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Wearing the Whole Armour of God
By Robby Charters
(c)1998 Robby Charters
A teaching on how to actually put on and maintain the armour of God
If you are interested in studying more about the armour of God, here's another book you may want to look at online: Awaken The Warrior by Philip Sacco
Author's note: My own preference, when speaking of the Lord, is to refer to Him as "Yeshua, the Messiah", as His name would have been spoken in His native language. I hope no one takes it as insinuating that other believers in Messiah who call Him "Jesus Christ" are in any way inferior in their faith or practice. Both uses are equally fine.Ephesians 6:10-20, on the Armor of God: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore ...-- Ephesians 6:10-20.
In order to succeed in the highly competitive world we live in, one must come up with a whole arsenal of strategies and protective mechanisms. Even if one's recipe for success seems fool-proof, one never knows where one is going to be hit next. What is the competition up to? What have we overlooked? What unpleasant surprises lie in wait around the next corner? This is the fact of life in the world of business, in politics, diplomacy and all out war between nations.
In fact, all of life is a war.
The spiritual world is no exception. When one sees all the potential dangers that await the unsuspecting believer, one is tempted to shudder. All those temptations! The traps! People putting curses on Christians! And then there are all the new teachings - are they of God? Are they just fads? Are they cults? Will they end up in the funny-farm or in a mass suicide? How do we keep from being led into error? What about this or that famous minister that was caught in adultery? What about brother and sister so-and-so with the "ideal marriage" that just got a divorce? With so many around us "biting the dust", how are we to hope to make it in the end?
The Bible makes no secret of the fact that the devil and his hordes are looking for every opportunity to get at us. Peter warns us to "be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet. 5:8).
It seems like there are so many ways for the devil to get in, one couldn't hope to cover all the points. I'm reminded of a circus performer I once saw on television, who was twirling plates on sticks he had stuck into the ground. There was enough springiness to the sticks, so that they would jiggle, and keep the plates spinning for a while; but he had to mind so many of these that when he got towards the last of them, he had to rush back and give the first few sticks a jiggle. Then a plate would fall off a stick over in another spot he couldn't run to in time. The entertainment was seeing him run back and forth trying to keep all the plates spinning. I'm sure that many people who saw that were reminded of their own everyday lives.
Does our success as believers depend on our running around trying to keep up with all the "plates and jiggling sticks"?
When the Corinthian believers started getting interested in so many distractions, Paul told them, "I determined not to know anything among you except Yeshua, The Messiah and Him crucified" (I Cor. 2:2). Elsewhere, we are told to test the spirits to see if a bad one is trying to deceive us. I John 4:2 says that any spirit that does not say, "Yeshua The Messiah has come in the flesh," is not from God. I Cor 12:3 tells us if they say "Yeshua is accursed" they're not from God.
All methods of testing the spirits focus on Yeshua!
There's realy only one point to cover - that's Yeshua. Who is Yeshua to you? How important is He to you? Just making Him the focus of everything covers all the other points!
That's why so much of Satan's activity is centred around trying to get our eyes off of Yeshua. It's only then that he can truly destroy us.
There are so many ways Satan uses to take our focus off of Him, that practically the whole New Testament is taken up just telling us more about Yeshua so we can better keep our focus on Him. In the end, John tells us in his first epistle (3:3), "We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." It's focusing on Him that changes us into His image.
Focusing on Yeshua both protects us, and accomplishes the ultimate goal for which we were called in the first place.
All the pieces of the armour of God, listed in Ephesians 6, are different aspects of who Yeshua is to us. To wear the whole armour of God is to focus on Yeshua. Each piece helps us to defend ourselves against Satan's wiles, while at the same time, advancing ourselves even further towards being more like Christ. We can also see some of the methods Satan will use to try to bring us down, and how each piece of armour will protect us from that.
So there's no need to be bewildered about there being so many pieces of armour to keep track of. Once Yeshua becomes our focus, they all become one. In fact, we'll also see that it's much easier to keep each individual piece on when we have our whole armour on. It's only when we have just one or two pieces on that they'll become difficult to maintain.
Now let's look at the passage, and go through it point by point:
Eph 6:10-20 (NKJV) - Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints - 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
who is our enemy?
First, let's look at who our enemy is, who he isn't, and at what his weapons are.
Verse 12 tells, we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but rather, against about four levels of spiritual powers. It's not our purpose here to go into detail about each of the four levels. Let's just say that the highest level are the powers over whole nations, and Satan himself; and the lowest are the little ones that simply perch on our shoulders and point out to us how fun it would be to forget our spiritual life for just a while, and "have some fun"; or to gossip about someone; or just dwell on how bad someone's been to us.
Some of the ones in between are the ones involved in occult activity, supernatural curses, masquerading as spirits of the dead and so on. It's this kind we often think of as spooks in some haunted house or other that would give us "goose bumps" or make our hair stand up. They are all dangerous, to be sure, but more dangerous than those that make our hair stand up, are the ones that make our tongues stand up - as it were - in slander and gossip. It's these, that are expert in making us a snare to others.
Indeed, much more focus is put on this area in the New Testament, than in table lifting, charms and curses. A parallel scripture to the one we read above is found in one of Paul's letters to the Corinthians:
II Cor 10:3-6 (NKJV) - For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Just as Ephesians 6 said, our war is in the spirit, not in the flesh. Our weaponry - the armour of God which we are about to look at piece by piece - is designed to pull down strongholds. What do these strongholds consist of? Poltergeists and vampires?
No. Arguments, ideas and thoughts are what Paul is stressing here. Even disobedience.
To be sure, the more occult and spooky aspects will play a role in spiritual warfare, but the more destructive aspect of the war is what happens in our mind, and in our conversation - thoughts dwelt on and words spoken. In the context of II Corinthians, there were ideas going around, and things said that were causing disunity in the body of believers in Corinth, and preventing people from having a clear focus on Yeshua. Paul was prepared to use spiritual authority to put a stop to these things.
