War...it's waging. Maybe not in the way we generally think of a war where military forces join with its solders lined up prepared to fight. This is a war that is invisible to the eye but more real than the nose on your face. We can see it's effects though can't we? It's like the wind. We can't see the wind but we see those leaves blowing about. Our nation is in such disarray it is surreal, unfamiliar, and disheartening to say the least, and this goes far beyond partisan lines. Friends let's not be duped into thinking this is about Democrats and Republicans, that it's about Liberals vs. Conservatives. My fellow Americans are not my enemy, but our true enemy wants us to believe just that. It's a trap designed for destruction and it is straight outta the gates of Hell.
As we sit here numb in disbelief with what is occurring in our nation while simultaneously asking ourselves what can we do to fix this, we must turn to the One who has all the answers. God is ruler over all. He sees all things and knows all things and if we are found in Him, if we belong to Him we need not fear. We can trust Him and hold onto His promises that all things are working together for our good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes.
So, does that mean that we sit back and wait it out and leave it in God's hands? Do we find ourselves saying "I've done my duty, I voted, the rest is up to God?" Time and time again throughout the Bible God requires action on the part of His people. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River God required them to take action. As the priests carried the Ark of the Covenant, God told them through Joshua to take a few steps into the river and wait there. Why did He do this? Did God need them to be in the water before He could stop the waters? Does He need us to take action? The answer of course is absolutely not. Were we there when He formed the Universe, when He knit us together in our mothers womb? Certainly God does not need us for anything at all ever. But for reasons only known to God Himself He really likes to use people in His plans. He likes to include us and make us a part of what He is doing and it would seem that He uses these things to teach us, to mold us, to test and perfect our faith. It can be a painful process but don't you find that the best things in life require dedication, pain, and sacrifice? It is truly amazing How God includes us in His plans and weaves His purposes and blessings throughout it all. We go through these journeys, these trials, and come out the other end better, stronger, richer for it when we submit to Him.
Maybe you are finding yourself feeling helpless, defeated, weary, and at a loss of what to do. Sometimes the giant feels just too big to go up against. Or maybe you are frustrated, feeling fired up in full warrior mode wanting to battle. Whatever place you find yourself in the solution is the same. Remember that, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12. We all need to suit up and report for duty. We need to suit up in the full armor of God.
Paul shares this encouragement in Ephesians chapter 6:10-11 - "Finally, let the Lord make you strong. Depend on His mighty power. Put on all of God's armor. Then you can stand firm against the devil's evil plans." These are dark days friends and there is more at work here than meets the eye. God has given us armor to protect and strengthen us for such a time as this. Let's use it all for His glory and for the benefit of one another.
Ephesians 6:13 - "So put on all of God's armor. Evil days will come. But you will be able to stand up to anything. And after you have done everything you can, you will still be standing."
How rad is this promise! That is for us, now. Let's look at how to practically put on this figurative armor.
Ephesians 6:14a - So stand firm. Put the belt of truth around your waist."
In the old King James it refers to having your loins gird about. This speaks of the personal area of one's life. The private life of a believer needs to be surrounded in truth and we need to make sure we are tellers of truth. Oh my that is a tough one right now. It's so easy to be reactive and post something on social media that strikes a nerve. Are we seeking to make sure it's true? Does it edify and help the Body of Christ or does it cause more confusion and division? With all the confusion and lies abounding in society we need now more than ever to be in the Word of God. It is itself Truth and serves as a guide for the life of a believer.
Ephesians 6:13b - "Put on the breastplate of righteousness on your chest."
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness just means we need to be doing what is right. So many people have sad hearts, hard hearts, broken hearts because they did not put on the breastplate of righteousness. There's so much freedom and liberty in living right, knowing that you're not intentionally doing things that are not right. Righteousness, doing what is right protects the heart. This doesn't mean we won't feel convicted when we make mistakes. But there is such a huge difference between feeling convicted which spurs us on to returning to good works and condemnation which causes us to cower and run away from God. Just another reason to be reading the Bible so we are reminded and encouraged to live godly lives.
Ephesians 6:15 - "Put on your feet what will prepare you to tell the good news of peace."
