Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Invisible War In Marriage Pt. 5: Knowing The Truth Is Half The Battle

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints- Ephesians 6:13-18

You are in a WAR!

From the time that Adam and Eve sinned leading to the fall of mankind up until the time that Jesus was born, lived died on the cross and rose again you and I have been at war. For many of the inhabitants of the earth this war is not something that they are aware exist. For those of us that have been born again (i.e from above-See John 3:3) our eyes are open and we can see and sometimes even feel or sense clearly the spiritual climate around us. It's a WAR! The enemy is taking no prisoners. 

This is why the bible and its truth is a book that is scrutinized by many of earths scholars, and religious deity, kings, leaders, and philosophers of the world. This is why the content in its pages and the believers of it's words are constantly under attack; whether visible by men or spiritually by evil spirits.

This is no laughing matter or to be played with; your salvation. The bible is very clear about the differences of nature, personality, character, and ways of the culture that we live in and how believers are to respond. Yet there are many that still are "conformed" or conforming to this world and its ways, and system instead of transforming or being transformed by the renewing of the mind. (See Romans 12:1, 2)

Before we continue looking at the rest of God's armor, I want to share a scripture that the Lord spoke to and through the prophet Isaiah regarding the people in his day that is also relative to the day we're living in now.

Isaiah 6:9 says, And He (i.e the LORD) said, "Go and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.'  "Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed." 

You see...there's a simple truth here that the LORD is revealing clearly to Isaiah the prophet and that is...the same message that softens a receptive heart also hardens an unreceptive heart. So in sending forth the message to a people known to be unreceptive, their condition is worsened. However, their end is caused by their own rejection of God, not by God's predetermination.

Think about what was just said. Yours, my heart, and anyone else is where the real truth is. Every word we hear; whether it be one someone spoke, we listen too, read, heard within ourselves, etc... the action(s) that we take afterwards shows if we really received what we heard. 

The more I read Gods word, sit under the teachings of His word, read articles or books about His word, learn about His ways through His word, and meditate and practice doing what His word says the more it proves the receptiveness of my heart towards God and His word (truth).  So it is with you. We must do what the LORD is telling us to do.

Everything about God...everything about Jesus...everything about the Holy Spirit... spells CHANGE!

The more of God the more we change. The less of God, the less we change. Here's the thing; we need God for the change. Because the God kind of change is no ordinary change. It's TRANSFORMATION!!!

That brings me to today's continuation of the armor of God. Before we look specifically at the armor in Ephesians 6:10-18, and the rest of the pieces of spiritual weaponry, I want to share a brief little history of how we arrive at the knowledge that has been made available to us in this modern day and age and it's significance to the times we live in. As I have shared in previous post that the LORD said the reason why His people perish is because of lack of knowledge (See Hosea 4:6).

I'm saying also the reason why people perish (i.e die spiritually, remain ignorant, stay in bondage, confused, in lack, stay a victim, oppressed, depressed, always defeated, don't breakthrough, etc..

is because of...LACK OF KNOWLEDGE!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. - Proverbs 1:7

In the book of Ephesians the Apostle Paul is speaking to the church of Ephesus. His desire as all men and women of the faith in God should want, is that believers of Christ be strong victorious Christians. So Paul writes to one of the churches that he had been given some apostolic oversight over.  This is a church that he personally had ministered in for over two full years. During this time he developed a very deep relationship with the Ephesians.  The more that the Apostle Paul grew in his personal relationship with God, he grew in his knowledge and understanding of the things of God. In other words Paul grew deeply and was stirred by an expanding revelation about the church at large.

So Paul let the church know in Ephesians that before the church is called to war, she is taught to walk; and before the church is called to walk, the church is taught where she stands. This is not only important for the church of Ephesus, even our churches and the body of Christ today. This is also very important and relative to each of us as individual believers of Christ.

There are 4 "calls'' that Paul speaks about in Ephesians that apply to us today as believers of Christ. (*note I may write a post series on the 4 "Believer's Call" in the future)

#1 The believer's call to responsibility
#2 The believer's call to purity
#3 The believer's call to Spirit-filled living
#4 The believer's call to spiritual warfare.

For our present reading I want to discuss more with you about Apostle Paul's words to us about the call to spiritual warfare.

Before I do that I want to share an important side note about your ability and willingness to hear TRUTH. This is based solely on scripture and it's from the Master Jesus Christ Himself. The scripture actually shows each of us the kind of believer that we are currently, and or what we can become as we continue to grow in Him.

Jesus spoke about the "Parable of the Sower" in the four gospels. (See Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19; Luke 8:14). In it He describe four kinds of people who hear the WORD.

#1 The seed by the wayside -persons who hear the word of the kingdom and do not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart.

#2 The seed on stony places -persons who hear the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, endures for a little while. When tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately stumbles (i.e falls away).

#3 The seed among the thorns -persons who hear the word, and the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

#4 The seed received on good ground -persons  who hear the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." 

As I said earlier, make no mistake we are in a WAR. I don't know where you are right now when it comes to your relationship with God. You that are reading this right now could be someone who's just gotten saved, what the bible calls a new babe in Christ. Think of a baby who was just born; in your case "born-again." If you are... this level of truth might be too much for you...at the moment. That's OK. I wasn't always where I am in the Lord. However you can get there. 

The next kind of person that might be reading this you could be one who has been walking with the  LORD for sometime but have in recent years have started to grow weary in your faith. I understand. Let this word refresh your spirit today. And going forward you gotta dig a well! And keep on digging!!!

