Friend, do you ever feel like you're in a battle? Like there is a war going on around you? Perhaps even within you? I do and the last few days I've felt that way more than I have in a long time. I've been reminded there is a war going on...not just over-seas, but right here in Iowa and also wherever you are. We are in the middle of a spiritual battle and if you are walking with Christ, Satan longs to bring you down.
I've been experiencing this quite intensely the last week, especially the last few days. He's attacking my mind, my marriage, my mothering, my ministry. At times I feel defeated and depressed; other's I'm full of doubt and discouragement.
Nearly a week ago as I laid in bed unable to sleep, I cried out to God and asked, "What do I need to do?" His response, not audibly, but impressed on my heart, "Put on the armor."
I agreed and instantly Ephesians 6:10-17 came to mind, "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. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rules, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."
These verses reminded me of the spiritual battle that is taking place, but that reminder wasn't enough. I meditated on them for a bit and eventually two words stuck out - "Put On". I thought about this and could see a paper we have hanging on our fridge...a project my daughter did awhile back.
This visual made me think about each piece of armor and how simply knowing about them does no good. If we want the armor to be useful, we must put it on. But then I wondered, how do I do that?
I didn't get out of bed and physically start putting things on my body, but instead I began to think about each piece starting with the belt of truth. Questioned entered my mind - What is true about this situation? What is the truth? The questions led to thoughts and then I began to pray, "Lord, I know You are Truth. Though I let others down and even sin against you, you forgive me. Thank you. Help me focus on the Truth, stabilize me with Your Truth Father."
Then I thought about the breastplate of righteousness and as I put that on, my eyes shifted from myself to God...He is righteous, holy and able to save. The breastplate protects my heart from which my emotions flow and again I started to pray, "Lord, you are good, strong and mighty to save. Protect my heart Lord, it is deceitful and tender. Fill me up with your love and create in me a pure heart, renew a right spirit within me. Help me stand behind your righteousness."
Fitting my feet with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace...this left me wondering a bit, but as I focused on the key word "peace", I was filled with it. "Lord, thank you for being the Prince of Peace...as this battle rages help me run to You, stand for You and walk with You. Fill me with your peace Father, the peace that passes all understanding and help me be ready to do what you need me to do."
Then thoughts went to the shield of faith, the piece of armor we must pick up and use to defend ourselves. Faith is our defense friend...it's easy to say we have faith when life is good, but it's a must to pick it up and stand behind when the battle is on. As I thought about this, I praised my faithful Father, "God, thank you for who You are. You are able to fight this battle, You already have and You are victorious. Strengthen my faith as the battle continues."
The helmet of salvation, yet another critical piece of armor. A helmet protects our mind and in the middle of a battle my mind needs protection! Friend, think about what protects and better yet who - our salvation that comes through Christ! Regardless of the results of the earthly battle, spiritually Christ has won. "Father, God thank you for saving me. Right now I ask you to protect my mind...Satan is feeding me lies and tempting me to believe them. I ask for wisdom and understanding. I pray for clarity and long for you to renew my mind. Help me focus on Truth that comes from You and is You."
Finally the last piece of armor, our only offensive weapon - the sword of the Spirit. Paul tells us this is the Word of God. Friend this is what we can use to defend ourselves and protect ourselves so I immediately cried out, "Lord, bring the verses to mind that I need right now. Saturate my mind with Your Word. Give me the wisdom I need in this situation. Help me speak Your Word. Like Christ help me combat Satan with Your Word."
Friend, this may seem like a long post and a longer process, but I want you to know I've worked through this in 3 different "battles". Each time my prayer was a bit different and my situation didn't change, but my heart did. I've studied the "Armor of God" a bit, talked about with my kids and have listened to others share, but aside from praying the verses from Ephesians this is the 1st time I've "put it on".
I struggle admitting that, but I'm guessing someone else might be able to relate, so if that's you, please hear me on this - putting on the armor takes time, it is a process and it's not a one time job, but it's worth it!! And if you're not in the middle of a battle right now, know this is the perfect time to put it on!! It's always easier to dress for battle before you are in one!!
In closing may we all learn a lesson from David...in 1 Samuel 17, he plans to fight Goliath and after convincing King Saul he was going to do it, the king outfits David in his armor. (vs 38) After trying to walk in them, David says, "I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them.' So he took them off." (vs 39)
Friend, we can't rely on someone else's armor to assist us or protect us. We must make it our own and be diligent to put it on!! I'm praying we will all do that today!!