Words and thoughts can be very destructive. Thoughts can be directly from Satan and his demons, or they can have their source in what others say. What someone says can have a profound influence over another person - whether for the good or for the bad. All this, we need to be aware of for two reasons: to be careful not to allow ourselves to become tools of Satan in speaking words destructive against others; and to be able to cope when others speak destructive words to or about us. The latter aspect, we will cover in detail as we look at each piece of armour. They, along with thoughts, and yes, occult activity, are among the things that the full armour of God is given to us to protect us from. Without that protection, they will hinder our focus on Yeshua.
It's when our focus has been taken off of Yeshua, that we see just how easy it is for us to speak words of criticism, slander, gossip and anger that are so destructive to others. By just one slip of the tongue, we say something horrible about someone else, or respond insensitively to someone close to us, and ruin their whole day, if not their life. James chapter 3 tells us all about how deadly the unwatched tongue can be.
It's so important to recognise that Satan's favourite weapon against us is us! Some of the deepest wounds we receive in the fight of faith are inflicted by our own brothers and sisters in The Messiah. In fact, they are the ones that hurt us the most, because we didn't expect someone so close, or someone we had so much hope in to say what they did. But then we see how easy it is to speak those very same words against others in our unguarded moments.
By using our words against others, and using the criticism and slander of our own brothers and sisters against us; Satan's strategy is not only to inflict deep wounds, from which he hopes we'll never recover; but also to divide us, and keep the church defenceless against his own kingdom through our disunity.
Rick Joyner sees the battle of the end time as something like the American Civil War.1 Abraham Lincoln was one who was truly qualified to lead during this time, because he knew that he wasn't fighting an "enemy", but his own countrymen. He carefully refrained from depicting the other side as "evil" in the eyes of his citizens, even when such a declaration could have rallied his side to a quicker victory. The victory would have been quicker, perhaps, but the healing of the nation, afterwards, would quite possibly have never occurred.
We need to maintain this same attitude towards our brothers and sisters in Christ, even when they are in the midst of slandering us, and talking about what heretics we are. I'm not simply speaking in terms of people with similar persuasions as ourselves i.e. those with a Charismatic type experience; but also those whose only belief known to be held in common with us is that salvation is through Yeshua The Messiah dying on the cross and rising again from the dead. The only way we can maintain such an attitude is to keep focused on Yeshua through wearing our whole suit of armour. That's when His forgiveness and love will freely flow through us to them.
Our battle, indeed, is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers that influence the words that are being spoken against us. The armour is there to protect us from being wounded by those words; and to enable us to stand against the spiritual powers that inspired the words; but not to hurt people of flesh and blood whom Satan has taken captive to use as the launching point for those words.
Now, let's look at each of the pieces of our armoury, piece by piece.
the belt of truth
Truth, in New Testament Greek usage has three meanings:
1. Truth as the opposite of falsehood;
2. Truth in the heart, as the opposite of hypocrisy; and...
3. Ultimate Truth, as found in God's word. Also, we could note Yeshua's saying, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6); and "Your Word is Truth" (John 17:17; Yeshua is also the Word, John 1:1).
So, which meaning applies to the belt of truth?
All three, of course.
We initially receive the Truth when we receive Yeshua. We also receive Truth when we read His Word, the Bible. At least we read the truth. Only the Holy Spirit, if we let Him, can cause that truth to sink in and become the Truth that abides in us (II John 1:2). That, again, is how we focus on Yeshua, who is Truth.
When the Truth is in us through the Word and the Spirit, then our habits begin to line up with the Truth, and our words and actions also begin to express truth.
There are some who go through an exercise every morning called "putting on the armour". They confess each piece, saying, "I now put on the belt of truth, I now put on the breastplate of righteousness..." and so on.
We will discuss some helpful aspects to this exercise later on, but if you haven't been reading the Bible and allowing the Holy Spirit to apply it in your life, then no amount of confession it is going to actually fasten the belt of truth around you! You put on the belt of truth by receiving the Truth, focusing on Him who is Truth, and that Truth results in you being a truthful person.
As you begin to read the Bible, first, pray, "Lord, let these words You spoke through Your prophets be Your words to me right now. I open my heart to you." Then, act as though it's Yeshua speaking to you, or else read it as though it's a letter from God to you. Be ready to repent of any untruth that the Truth of God's Word uncovers.
How much truth do we need to be fully girded with the belt of truth?
As much truth as God has revealed to you. He reveals His truth to us in three ways:
1. The Bible (as we've seen);
2. Through the Holy Spirit speaking to our hearts; and...
3. Through relationships in the Body of Messiah.
The Bible, of course, is the most sure way. As the Holy Spirit speaks to us, we can know that it's truly Him, because it lines up with God's Word. In that way, the belt of truth protects us from error from the wrong spirit.
Words through the Holy Spirit, or words of correction can come to us through friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. Any personal prophecy should be confirmed, both by the Word of God, and by an inner witness through the Holy Spirit's personal dealing with us. Again, that's the belt of truth protecting us from manipulation by someone who's out to control us.
Also, being open to receive correction by open-mindedly listening to others, is a way to make sure our belt of truth is fastened, because we are then open to all channels of truth. Even those who speak out of a critical attitude can have something to say. Even if it's half-truth, the Word and the Spirit can help us discern which half is truth.
After all, when Yeshua said, "Judge not...don't look for a speck in your brother's eye when there's a log in yours," he was only speaking to the judgmental critic, not to the one on the receiving end. In other words, He didn't say, "If someone with a log in their eye approaches you, don't listen." If there's truth in what they're saying, then we're responsible before God for having heard it.
The more open we are to truth coming from all three sources, the better protected we are. The sincerity of heart (or absence of hypocrisy) that would enable us to receive from one less worthy than ourselves, protects us from pride. Satan has fewer options to use against us.