Don't let that word peace distract you to what this verse means. Paul is talking about being ready for battle. That we need to have a solid footing prepared to fight against the enemy so we are able to share the Good News of Jesus, the gospel of peace. If we are wishy washy in our beliefs, in what we stand for, then we won't be sure-footed when the battle comes. The battle is here...now. We need to be strong and courageous in our beliefs, ready to go where God calls us, ready with our feet protected able to handle the terrain.
Ephesians 6:16 - Also, pick up the shield of faith. With it you can put out all of the flaming arrows of the evil one."
I don't know about you but I have been bombarded as of late with these flaming arrows Paul speaks of here. Social media has been such a thorn lately. Passions have been peaking online and the hate and division stirs up so much strife, hurt feelings and anger. Have you noticed how much projecting and assuming happens on social media? Is it super frustrating, sad and just downright hurtful at times to anyone else besides me? Let's be real, Satan is having a field day with it all. What are we to do when Satan throws those fiery darts of anger, cynicism, envy, or gossip our way? We should do what Paul told Timothy to do...run! Run from them and follow after faith, pursue righteousness, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart. Be connected to the Lord. Read your Bible, meditate on it, pray, share with Him and listen to Him, and fellowship with other believers. Go to church or find some sort of fellowship where you can be encouraged and built up in your faith. We need each other...now more than ever. Be blessed and be a blessing one to the other in the faith.
Ephesians 6:17a - "Put on the helmet of salvation..."
The hope of our salvation is kind of everything isn't it. I believe this is what Paul is speaking of here. Not just the hope of spending eternity in Heaven but he is also speaking of the hope of the coming of the Lord. So many of the greats of the faith lived their lives with the anticipation of Jesus coming back. Luther, Augustine, Spurgeon, and Paul all lived with the anticipation of the eminent return of Jesus for His church. I think the reference to the helmet is referring to guarding our minds. Can you think of a time where we needed to our guard our minds more than we do now in this present season? I find myself grasping for truth and having to constantly take my thoughts and what enters into my mind to the Lord. Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus has never felt more important or more needed than it does right now.
Ephesian 6:17b ..."and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God."
God's Word is living and breathing. It equips us, comforts us, empowers us. Waving our sword so to speak keeps the enemy at a distance from us. We see in the Bible how the Word of God is used as a defensive weapon against sin. David said, "Thy Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you." Also, Jesus himself used the Word of God as His defense against the temptation of the enemy. If it's good enough for Jesus you can bet it's good for us too.
Ephesians 6:18 - "At all times pray by the power of the Spirit."
Prayer is like the long-range artillery in our arsenal. It is literally limitless and can reach anywhere and everywhere. From missionaries in Africa, to the President in the White House, to your prodigal son or daughter. Prayer is our beautiful lifeline to the Father. It has the power to change things, to change us, and to change others. I believe it's where the real beauty in our relationship with the Lord happens. Where we connect and commune with Him. It's where the peace comes, where confidence and reassurance resides. Prayer is water for our souls. We won't survive without it.
I believe God is calling all of us to pray like we have never prayed before by the power of the Spirit. What an honor to have access to the throne room of grace. God through His son Jesus offers us access to cry out to Him 24/7. He never sleeps and He never slumbers. A question that has frequently popped up in my mind lately is "do we post more than we pray?" I find myself getting lost in thought, trying to figure things out, trying to figure people out when I should be bringing those things to the Lord continually. Why would I try to figure it all out when God is there waiting to guide me in all of these things and so much more?
Friends, life is not a playground, it's a battleground. I think the reason why so many of us in the church are weak is because we aren't armed for battle. We need to take advantage of the equipment God has given us to navigate life and negotiate the war that surrounds us. We can stand in this season. We need to stand. We need to change our mindset from victim to victor. We have the victory in Him and that victory is not determined or changed by our circumstances. This is not the time to sit back and be a spectator. This is our time to shine our light to the world around us. Let's get on our knees, armor on, humble in spirit, filled with the love and peace of God. Let's go out and shine the light of peace and love to the world around us. Let's pick up our faith and leave fear and defeat at the door.
Cheers Friends! I'm praying for you all and for this great nation God has blessed us with.
Lisa Gresham is married to her husband Marty, and is currently in her 12th year homeschooling their youngest daughter Bailey. She is a grandma, and is currently working with the Youth at her Church. She is a retired High School Teacher and Coach, is an avid Writer and has her Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Development. You will frequently find her on the beaches of Orange County in Southern California, her favorite dwelling place.