to rushing, I did not make the time I wanted to journal and really dive into prayer like I try to each day.

Again, did not think too much of this at the time, but as the day wore on I kept getting thoughts in my head about not doing so.  I was constantly having to deflect agreements with the enemy about my commitment to God and to my spiritual growth.  I kept hearing thoughts like, “see, you don’t have the endurance for this race. You’re not committed.”  I had to fight that and it bothered me.  I had to step back from that and renounce those agreements.  It hurt to hear those thoughts.  When you get those negative feelings, it’s easy to just agree and say yes, that’s right.

On Sunday morning, I took more time to dive into this thought in my Scripture reading and thinking about the spiritual warfare we face.  The enemy is literally trying to take us out every single day.  There is no hiding from this. Think about it.  Jesus had to encounter spiritual warfare consistently.  Look at Matthew 4 and his time in the wilderness and being tempted by Satan.  It was a relentless battle.  I was listening to a audio session from John Eldredge and he referenced this and the fact that this was Jesus’s private battle.  No body was with Him.  However, God felt it important enough to share.  Part of the reason would seem to be that this is a serious issue we all face and even Jesus had to face this.  Being taunted and tempted for being the Son of God.  Jesus warned us about the enemy coming like a thief coming steal, kill, and destroy.  It is very real.

So in dealing with this daily battle, what do we do.  First, we need to readily recognize that it exists.  We cannot live in our own little worlds where nothing happens.  Simply does not work that way.  We have to be immersed in prayer and in God’s Word to be ready to deal with each days battle.  In Ephesians 4:23, Paul says, “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”  We have to allow the Holy Spirit to empower us and prepare for the onslaught to come. In Ephesians 6:11-12 he says, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against the strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies,  but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against might powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

It’s all right there.  Spiritual warfare is a daily part of our life.  This past Saturday, was probably my first real bought with it since Wild At Heart and really recognizing it for what it was.  On Monday, it hit me even harder and it was a unrelenting battle.  Amber and I are making some changes to our room to give us an area to sit and read or pray or what have you, which I am all about.  On Monday, while I was working she began the process of moving stuff and cleaning the space.  Then it hit me out of nowhere.  I was filled with this resentment and anger for some reason about it and it just kept on for a few hours.  The enemy was digging at me and it was all total B.S. and I had to fight that back.  I know this won’t be the last time either.

We have to arm ourselves everyday.  We have to lean to God and keep our hope and faith in the promise of Christ Jesus.  A.W. Tozer said, “Christ in you, the hope of glory. I’m not afraid of the devil. The devil can handle me – he’s got judo I never heard of. But he can’t handle the One to whom I’m joined; he can’t handle the One to whom I’m united; he can’t handle the One whose nature dwells in my nature. “

Satan cannot handle the One whose nature dwells in us.  By that, I’d say we are victorious already in Him.  We need need to resist the devil and choose God first always.  The victory is in choosing to resist and the outcome is up to God.  There are unseen spiritual forces and if don’t resist, who will.  If we turn from our faith and let evil win, just imagine where you would be.  We are victorious in Christ, so it’s in him our hope rests.  Recognize the battles for what they are every day. Don’t deny they exist or you will be taken out quickly.  Choose to resist and let the Holy Spirit arm you with the armor of God that comes through faith in Christ.