It's interesting that truth is described by Paul here as a belt. If you think a moment, what's the most embarrassing thing you can think of that could happen in public? Among the most embarrassing, would you say, is your trousers falling down? What would cause your trousers to fall? The lack of a belt, of course!
Ask yourself again, what is the most embarrassing thing that could happen to one in public ministry - one whose words carry weight, and is known for high moral standards?
To be caught with his or her pants down! To be shown up in a moment of hypocrisy, or caught in an immoral act. Those who have lost the edge of truth in their personal lives have made themselves vulnerable to this kind of attack. All Satan has to do is to wait for the moment when the battle is at its hottest, and then aim an arrow of accusation at the spot where the belt ought to be, and then, down come the trousers!
That attack comes in the form of an accusation. There are two kinds of accusations: the true ones and the false ones. Along with the true ones should be included, the half truths.
A totally false accusation could change public opinion about us, but won't hurt us if we know in our hearts we are right and honest before God - so long as our breastplate of righteousness is on. That, we'll discuss in the next section.
A true, or a half true accusation hurts when we've been trying to hide something. Our untruth in the matter suddenly comes to light, and we've been wounded. In the case of a half-truth, we're left forever on the defensive, arguing against the half of the accusation that's untrue, while on the other hand, covering-up to hide from the half that is true. It's like holding one's trousers up with one hand and fighting with the other. As far as Satan is concerned, we've been incapacitated.
However, if in our complete transparency before God and man, we've confessed the point of wrong doing, or admitted to the weakness, then there's not much point in Satan trying to aim for that part to begin with. He may aim, instead, for the part covered by the breastplate of righteousness.
Also by Robby Charters:
An Illustrated explanation of the Kingdom of God:
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|You wake up in a strange place. You don't remember who you are. It only comes back little by little as you realise that the situation you find yourself in now is the result of choices you made. Is it too late to go back?|
...a free download
|Cyberpunk Novel by Robby Charters:|
...available in various e-book formats for US$4.95
the breastplate of righteousness
Perhaps we could say that righteousness is the view one takes of oneself. Many of us probably view ourselves as being pretty good people. Others may view us as not quite so good as we think we are. Changing our view of ourselves from what we think, to the way others see us can be quite a trauma. On the other hand, those who don't know us very closely may admire us in many ways. Quite a lot depends on how we see ourselves - whether we view ourselves from our own perspective, from that of our friends, from that of our critics, from that urged on us by our psychologist, or by our pastor, priest or rabbi. (There's another perspective we haven't mentioned yet - by far the most important - but we'll get to that in a moment.) That image could be that of a "good guy", "bad guy", "cool guy", "sugar daddy", "old windbag", "tightwad" or any one of an endless number of designations.
It's very appropriate that this view of ourselves is described as a breastplate, because our self image is like a protective devise. Most of us develop a view of ourselves we can live with, and we take comfort in that, when the going gets tough. Teachers, counsellors and other leaders are often seen trying to pinpoint some positive area in the lives of their pupils and councilees - whether some ability, some natural good point or some accomplishment - that they can use to rally their self-esteem.
All this can be good for us and build our confidence - or it can break us in the end if that confidence is wrongly placed.
For Paul, it could have taken him a long ways. Here's what he had to say about himself (Phil 3:4-11):
4 ...If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for The Messiah. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of The Messiah Yeshua my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Messiah 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in the Messiah, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul had it all together when he was functioning as a Pharisee. He was a high achiever no matter what way you look at it, and the achievements he lists here are definitely something to crow about. He was also born of a good family; elsewhere we read that he had a well known rabbi as a mentor; and scholars believe he was actually a member of the Sanhedrin, the great judicial council in Jerusalem that made many binding decisions that rabbis still go by to this day. According to the religious standard of righteousness - or shall we say, from everyone else's point of view - he was well ahead of everyone else. And yet, when he discovered the "righteousness which is from God by faith", he chose to disregard these accomplishments as though they were of no value at all!
Why? Because he suddenly caught a glimpse of himself from God's perspective. We can shuffle, rationalise and feel good about ourselves all we want, but in the end, it's only how God sees us that counts.
Paul found, that all the good points he could dig up about himself would only make a breastplate big enough to cover, say, his navel. Perhaps, if he moved it up a bit, and over to the left, he could wear it like a medal that war veterans wears to boost their self esteem. After all we are talking about warfare here, aren't we.
But in a real battle, a medal is of absolutely no use whatsoever. Satan will never aim for the medal. He'll aim for the part of you that isn't covered. He knows how to get around every single positive mental attitude there is. In fact, he even inspired some of them himself!
What you need, is a breastplate that's big enough to cover your whole chest area. For that, you need the alternative approach to righteousness that Paul found - the "righteousness which is from God by faith".
The thing about this righteousness, is that it requires no achieving at all! In fact, to make full use of it (which in a war one must), Paul found he had to disregard all his old achievements as though they meant nothing.
Get rid of those old medals. On your breastplate, there's no place to pin them!
But not only did he disregard all his achievements he gained as a Pharisee; he chose to forget even his accomplishments as an apostle:
...13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Messiah Yeshua. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
He chose to forget the past - both the good things and the bad - and only regarded the righteousness he received through faith in Yeshua. The old just wouldn't do.
Not only is our own righteousness insufficient to protect us from Satan's attacks; it won't even get us to heaven! We can rationalise all we want about how good we are; but from God's perspective, we all deserved to die because of our sin. We, with our twentieth century rationalisation, can insist all day long that a loving God would never punish anyone by sending them to Hell. Just one small glimpse of yourself from God's point of view will convince you that God's standard of justice is the only one, and that we do, indeed, deserve Hell. Of course, I can't give you that glimpse here. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. I pray He will.
But not only is God just; He is also full of love and mercy. He went to the ultimate length to provide a way out for us. He sent his only Son to become the target of all the consequences of our sin.
