Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11
Put on the full armor of God, Ephesians tells us. That sounds perfect! Armor is to protect us from getting hurt and empowers us to do super human things, right?
Paul wrote of the armor, I imagine he had seen plenty of soldiers during his tumultuous life! I love how he pieces together the spiritual armor that is necessary for Christians to fight on a daily basis.
We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Sometimes, the battles can feel overwhelming! How are we to stand up against inequality, harassment, sickness, death and all that the world tries to weigh us down with? How can we possibly stand up against everything the world has to throw at us and still expect to emerge victorious? Is it even possible to be victorious?
Recently, I have felt weighed down by the responsibility that has been given to me. Like a heavy weight that sits on my shoulders the responsibility has lately felt like a punishment rather than an opportunity to serve.
The result of looking at the weight and not at the joy set before me has resulted in frustration, stress and quite honestly, anger. Like Peter looking at the waves and not at Jesus, I have begun to sink!
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 12:22-23
This is why I need the Armor. I can’t do it on my own!
Romans 8:37 tells us that we are more than conquerors! Lord dress me in your armor!
The directive is to Put on the full armor of God. The phrase put on refers to one sinking into the clothing. It sounds like putting on your favorite jeans or comfy robe. You literally just sink into them. The armor should become that comfortable for us to wear.
Thank you for the gift of the armor, Lord teach me how to wear each piece as I study about them.
To read more about the Armor of God
For my whole life, whenever I am told to do something, there rises up within me a violent revolt!
It reminds me of the story of a young mom with a little girl at the grocery store. As she pushes the cart the child stands up. The mother asks her to please sit down so that she doesn’t get hurt. After this happens several times the mother becomes increasingly frustrated with her young daughter. Then she does what every mother through the centuries has done, she gives “the look“!
The daughter sits down but, very loudly proclaims, “I’m sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside!”
I am so like this daughter!
It is difficult to obey, especially when one is as strong-willed as I am! Yet, God calls us to surrender ourselves fully to him. It is in this humbling that our flesh cries out, “no way!”
Saul found out that God is not pleased with disobedience, especially when He gives direct instructions.
Saul was sent out with a very explicit mission.
‘Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ I Samuel 15:3
Saul followed some of the instructions but not all of them.
He captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed. I Samuel 15:8-9
Did you catch it? He captured the king and kept some of the best of his belongings.
When he returned Samuel had some strong words with him.
and the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated.’ “Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD?”… I Samuel 15:18-19
I always wondered what the big deal was! Saul did most of what God asked him to do and his heart seemed to be in the right place. After all, he was going to offer the animals as a sacrifice to the Lord.
“But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.” I Samuel 15:21-23
Saul’s sin was that of not trusting the Master’s plan. He took things into his own hands which ultimately angered God and resulted in a missed blessing for Saul.
Obeying God fully means that we
- surrender our will for His
- trust Him completely
- recognize that He is God and we are not
This woman needs God to activate obedience within her because I am not sure that I can obey Him fully on my own.
We have heard the verse, “be still and know that I am God” many times. I wonder if you experience something similar to what happens inside of me when this verse comes to mind during a stressful time? The conversation between God and myself goes like this.
Be still Jann
I know I should be still and trust you
Let me take away the burden of worrying, striving and the stress that goes with it
That sounds so lovely. I want to be still, but…
Be still and know that I am God
You are pretty awesome God! When I think about who you are I am comforted and the stress seems to melt away. I have this need to fix things.
Be still Jann
Okay I get it, you can do things with out my help! You are God after all!
Be still and know that I am God.
ahhhhhh, rest, peace, love.
Activate your peace in me.
- Peace to trust your promises are true
- Peace to live in abundant hope
- Peace to fill me with joy
- Peace to calm anxious nerves and a deep seeded fixing addiction
- Peace to cover any situation
So what is the secret of having peace?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. . Philippians 4:6-7
In every situation
Instead of being anxious-Pray
Instead of trying to fix everything-Praise Him
Instead of stewing on something-Lay it at His feet
Recently I began dreaming about a possibility. It took over my thoughts and I began plotting and scheming to see how I could make it happen. Notice the emphasis on I. Yes I prayed about it, but I wasn’t resting in His promises nor was I trusting that He would make a way. Then I looked up and saw a picture that has the words be still on it.
