Thursday, October 14, 2010

Be Prepared for 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 firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication." Ephesians 6:13-18a

This scripture came to my mind as I read through our Devotional Classics for the week. This week all three devotions talked about standing against the battle inside of us. "Let us firmly resolve not to lose the battle we fight. For if the devil sees that we are willing to lose our life and our peace, and that nothing can entice us back to the first room [living a life apart from God], he will soon cease from troubling us." This quote by Teresa of Avila is from the excerpt Interior Castle. This stuck out to me because if we are prepared to fight against the enemy and he sees that we are not giving in, he will slowly give up on us and look for someone else who is not standing firm. If everyone begins to stand firm and take up the whole armor of God as Paul writes, then the enemy will not be able to stand against us and he will be defeated every time.

In an excerpt of A Sermon Titled "Dead to Sin", John Chrysostom, the patriarch of Constantinople, uses the example of a serpent in our bed verses in our souls. He says that if there were a serpent in our bed and we were aware of it we would do anything to kill it, but when the devil is nestling in our souls - we are not as aware and think we aren't in danger because we can't see him or his intentions. This can be very dangerous because even though we cannot see the enemy, he is at work. If we are always on guard, we will always be ready to battle and when we do the enemy cannot withstand!

Sometimes I am not ready and the enemy attacks me. Within those times, there are times I fail to have the armor of God on to help me fight and I try to do it on my own. There was a point early on in my walk with the Lord that I ended up turning back. I began to fall away and each day pulled me further. I was blind to the lifestyle I had fallen into. It was very similar to the lifestyle I was living before giving my life to Christ. It wasn't until one day someone was bold enough to say something to me. Someone noticed the way I was living was not pleasing to the Lord and brought it to my attention. My eyes were opened but at that point I was full of fear. I figured I was too far away to go back to where I was or that God would no longer take me back. Good thing I was wrong and God's love is never changing - even when mine is. I was able to relate to this quote from Avila, "Some of you may think that since turning back is such a terrible thing, then it would have been better not to have begun at all. Remember, it is even more dangerous to have never begun." I knew I needed to repent [turn away from sin] and run home. Shortly after, I did and I do not regret it one bit! My Father was waiting there with arms wide open and so thrilled that I had returned. I felt like the younger son in the story of The Prodigal Son from Luke 15:11-32. Chrysostom says "For our Father has a natural yearning toward us and will honor us if we are changed. He finds great pleasure in receiving his children back."

Whether you have turned and fallen off path for however long, or if you have never experienced God's love and don't know him at all, it doesn't matter. God is waiting there with arms open for you. He loves and cares for every individual person. He desires for everyone to know him personally too! Our sin is what separates us from knowing God personally. Without knowing God personally we do not have eternal life and are spiritually separated from God. Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for our sins. Jesus' death on the cross bridged the gap of knowing God personally that sin created, it cannot be accomplished by our own 'good works'. If we believe that in our hearts and pray to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior of our life our sins are forgiven and we are saved and have eternal life.
I pray that everyone will come to know God if they don't already through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I pray for those who have turned, that they would repent of their sins and return to God, and I pray for those already walking with the Lord that they're love and passion for God would grow deeper and their relationship would grow stronger.

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