When Yeshua died on the cross, an exchange took place, as II Corinthians 5:21 says:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
When we decide to turn our lives around and accept what He's done for us (His death and His resurrection from the dead), we automatically gain that righteousness.
No longer do we have to worry if we're good enough for God, or if our past record of wrongdoing will keep us from any of God's blessings. All that has been put on Yeshua in exchange for His righteousness. He became sin with our sin - we become righteous with His righteousness. There's absolutely nothing we can do to improve on that.
When we wear that righteousness as a breastplate by focusing on Him, God sees us as though He were looking at Yeshua. Everything that was a part of our old life; all the bad things and our failures, all of our achievements, everything is forgotten - as though it never happened.
Remember, that's not only our failures, but also our achievements.
It's important that our self-image become based, not on what we've done, not on what we always thought we were, not on what we want to become someday, not on what psychology textbooks say we are, nor on what other people say we are; but on how God sees us in Christ. Our righteousness in Christ means we've been accepted by God in the same way as He accepts His own Son. We must learn to accept ourselves on the same basis on which God accepts us. As we learn this, the way other people see us will mean less and less to us.
Why is this important?
Because that's as far as the breastplate of righteousness will protect us. Where we still cling to our own view of ourselves, that's where the breastplate of righteousness doesn't protect us.
Here, I'm not talking about avoiding Hell and getting into Heaven when we die. The fact that we have that righteousness will get us to heaven. Here, we're talking about actually using that righteousness to protect us from Satan's attacks - how a self image based on His righteousness acts like a breastplate.
Let's say I'm out shopping for some groceries. I'm wheeling my grocery cart down an aisle trying to compare the price on two different brands of baked beans. Then, I hear two people just on the other side of the row of shelves having a conversation, and I realise they are friends of mine.
One of them is saying, "You know, Baruch just isn't as sharp as he thinks he is."
"That's right," says the other. "Half of the stuff he writes - it just bores me to death!"
"Yes, he's out of touch, somehow."
"And that hair-doo of his. Why! He's just an over-grown hippie!"
As I carry my bag of baked beans home, I mutter to myself, "Out of touch, am I? An over-grown hippie am I?"
That's all I can think of for all that day, and the rest of the week. The next time I see those two people in church, I just grunt and look the other way. "Huh! What does an 'over-grown hippie' have to say to you!"
When it's time to get down to some writing, I just sigh, and say, "What's the use - I'm just an out-of-touch over-grown hippie. My stuff just bores people."
What has happened?
I've been hit with one of the enemy's arrows, and I was wounded because I didn't have my breastplate of righteousness on.
If I did, my focus wouldn't be on my writing ability, nor how in-touch I am, nor my smart hair-doo. It would be on who I am in God's eyes.
I would be so taken up with what the Creator of the universe thinks of me that it wouldn't make any difference to me that my friends think I'm less than top-notch.
That is, what the Creator of the universe thinks of me - not my writing ability, or my looks. My writing ability is nice, of course, but I must realise that God doesn't love "Baruch, the great author", or "Baruch, the spell-binding Bible teacher". He doesn't even love "Baruch the missionary" or "Baruch with oh-so-much potential".
Who does God love? He loves just plain old Baruch - with or without any abilities and accomplishments.
Actually, I'm not so sure He loves "Baruch". That's just the pseudonym I use for my writing. When He talks to me, God calls me by my real name. That's who God loves.
Wearing the breastplate of righteousness is keeping our focus on His love for us.
We are protected by our breastplate to the extent that we accept ourselves as God sees us without adding anything of our own achievements to it, nor subtracting anything due to past or present failure. It's a place of humility, to be sure, because we don't get to show anything off except for what Yeshua is in us.
So how do we maintain our breastplate?
The same way we maintain the belt of Truth. Again, all the pieces of armour are one - only this time, we receive the truth specifically regarding our righteousness in the Messiah.
One excellent Bible portion that will enhance your understanding of our righteousness, is the book of Ephesians - especially the first few chapters. Just take your time reading it. Go over some of the verses many times, focusing on Yeshua as you do. That will do something for your inner self.
Another way is to find scriptures in the New Testament - especially Paul's epistles - that contain the phrase, "in Christ", or "in Him", or "through Christ" etc. These verses will help you mould your view of yourself into the view God has of you. Again, quite a few of these are in Ephesians:
1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will...
The above is just a small sample.
Another point about maintaining your breastplate of righteousness is to remain in fellowship with Yeshua. To be in fellowship with Him requires transparency. That brings us back to the belt of truth again, but, as we said, it's all the same thing. Like we said earlier, it's easier to maintain each individual piece of armour when we've got it all on.
Despite the fact we are "in Christ", we still make mistakes. Sometimes, big mistakes - sometimes falling into sin in a big way. But if we're transparent before God, instead of insisting that everything's just fine, we can immediately pick right back up where we left off.
I John 1:5-10 says:
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yeshua the Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Notice what verses 8, 9 and 10 say about transparency. According to verse 9, it's as we confess our sin, rather than trying to hide it, that we are cleansed from whatever unrighteousness that would knock our breastplate out of kilter. That also keeps us in fellowship, because as we remain transparent before Him, we're in the light, and thus (according to verse 7) in fellowship with Yeshua.
So, when you slip up (and it doesn't matter how many times you've already slipped up), just say, "Lord, I've slipped up. I've done ...(name the sin)... With Your help, I turn away from this sin right now. Please forgive me and cleanse me from my unrighteousness." Verse 9 promises that He is faithful and just to forgive. Then, fellowshipping with Him in the light (verse 7) will give you the strength to overcome that tendency to sin. "The blood of Yeshua the Messiah, His Son, cleanses" us from that tendency.
If, for some reason, you think He won't forgive, or He's giving you the silent treatment, just read that verse again. "He is faithful and just to forgive..." That means that if you are truly being open and transparent before Him, and He doesn't forgive, as His Word (i.e. Truth) says; than He's a liar. That means that all we've talked about so far in this book is useless.
