Monday, January 14, 2008

God's armor 1-3

2 Chron 20:14-17

14 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you:'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you."

I realize that I'm ripping this passage right out of a larger story and out of larger context, and my purpose isn't to misuse scripture but I simply wanted to point out that this passage, to me, is essentially a good illustration of the "spiritual warfare" that we fight as Christians. The battle is not ours. It's God's! In my post from a couple of days ago called "The Full Armor of God," I mentioned the six elements of battle gear that Paul writes about in Ephesians 6: Truth, Righteousness, The Gospel of Peace, Faith, Salvation, The Word of God. In that post I left off with the idea that all of this is a matter of God's gifts to us and His working in and through us, and I want to continue with those thoughts here. I should mention that I believe the whole of our life in Christ is a matter of God's gifts to us and His working in and through us, and so these six things should seem no more spooky or spiritual than anything else in our lives!

I'm purposely being brief here, and I'll start with the first three. Perhaps someday I'll look at each element more closely and in depth.

• Truth - Jesus Christ is the truth. And along with that, His word is truth. So many of the battles we face are a matter of truth vs. lies. (Steve McVey's "101 Lies Taught in Church..." series is, to me, a great example of how spiritual warfare is not spooky, but is simply a matter of exposing lies and replacing it with simple truth). The point is, it's the truth of God. We can't conjure up our own 'truth,' but rather we rest in the truth of God. There is a direct correlation between truth and victory/freedom. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." If you, or someone else, is in bondage, the battle is fought and won with truth.

• Righteousness - One of my 'favorite verses' is Romans 1:17. In the previous verse, Paul says that the gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. In verse 17, he goes on to say that something is revealed in the gospel: God's righteousness. This is not man's righteousness. It's nothing that man can conjure up on his own. Our righteousness is a gift from God. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor 5:21). Even walking according to this righteous nature that we now have is a matter of trusting in God's working in and through us rather than trying to muster it up in the strength of our flesh or willpower.

• The Gospel of Peace - As the above paragraph mentions, the gospel of peace (the good news) is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. The angels declared the gospel of peace at Jesus' birth as they praised God and said, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:13-14). The gospel is a mighty weapon! How do we use this weapon? We simply declare the gospel. We simply declare the good news. Note, in the use of these weapons, we're not responsible for the outcome. The battle is the Lord's. We simply bear the weapons, by faith, and the Lord fights the battles.

To apply some of this practically, some real life situations may include dealing with another person who is habitually angry or downhearted, and perhaps the lies of the enemy have caused this. Perhaps you're dealing with a troublemaker. Perhaps you're even dealing with a very good person who doesn't think he or she needs Christ. Perhaps any of these scenarios could have to do with yourself. If the lies of the enemy have gotten a hold of someone, and brought them into bondage, even if they don't know they're in bondage, the truth holds the power to set them free! Again, we're not responsible for the outcome, but we can speak the truth to others (or to ourselves) as a "weapon" to help dispel the lies, and we can let the Lord engage in the "battle."

Can you think of any other ways (the ways are endless I think) in which these three things (truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace) can be put on and applied practically in our daily lives? I'll talk a little about faith, salvation and the Word of God when I get back to this.

2 comments:

  1. I almost went into shock when I saw the scripture you started with in this post.

    Things have always been a bit of chaos in my family, as you know. Putting on the Armor and acknowledging that my battle isn't with my mother directly has helped me through many a tough situation with her.

    This escalated with her this summer and the scripture you mentioned is what I meditated on to remind myself to wait and rest and see what God was going to do. Wow!! He has done some amazing things. More then if I had been sticking my nose in it and trying to control the whole thing.

    I love the direction you are going with this. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Angela,

    The things that people do can indeed easily delude us into thinking that they are the enemy, which in turn can cause us to misplace our focus in the battle. I love Paul's description in Ephesians 6 of the true enemy and the true armor. The people in our lives need to hear the gospel, they need to hear the truth, they need Jesus Christ (the Word of God), and so on, and with all of this armor, the battle against principalities and powers will be won and the people will be freed, as God works it all out.

    ReplyDelete