Thursday, January 17, 2008

God's armor 4-6

This is a follow up to my two recent posts, The Full Armor of God and God's armor 1-3. I'm essentially attempting to demystify spiritual warfare and the armor of God. It's not that spiritual warfare can't sometimes involve deep emotions or various types of miraculous outward manifestations. It's not that at all! But I do believe that in our day to day lives in Christ, we have an enemy who often fights in more subtle and quiet ways. 2 Cor 10:4 says that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God..." The weapons of our warfare are supernatural, but that doesn't mean they have to be spooky! Isn't our entire life in Christ a supernatural life? And as our life in Christ is a gift, and a matter of God working in and through us by His power and might (not our own efforts), so are these weapons. Continuing on with the final three weapons mentioned in Ephesians 6 by Paul:

• Faith - Paul talked about faith earlier on in his epistle to the Ephesians. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Even our faith is a gift of God. I remember times in my life in which I would try to muster up as much faith as I could in order to get God to work in and through me. I would strive and struggle to try to work up enough faith (which basically was a matter of me crying out for greater faith), and feeling so bad when I thought I just didn't have enough faith to get God to do anything. MY how I had it so wrong! I can rest in the faith I have, rather than struggling to try to gain more. What's more, my faith is not to be in how much faith I can work up! Rather, the life I live in this body, I live by faith in Jesus. Faith in Jesus is not a matter of striving to have more of something. It's really a matter of letting go of any amount of trust I have that I can accomplish anything and instead trusting solely in Jesus. There's so much more that could be said here, but I'm wanting to be brief. Any and all comments are welcome, of course.

• Salvation - Paul says earlier, in Eph 1:13-14, "In Him (Christ) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." I love that phrase. "The gospel of your salvation." The good news of our salvation. Our salvation is a weapon in God's arsenal. Sorry, devil, but I'm saved. I'm one of God's children. You cannot lay a charge on me and you cannot lay a charge on my loved ones who are saved!

• The Word of God - Again, being brief, Jesus Himself is the Word of God! As Colossians 2:9 says, in Him (Jesus, the Word of God) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and we are complete in Him. Not only that, but Jesus, the Word of God, in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells, dwells in us! (See Rom 8:10-11, 1 Cor 6:19, Col 1:27). "The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Heb 4:12). We can also rightfully call the God-breathed Holy Scriptures the Word of God. And more than that, God speaks directly to us in various ways. It's His personal Word to us, sometimes individually and sometimes corporately. Either way, His Word is a mighty weapon in our spiritual arsenal.

I do want to say that the Word of God is sufficient in and of itself. Not that I want to dismiss all of the outward, over-emotional times that I've witnessed in my pentecostal experience, such as people shouting at the devil or somehow acting in some holier than thou way as they declare God's Word, but sometimes it seems as if emotion trumps the Word of God, and people come to rely more upon having the right emotions rather than simply trusting in the truth of God's sufficient Word. I believe that sometimes, perhaps even many times, the emotions are truly genuine, and they reflect a natural response to the true Word of God. Other times, however, I become concerned when it appears as if people have become emotional out of desperation rather than out of truth.

Again, there's much more to be said on all six of the weapons mentioned in Ephesians 6. I'm sure I'll touch on them more in the future and I always welcome your input as well.

2 comments:

  1. Joel, I can relate to your comments on trying to work up faith. There have been many times when I thought I was following the example of the apostles by praying for more faith.

    What you shared reminded me that, as a NT believer, I have all of the faith I need since the source of my faith is Jesus. As I come to know him better and experience his love for me, my faith will automatically grow.

    You said, "I can rest in the faith I have." I like that. No effort. My work is simply to know him.

    I hope you'll post more on this topic of faith. What you shared has really been beneficial to me.

    Aida

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  2. Aida,

    At one time on my old website (long before I began blogging) I had a long article on "faith." It's something that I threw together in a hurry, just so I would have some content on my site, and if I can find my original document I'll tidy it up a little and post it here. In the past I was heavily under teachings that emphasized a need to muster up faith, st-r-e-t-c-h out our faith as much as we could, etc. Faith became very exhausting! I'm thankful now for the gift of faith and for a Father and Savior who I can trust and rest in. :)

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