But since He is the Truth, then you can rest assured - just because His Word said it - that you are forgiven, and back in fellowship.
That's how you keep your breastplate on.
the gospel shoes
It's good to look again at Paul's wording in his description of this piece (vs. 15):
...having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel (good news) of peace...
This is a direct reference to a favourite verse of Paul's - Isaiah 52:7:
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
He also quotes this verse in Romans 10, in a passage in which he is talking about evangelism - especially to the Jewish community:
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!" 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
All of the above gives us a wide breadth of application - from missionary evangelism in other lands (over the mountains), to sharing to Jewish people who their Messiah is, to simply bringing hope and comfort to fellow believers by reminding them that "your God reigns", and that His kingdom is coming very shortly.
Not everyone can be a missionary; not everyone can speak to people of various ethnic backgrounds with the same effectiveness; and not everyone can teach, preach or bring comfort in quite the same way. But everyone has a gift of the Holy Spirit - perhaps two or three.
To try to do something for which you don't have a gift, is sometimes like running over a mountain barefoot. You might bring the message, but you'll be wincing in so much pain from your sore feet, that, if the people don't listen very carefully, they might think you're talking about some sort of torment - not peace. And your feet will end up not looking very beautiful!
Without this piece of armour, it's easy for Satan to confuse us with all kinds of situations that are out of our depth. Once we are wounded in the feet, it could be a long time before we again venture out to attempt any more work of ministry.
That's why Yeshua made sure His disciples didn't go anywhere until they had put on their shoes:
Luke 24:49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."
The fact is, they didn't have to wait very long for the Holy Spirit to come, and what a difference it made!
Only 53 days earlier, Peter had showed that he most certainly didn't have his feet shod for any mountain-climbing. When there was an opportunity to state his belief of who the Prince of Peace was, he was so confused and turned around that he denied all knowledge of Yeshua!
After that, he was indeed a wounded man. All self confidence had drained away completely. If it weren't for the fact that Yeshua knew beforehand that Satan was about to "sift him like wheat" (Luke 22:31,32) and did some intense praying for him, Peter probably wouldn't have emerged from this experience at all! As it was, many of Yeshua's words upon His resurrection were intended to heal those wounds (John 21:15-19).
Here, we see that words spoken at the right time, along with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, can heal us of Satan's attacks at points where we haven't been properly covered by the armour. Wounds are an inevitable fact of war, but as we focus on Yeshua, healing comes. As it was, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell, Peter was the first one to stand up and announce the good news of peace, and proclaim to Israel, "Your God reigns!"
Upon that announcement, 3000 people repented and were baptised.
Some of you are probably wondering, "Where in the world do I find shoes like that?"
Look one more time at the passage in Romans 10:
14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?
We get our shoes when we're sent. The disciples had to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit, because it was He who would send them.
How are we sent?
How do we know when we've been sent?
We have to be in a position of hearing from God - the same place Peter was when he was healed of his deep wounds in his soul, and then became empowered to preach. That place was the place of fellowship with Yeshua, sitting on the beach around a fire with Yeshua eating fish for breakfast, and then simply waiting quiet before the Lord until Pentecost came.
Focusing on Yeshua; fellowshipping with Yeshua; walking in the light as He is in the light: that's what the armour is all about.
Even though Yeshua isn't here in bodily form, we have the Holy Spirit. When we worship God in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23) and begin to simply enjoy His presence, and that becomes the priority in our lives, then we learn how to work with God, not for Him. The work of ministry begins to come naturally.
That's the way Paul and Barnabas received their calling:
Acts 13:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
It looks like what this group of prophets and teachers came together to do, was not prophecy, not ask for direction, but simply to minister to the Lord. It's while they were praising and worshipping Him, and enjoying His presence that the Holy Spirit singled out Barnabas and Saul for a special work.
Be careful not to miss the point here. Ministering to the Lord and focusing on Yeshua is not simply a way of getting what we need from God. It is, in fact, an end in itself. It's the reason we were created. We were made to simply be friends with God.
Yes, the "gospel shoes" are to help us do the work of the Lord, but we must remember that we begin our work from a place of intimacy and friendship.
John 15:15 "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Once we start there, the rest becomes natural. We no longer go by a set method, but we work as one who understands the work, because we are working side by side with Yeshua.
On the other hand, don't simply refrain from all ministry because you don't know your calling yet. If there are opportunities to join in, then join in. If a team is going out passing out leaflets, join them. If you have a chance to join with a ministry team going to another country, by all means, go along and see where you fit in. But do it with your heart open to Yeshua, with the attitude that you're working with Him, not for Him. It's easy to do that when you're with a team, and the whole team is oriented that way. Or if the passenger sitting next to you on the bus looks like he needs new hope in his life, than look for a opportunity to share it with him. Often, it's when we try a few things like this that we "find our shoes". When you do, it won't seem like hard work, but like a pastime. Also, the more you do this, the more easily you'll hear His voice. Much more work of the ministry will get accomplished this way than by our being motivated by guilt or duty.
Also by Robby Charters:
the helmet of salvation
If we look at the whole history of Paul's ministry, not only in the book of Acts but also in the Epistles, we can see that this passage on the armour of God was a teaching illustration he had probably been developing for quite a long time - at least ever since his second missionary journey when he travelled to Corinth and wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians. In this letter, we see the same illustration in a very basic form, probably just after he had thought it up, or after it was first given to him by the Holy Spirit.
I Thess 5:8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
Calling the breastplate, "faith and love" isn't too far different from calling it "righteousness". After all, we make use of our breastplate of righteousness by basing our faith on the fact that we are the objects of God's love.
When we see the helmet as being the "hope of salvation", that also gives us a deeper understanding of what salvation is.
Salvation isn't just something that happened to us a long time ago (or, for some of us, not so long ago) when you repented and invited Yeshua to be your Lord. You were saved from Hell at that point, yes, but the Bible concept of salvation goes far beyond that.