Don’t you love when He reaches down into our messiness and reminds you of His presence? In an instant I am reminded that His plans are so much better than mine and He is trustworthy.
What do I do when these anxious thoughts return?
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
I return to what I know about God and focus on His promises. Thinking about these things fill my mind with His goodness, His plans and purposes. Then there is little time to focus my attention on whatever I was fixating on.
I Love the words of this Bethel Song
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
Activate your peace in me today Lord!
Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. Psalm 63:3 NASB
Thy loving kindness
Is better than life
Thy loving kindness
Is better than life
My lips shall praise thee
Thus will I bless thee
I will lift up my hands
Unto thy name.
Today was one of those days where I didn’t have the strength to lovingly redirect my mom. I had watched her struggle for over 30 minutes to complete a job that would have taken me 5 minutes. I honestly thought that I was being patient and kind as I suggested that maybe she take a break. But, the whole time I kept thinking, “When she walks away I’ll just finish it and she will never know!” Here was the problem, she didn’t walk away so I started plotting how I was going to take over. I am embarrassed to tell you that when my head felt as though it was going to explode, I simply reached in and finished it in front of her.
Not surprisingly, a few minutes later she blurted out, “I can’t do anything right!” Really, Jann this is how you honor your mother? This daughter was so very impatient and unkind! I don’t deserve any awards for sharing loving kindness today!
We learn how to be kind by observing how God has been so patiently kind to us. Jesus modeled his loving-kindness over and over to us.
He was patient with his family when they didn’t understand him
He was patient with the religious leaders when they scrutinized his intentions and plotted against him
He was patient with the disciples when they had their own plans for the kingdom of God
He was patient with God as he waited for his plan to unfold
He is patient with us as we learn to trust him
He is patient with us knowing that we are in process.
On my own I am one big hot mess! Selfishness and impatience come so easily to me and loving-kindness is a far off dream. Thank you Jesus for rescuing me from myself!
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
I love the meaning behind the words take captive
Strong’s defines it this way: to make captive:—lead away captive, bring into captivity.
The picture that is made in my mind is that of a conquering army taking over a city and bringing all of the people into captivity. The captives would now be under the authority of the new regime and would require them to be obedient to the laws of the land. This would not have been a peaceful event. Some would be killed and others would require strong reminders of their new position.
I don’t know about you, but my mind is a battlefield of thoughts. Maybe it is more like a mine field of thoughts. Out of nowhere comes anger, jealousy, resentment, and really bad one liners! In addition, words of discouragement, distrust and dissatisfaction find a way into my mind.
Asking God to Activate my mind is my way of asking Him to show me how to take captive those thoughts that are contrary to His Word.
Let me show you what I mean. Recently, I was talking with someone and they kept looking at me, but not looking at my eyes. Something was distracting them. Immediately the battery of thoughts began the bombardment of my brain! “What is she looking at? Is my bra showing, do I have mascara under my eyes, did I forget to blend in my foundation?” I felt so insecure and walked away very unsettled.
On any ordinary day it is not unusual to be in a pleasant conversation, when out of nowhere a thought crowds my thoughts. “She doesn’t want to hear what you are saying”. At this moment I have a choice to listen to this lie or take it captive and replace it with the truth.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
It is time to take every thought captive and to make them obedient to the Truth of Jesus!
“do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
We believe lies about
- Our value
- God’s love for us
- Our future
- The effects of sin
When you are hit over the head with one of these lies, take it captive by remembering that you are chosen, called by name and so love by God! Then replace the lie with the truth of God’s word!
When tempted to believe the lie try this
Lie: “I am such a failure. I can’t do anything right.”
Truth: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13
Lie: “I have no one.”
Truth: “God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”Heb. 13:5
Lie: “I am ugly, etc.”
Truth: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus”Eph. 2:10
Lie: “ I can never be forgiven.”
Truth: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.I John 1:9
Oh Lord- Activate my mind and fill it with more of You!