The third kind of person reading might not even be saved but this written message has ministered to you. The bible says that Jesus stands at the door and knocks and He invites you in today into salvation, being born again through the confession of your sins and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

The fourth and final kind of person reading this might not be a believer of Jesus Christ at all. In fact you might be an unbeliever. Well I gotta tell you that the bible says the LORD wish that none would die and what He meant was eternal death. Hell is a real place. Separation from the one who made you is the worse place for any of us to be or have to experience. So if your not saved or never believed before, you are not reading this by accident. You have been divinely brought here to read this by God Himself, because He loves you so much He doesn't want you to live your life without Him or leave this earth without salvation.

Now I know I wrote a lot and I haven't gotten to the last pieces of God's armor yet. You also might be saying to yourself, I thought this was a blog about marriage. I want you to know that it is a blog about marriage. But whether your married, single, divorced, old or young we all need to hear and be reminded of the ultimate purpose for the bible, message and the messenger Jesus Christ Himself.

Every couple, family, person, child, home, school, neighborhood, community, city, even church, etc... This WAR is real, and it affects us all; especially those who don't even know their in a WAR.

So finally...what you been waiting for...

The last pieces of the armor of GOD.

The breastplate:
"...having put on the breastplate of righteousness

The gospel of peace:
"...having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace

The shield of faith:
"...above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

The helmet of salvation:
And take the helmet of salvation..."

The sword of the Spirit:
"...and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Each piece of Gods armor is important to the protection of your whole self; mind, body and spirit. Everyday you must decide to put on the armor of God. The bible says that devil goes around seeking whom he may devour. So if you don't equip yourself each day properly than the enemy of your soul will get the upper hand.

Every married couple must be dressed for the battle that comes against the marriage. I'm not just talking about the wars of the flesh, such as arguments, disagreements, strife, discord. There are greater demons in the earth today that have been given free access by the those who care nothing about the sanctity of God's holy union: marriage.

There's same sex marriages that have become the "new norm" in the earth. It's to the point that its become an accepted practice and religious acknowledgement among many who claim to name the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Let me be clear about this; God does not change His mind because the people decide too. Whether saved or unsaved sin is still sin.  Marriage is between one man and one women in the sight of God. It is holy matrimony, set apart as Gods instrument and example in the earth of Christ and the church.

Romans 1:18 is very clear when it says "For the wrath of God is revealed (i.e. clearly seen, made evident) from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress ( i.e. deny, hold down) the truth in righteousness

That's why we put on the breastplate of righteousness. You don't need to just hear about the truth but you must take the truth you know and hear and hide it in your heart and let that truth be cover by the righteousness of God.

Your lives and the people in your life need to be looked at with different eyes. All around us on a daily basis there are people that are going through tough times. In fact our very nation is experiencing some very unsettling events. This is why Jesus came to help you and I and all of those who call on His name to experience and walk in higher degree of peace in the midst of no peace.

John 14:27 says
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let your heart not be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I want you to know that there are two kinds of peace. (1) the worlds peace (2) peace of Jesus. Everyday you and I get to decide which peace we want to have in our lives. Based upon the peace that you decide will determine how you walk.

Knowing the gospel which is the good news of Jesus Christ accepted it and living our your life daily by letting it direct your life will cause you to be ready to walk out your faith in Christ Jesus in area of your life.

The next piece of the armor is not optional. Now that doesn't mean that the rest are. But I will say this if you leave one or all of the other pieces "home" one day, or maybe forget to put it on that morning, I want to encourage your heart and tell you all is not lost. However, you cannot afford under any circumstances to walk "out the door" into the world without the shield of faith.

Hebrew 11:1 says
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:6 says
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Did you hear that? Faith is like oxygen is not optional to the air we breathe. Faith in God is the same. That means if you lose everything else but your faith is still intact then you are OK. Faith in God. The devil sends doubt, unbelief, worry, anxiety, fear, etc. into the minds of people, including Christians like "fiery darts." Only the shield of faith can protect you from succumbing to the onslaught of the enemy.

Each and every day you must decide that no matter what you will live by faith and not by sight.

Hebrews 10:38 says
Now the just shall live by faith..." (See also Rom. 1:17)

The next piece of armor that is needed for this spiritual warfare is the helmet of salvation. When in a fight with the devil; whether concerning your marriage, children, family, friends, etc. there will be times that you might find yourself questioning your salvation. Problems can sometimes be that intense. However you must remember that you have been saved.

Placing the salvation upon your head is for the purpose of protection and reminder of your new position in Jesus Christ. A helmet is for covering the head which is vital to guarding your mind.

Romans 12:2 says
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The word of God is the new language of the born again believer. You must have a daily diet of spiritual food from above. Gods word is a weapon. When you are filled with the truth of Gods word you are able to respond to whatever the enemy tries to throw at you through his attacks on your mind or influence on other people; whether the other person is your spouse, child, sibling, boss, coworker, neighbor, friend, etc.

Hebrews 4:12 says
For 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 intent of the heart.

I wish people took Gods word more serious. I hope you that are reading this do. If Jesus Himself had to use the word against the devil than how much more you and I? Here's one of those examples.

And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." But Jesus answered him saying, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.' " -Luke 4:3, 4

I hope this has help make clear to you that our warfare is not against physical forces, but against invisible powers who have clearly defined levels of authority in a real, though invisible, sphere of activity.

Next we are going to look at the importance of having strong mind during Spiritual Warfare. I always say if the enemy can...he will. You must know and be aware of the enemies tactics where he makes his greatest attack in our lives and how to defend yourself. No matter if your married, single, or divorced. Hes after your mind.

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