When we think of salvation from the Biblical standpoint, we're not talking about salvation from Hell (although it does include that), but rather, salvation from sin.
This is what Paul was talking about when he wrote to the Philippians:
Phil 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling ;
Was Paul really telling them to fear and tremble at the possibility that they might die and go to Hell at any minute? No. He was exhorting them to be motivated by the fear of the Lord to allow His grace to do a complete work in their lives. Earlier on in the epistle, he had said almost the same thing:
1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Yeshua Christ;
The fear of the Lord is the other side of our relationship with Him that we haven't looked at yet. We already saw that we are called to be His friends. That is not a "happy-go-lucky" friendship in a flippant sense that we maintain, perhaps, with certain ones with whom it's impossible to be serious with (though it's also true that God can laugh and have fun). All the while that we are His friend, we are also aware that He is a great and awesome God, the creator of the universe, and a God that doesn't tolerate sin. He has been a loving and merciful God to us, but His other attribute is that of justice and holiness. Seeing God in His attribute of justice is the "fear and trembling" aspect of our relationship with Him. That is the motivation to be diligent to allow God's grace to complete the work in us that He began the day we were born again.
We know that He's given us His Holy Spirit, and His Word to read and enjoy. We know we have an approach to Him any time we have a need. However, without the fear of the Lord, it's too easy to take all this for granted.
We've been given these privileges so that we can receive from Him, and grow up to be what He's called us to be. But remember, they've been given to us by the creator of the universe - the God who's a consuming fire - who expects these privilages to be used to their maximum benefit. When the King invites you to supper, you don't just make any old excuse to not show up.
But we can also rest assured that when we do take advantage of our righteousness, of the belt of Truth and of His Holy Spirit's empowerment, we will be changed into His image.
That is the hope of salvation.
Hope is looking forward to what's up ahead. What is up ahead is the "day of Jesus Christ" that Paul mentioned to the Philippians. That is the day that we expect the work to be completed that He began in us the day we were born again.
Paul said some more profound things about this "day of Jesus Christ" in his letter to the Romans (chapter 10):
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
The final stage of our salvation is the "redemption of our body." That, according to this passage, is not only the longing of our spiritual nature, but of all nature as well. Throughout the New Testament, we see that this was the hope that kept everyone intensly motivated. In Titus, Paul calls it "The blessed Hope." Then, in this passage, we read that the Holy Spirit was given to us so that we could pray this hope through to reality.
We certainly do need the Holy Spirit's help in this. God help our ignorance! We've always thought that the second coming would just automatically happen one fine day when we were least expecting it.
Peter didn't see it that way. He said it was up to us to hasten that day:
II Pet 3:11 ...Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat
If it's up to us to hasten that day - the day God planed everything for since the beginning of the World - don't you think that's cause for fear and trembling?
What we are looking forward to here is the end result of all our labours here on Earth. For that reason, we can be assured that everything we do in His strength, with His motivation, everything that results from our focus on Yeshua, will bear fruit. That fruit, along with the whole church's unified focus on Yeshua is what will ultimate hasten and bring that day to pass. That's the hope we have. That's the ongoing process of salvation.
So how does the lack of this piece of armour open us up to attack from the enemy?
One of the ways we've just noted is, we fail to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We take our jolly old time. Why do you think it's taken 2000 years already since Paul started urging us on like this? We haven't been listening have we!
Secondly, without hope, our joy is the next to disappear. Then, we have no strength left.
In our everyday language, "full of hope" is almost a synonym of "joyful", whereas, "hopeless" or "lost all hope" is another way of saying depressed, or lacking in motivation. That's why Nehimiah 8:10 says , "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
When we have the hope of the "day of Jesus Christ" before us; the hope that God is taking us into greater and greater things until that ultimate day, then we become dangerous to Satan and his kingdom, because then there's no stopping us. When we lose that hope; when Christian life becomes humdrum day to day existence, then, we become easy targets for Satan's attacks. He'll easily divert our attention to other things, where it will be that much easier to attack us with the temptation to sin.
We maintain this piece of armour, again, by receiving the Truth that renews our mind. The reason salvation is described as a helmet that covers our head, is that it has to do with our mind being either on the ways of God, or else conformed to the ways of the world.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 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 renewing of the mind is one of the processes of salvation. That both keeps the "day of Jesus Christ" as a constant reality before us, as well as guides our thoughts and habits to be more in line with Him.
the shield of faith
Now, we've arrived at the two pieces of our weaponry that we don't simply wear, but actually hold in our hands in active combat with the devil. The shield works for us when we see something coming our way, and we lift it up to fend it off. The other parts catch what we miss with our shield.
In that way, it's good to know that our survival doesn't depend on our constantly being ready to exercise our faith. Faith, in many ways, is an active thing. On the other hand, we can trust in the Lord's keeping power in times we are so exhausted from the war, all we can do is just hold on to something and gasp for breath.
On the other hand, Paul does mention a specific type of attack in regards to the shield of faith (vs. 6)
...taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Often, the shields were made, not of iron or bronze, but of leather stretched over a frame. The arrows could go through, and perhaps hit the breastplate and the helmet and other pieces, but the ones that were dipped into flammable liquid and lit, would be quenched by the time they got through the leather shield.
Most of the possible wounds we've considered so far have been those incurred by the iron or bronze points of Satan's arrows. Now, for the first time, we see the added danger of fire.
What is fire? Usually, we picture the flame that rises from a combustion of flammable material. That, of course, is the red hot gasses that are released by the chemical reaction. The word for "spirit" in both Greek in Hebrew is actually the word for wind, or breath. That would put it in the same category as the flame, being something like gas.
The fiery darts, then, represent the spiritual side of Satan's attacks. They could be occult, or witchcraft spirits sent to supernaturally attack the believer. They could also be what give the other attacks the added edge - an attack on our self image could be accompanied by a demonically induced depression. They could also be from curses sent by occultists or from spirits resident in an area.
In other words, your shield of faith is what you must begin using when you take that shortcut through the cemetery at night, and you suddenly get goose-bumps.
In many cultures, particularly in the West, the above illustration may seem laughable. The secular rationalism that has been prevalent for the last 300 or so years has taught us that such things are the stuff of children's storybooks, and have no relevance to real life. The Western mind has thereby been desensitised to the spirit world.
While the western based education system may have taught us more about science and technology, the world view of the tribal societies is much more accurate in describing the spirit world - that part of reality that science, so far, hasn't developed the capability to gauge.
Don't get me wrong! I'm not trying to push some "new age" philosophy. Just because they are aware of the spirit world, doesn't mean they are free from Satan's power. But the difference between them and the so-called "civilised" cultures is that they know exactly who it is that has had power over them for thousands of years.
That's why it's easier for whole villages and tribes of these peoples to respond to the gospel of Yeshua. They know who their enemy is, and they immediately recognise the power of the gospel to overcome that enemy. The war is real, and they know it!
The shield of faith is a more necessary weapon than we are often aware of.
How do we develop our shield of faith?
Make sure you have girded your loins with sufficient Truth regarding your authority in the Messiah. Some good passages to read and meditate on are Matthew chapter 10, and Luke 10. Particularly Luke 10:19:
"Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you..."
With your authority, it isn't necessary to pray and ask God to chase the demons away. You can speak to them directly. James 4:7 says:
...Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
There is also a lot about our authority in the Name of Yeshua in John chapters 14 through 16. Also, authority to command circumstances - not just spirits - can be found in Mark 11:22-24. There, we see that it's possible to speak to objects, such as mountains, and command them to move. How much more, demons, who can hear what we say?
Finally, it is essential, when using our authority against demons, to have on the whole armour - not just carry the shield of faith. The demons are, after all, intelligent beings, and can spot right off which piece of armour you are lacking. Some believers have found it helpful to verbally go over each piece of armour, and confess the truth of each piece over themselves. We mentioned this practice earlier. This would fit under the category of the shield of faith, being that we are actively exercising faith in each of the areas represented by the armour of God, for that extra edge of protection.
We'll learn yet more about the shield of faith as we discuss the sword of the spirit.
the sword of the spirit
17...the sword of the Spirit, which is the rhema of God...
When discussing this piece, one is also reminded of another reference to the Word of God being a sword, found in the epistle to the Hebrews. Before we can truly understand the relationship between these two passages, we must first understand that there are actually two words in the Greek that mean "word". One is rhema, which we find in the present passage, and the other logos, which the passage in Hebrews uses.
Logos generally means something that is written. That's where we get the word "logo", as meaning a trade mark. The Bible in its written form would be Logos. Foundational teaching on an important doctrine in the Bible would be Logos teaching. The teaching in this book is Logos at its centre. It's actually hard, sometimes to draw the line between Logos and Rhema.
The verse in Hebrews is a good expos? of the power of Logos:
Heb 4:12 For the word (logos) 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 intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
This description fits more with what we said about the belt of Truth. You remember, we said that His Word is Truth; and also, Truth is God's character which is transferred to us as we receive His Truth. That is exactly what this verse describes. God's Truth, as a sword piercing into our hearts and discerning our very thoughts and intents as to whether or not they are pure and honest or if they aren't hidden agendas and hypocritical self ambition. What this describes is, not a sword in our hands, but in the hands of the Holy Spirit as we allow Him to open it up to us. Thus, it is more applicable to the belt of Truth.
The Rhema, which is a part of our armour, is a sword in our hands. Rhema is the Greek word that means spoken word. It's a word that the Holy Spirit has taken and suddenly made alive in our hearts and provides us with a burst of faith need to get a specific job done, or a supernatural healing, or a burst of hope. Where Logos would describe sound teaching; Rhema is the prophetic word that often accompanies inspired preaching.
Romans 10:17 - So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by a rhema of God.
In teaching Logos, we are careful not to take verses out of context and thus misapply them. But a Rhema word, on the other hand, may be a verse in the Bible that the Holy Spirit suddenly gives new meaning to for a specific situation. That's okay, because it's not laying a doctrinal foundation; but rather, meeting a specific need, or giving specific direction. One common verse that is often used in this way is Isaiah 54:2, "Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings..." In its Logos context that's talking about Israel's future. That's what God meant when He originally gave the Word through Isaiah. However, many have also been given it as a Rhema word for themselves, with the message that the Lord is about to expand their sphere of influence. That is a unique feature of the Bible - its application both as Logos and Rhema.
As a weapon in our hands Rhema is, to us, what the flaming arrows are to Satan's army - except much more powerful, because they are a part of God's arsenal. When we have been sufficiently girded with Truth - God's Logos Word - that Word is there ready to become Rhema the moment we need to make a lunge at Satan's weak spot.
Quite a lot about what we said about the shield of faith, also applies to the sword of the spirit - except for the fact that one is primarily defensive, and the other offensive.
So how do we develop our ability to use our swords and shields?
The two main ways are: 1, to receive Truth as the Holy Spirit teaches us; and 2, to begin practising it.
In the context of the armour, we are talking especially about spiritual warfare. Our ability to exercise Rhema ought to be developed in other areas as well, especially in seeking God for direction, and in encouraging our brothers and sisters in the Messiah. But what concerns us in this context is using it as an offensive weapon against Satan. For specific scriptures, refer to the ones listed under the category of the shield of faith.
In putting both your shield of faith and your sword of the spirit into practice, don't just practice it on everything that moves. Also, don't just automatically use it on just every spirit shrine, fortune teller shop, pagan worship centre and Masonic lodge you happen to see. It's best to only do that when you're with a group of like-minded believers with the goal of doing sustained prayer and spiritual warfare against the spirits over a specific area. This is where you will encounter some of the others of the four levels of spiritual power we mentioned at the beginning.
This is not a book detailing that type of spiritual warfare. I would advise you to read others more specifically on that topic. C. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs and others have written some excellent ones.
Even apart from "strategic level spiritual warfare", as Peter Wagner calls it, you will still have the opportunity to practice using your spiritual sword and shield of faith on a personal level. Don't go against the ones over your nation until you've begun seeing victory over the ones coming against you and your family.
18 ...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints - 19 and for me...
This verse ties it all together for us. It puts the whole subject in the realm where it belongs. The first thing we noted is that "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood", but against spiritual forces. One of our primary functions in this is prayer.
The phrase, "all prayer and supplication" brings our attention to the fact that there are many kinds of prayer. It's true, prayer is simply talking to God. One doesn't need to be an expert at spiritual things to be able to pray. Just open up and start talking. On the other hand, once we begin doing that, and as we submit to the Holy Spirit, many avenues of prayer begin opening up for us. These include simply asking God for something we know is His will, and therefore asking with confidence (I John 5:14,15); commanding demons, or circumstances, as we mentioned earlier; praying in other tongues as the Holy Spirit gives utterance; groanings that the Holy Spirit may initiate in us according to Rom 8:26, which some also refer to as "deep intercession"; and many other types of prayer. Philippians 4:6 has a list of different kinds of prayer to which it adds, "with thanksgiving". It's important to maintain an attitude of thanksgiving as a part of our prayer stance.
We could go into much more detail about all these kinds of prayer, but there are other books that do so quite adequately - some by authors we've mentioned earlier.
"Being watchful..." - after all, we are in a war. As anyone who's been on the front lines of a battle will tell you, it's no place to relax and take it easy.
As we grow in Him, we must, among other things, develop a 24 hour consciousness of who we are and what we're doing. That doesn't mean always keeping a straight face when in the presence of our friends and colleagues in the world, nor acting like we're in the clouds. It simply means, never forget who you are. Keep your spiritual ear in tune for the Holy Spirit's promptings, the same way as a businessman's ears are always in tune to the sound of his or her cellular phone; or else as a mother's ears are always tuned to the sound of her child crying from the other room. One thing that helps is to spend time with Him on a regular basis. Once you take the effort to tune your heart to Him once in the day, then it comes more naturally later on.
Finally, we're told to include, along with the other forms of prayer, "supplication for all the saints". Not only is it our objective to protect ourselves by wearing the armour, but our concern is also for all our brothers and sisters in Messiah - some of whom may be only partially dressed. But even the ones who are fully dressed need our prayer.
It's no use to just be well protected all by ourselves. When we arrive before the judgement seat of Christ, it's not our objective for God to smile at us and say, "You, out of all my children, are the only one who kept my word 'till the end."
Wouldn't that be terrible? That's not our objective at all! We are a body. It's together, with all the saints that we must finally cross the finish line. Yeshua is coming for a bride composed of the entire church - not just one or two who can pride themselves in being more spiritual than the rest.
The reason why we've developed a mentality like that in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles, is that early in our history, we were wounded. Some of us began receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and mainline denominational churches couldn't accept it. They began shooting arrows of accusation and criticism at us.
So what did we do?
Did we seek the face of Yeshua for healing? Did we adjust our breastplate of righteousness and our belts of truth?
No. We drew off by ourselves and began licking our wounds. We allowed our bitterness towards them to become a doctrine, as it were, that we are the ones God has called, and as they have obviously rejected us - well, they've just rejected God haven't they!
Now, since they're on the outside looking in, it doesn't matter what they say. "Sticks and stones ...etc...!"
That was the protective mechanism we put into place instead of the full armour of God.
The problem is with that attitude, is, they are not on the outside looking in. We're all on the same side of the window - all of us who call on the Name of Yeshua, that is. The Pope is on our side. Ian Paisley is on our side. It's essential that we, as the Body of the Messiah realise this, and begin truly identifying ourselves with the whole Body of the Messiah, even if it means being deprived of the protective mechanism against their criticism.
The only protection we, as believers, have any business using is the armour of God. And we don't even get to use all our weapons to fight back, because they're our brothers and sisters in Christ 2. We can only use our protective parts of our armour, like our breastplate, belt, helmet and shield to fend off their arrows.
In this kind of situation, when our own brothers and sisters in Christ have allowed themselves to become tools of Satan in launching arrows of slander and accusation at us, "supplication for all the saints" is the only option we have. Anything we could possible say otherwise, may be construed as counter-accusation, and may further wound them instead of heal. We don't want that.
But thank God, prayer is a powerful tool - perhaps the most powerful weapon in our arsenal that we've mentioned so far. With it, people with no armour at all have sought God, and received, in answer to their prayer: countless souls for the kingdom of God, whole revival movements, and even the pieces of armour that they lacked. Women have won their unbelieving husbands to the Lord without a single word - just prayer - when anything they could have said would have only driven them even farther from the Lord.
Finally, Paul said, "Pray ... for me..." There are some, who say that certain things in the New Testament were only for the period of the apostles. At least they're right about this verse, because we obviously can't pray for Paul now!
If you want, however, you can pray for me instead. Also, the people who were so kind as to publish this book could use your prayers. Many others who are on the front lines could also use your prayers in the same way the early believers prayed for Paul.
Also by Robby Charters:
An Illustrated explanation of the Kingdom of God:
...a free download
|You wake up in a strange place. You don't remember who you are. It only comes back little by little as you realise that the situation you find yourself in now is the result of choices you made. Is it too late to go back?|
...a free download
|Cyberpunk Novel by Robby Charters:|
...available in various e-book formats for US$4.95
1 Rick Joyner, The Final Quest, Morning Star Publications, 1996, p.36 return to text
2 Where we can begin doing more to help bring deliverance to our brothers and sisters is described in Rick Joyner's vision, The Final Quest, Morning Star Publications, 1996 return to text