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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.



God’s Word: Our Secret Weapon

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.
Ephesians 6:16-17


We end the week looking at the shield, the helmet, and the sword. As I’ve studied this passage, I see that every piece of the armor connects to the belt of truth: God’s word.

The shield of faith. Romans 10:17 says faith comes from hearing the word of Christ. Since Christians already have faith, how is the shield different? I better understood this analogy when I learned that Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus, who were surrounded by other religions contradicting the Christian faith. Paul wrote to encourage them to not mix their faith with that of their neighbors. A good reminder for us today.

The helmet of salvation. I thought of this simply as salvation from sin. However, Paul writes this to Christians who would already have this. So they wouldn’t need to put on their salvation. This could be the confidence of our salvation as in Thessalonians 5:8. And how do we get confidence? By knowing the God’s word!

The sword of the Spirit. Hebrews 4:12 tells us the word of God is sharper than any sword. Jesus quoted scripture when Satan tempted him in the wilderness. A perfect picture of resisting the devil and causing him to flee. James 4:7

Entire books have been written on the armor of God. So there’s a lot more to learn. I highly recommend Victory in Spiritual Warfare by Tony Evans or Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study, The Armor of God.

Lord, help me to spend time in Your word. Give me wisdom to understand scripture, and help me to apply it.

Stacy

Getting Dressed for War: The Breastplate and Shoes

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.
Ephesians 6:14-15


Today, we’re still talking about the armor of God — specifically the breastplate of righteousness and the gospel of peace.

So how do we put on the breastplate?
Righteousness is a gift, nothing we can do or earn. Through our relationship with Jesus, we have peace with God. Romans 3:22

If we already have righteousness, why and how do we put it on?
I like how The Voice translation puts Romans 6:16.
     What will be your master? Will it be sin—which will lead to certain death—or obedience—        which will lead to a right and reconciled life?
God gives righteousness to us when we become a Christian. But that’s just the beginning.

We grow in righteousness by obeying God’s Word. That’s how we put on righteousness: to obey!

I found the feet phrase the most difficult. I mean, how do you fit your feet with readiness? What does readiness even mean? So I went to The International Children’s Bible that put like this: on your feet, wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong.
The Good News is Jesus saves us from our sin, so we can live forever with Him. He brought peace between humans and God. This truth helps us stand firm. We also use our feet to go and share this news with others. (See 2 Corinthians 5:8.)

We wear the Good News on our feet to help us stand firm. Roman soldiers wore cleat-like boots in battle for stability. Our peace with God through Jesus keeps us rooted during the trials of this life.

Lord, help me to live according to your Word and stand firm in your peace.

Stacy

Two Truths and A Lie

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, 
with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
Ephesians 6:14


Have you ever played the game, Two Truths and A Lie?

It’s a fun activity at parties or even a Sunday School class. Each person in the group takes a turn to tell three “facts” about themselves. Two of the facts are true. One is a lie. The others try to guess which one is the lie.

While this is a fun party game, it’s not so fun in real life.

And it’s one of Satan’s best strategies.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says Satan seeks to distort truth. In The Message translation, Eugene Peterson puts it like this: We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God.

In Genesis 3, Satan’s version of Two Truths and A Lie went like this:

You won’t die.
Your eyes will be opened.
You will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Unlike the party game, Satan’s version is more lie than truth.

You probably know what happened next. Adam and Eve realized they were naked. Their eyes were opened, and they felt shame. While they didn’t physically die immediately, the process started. They had some qualities like God, but they certainly weren’t equal to God like Satan had made it sound.

If Satan can convince us to believe distorted truth, we can never win the spiritual battles he throws at us.

Sadly, that’s becoming more commonplace even in the Christian community.

When you seek truth, remember these things:
  1. Jesus Christ Himself is truth. John 14:6-7
  2. God defines truth, which includes his original intent. Titus 1:2
  3. God’s Word is truth. John 17:17
  4. Our feelings, thoughts, experiences or emotions do not define truth. 
Lord, help me to see your truth and your original intent. Help me not to fall into Satan’s lies.

Stacy

People are Not Our Biggest Problem

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12


This week, I’m sharing my journey through Ephesians 6:10-17 with you. Today, we’re only looking at verse 12.

Have I mentioned that I can’t read long passages without my eyes glazing over?

In fact, many times my eyes have glazed right over on just this one verse.

For instance, did you know that our struggle isn’t against people?

Shazam!

People are not our problem.
That could be a shocker right there. I know most of the time, I think people ARE my problem.

But no, the Bible says our struggle isn’t with humans.

Instead, our struggle is against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil.

Stick with me here. I know it sounds like a sci-fi flick. We’re not talking Darth Vader here. But I will say, it sounds similar. We are in our own war with evil.

So who are the spiritual forces of evil and the powers of this dark world?

Satan and the angels that follow him, better known as demons.

Our real problem: Satan and demons.
But we often don’t recognize the dark side of evil — because it imitates the light.

2 Corinthians 11:14 — Satan can transform himself into an angel of light.

I Peter 5:8 — The devil prowls around to devour you.

John 8:44 — Satan is the father of lies.

Let’s be clear that if you are a Christian, Satan does not have the final authority in your life. (If you don’t know if you are a Christian, go here.)

However, even as Christians, we can let Satan deceive us and make us miserable.

Lord, open my eyes to the devil’s schemes in my life. Help me put on the armor and stand strong.

Stacy

Day 1: What I Learned from My Eighth Grader

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take 
your stand against the devil’s schemes
Ephesians 6:11 


I’ve read this passage in Ephesians 6 since childhood. So as adult, it seemed so familiar that I would skim over it.

Then my eighth grader came home with a project: how do you practically put on the armor of God? And he started asking me questions.

Yes, I said eighth grade. We are grateful to have him at a Christian school with a really good Bible teacher.

My middle schooler spread out several Bible commentaries on the couch. We looked at them together. We searched the web for sermons on the topic. And we both learned.

I realized how much I didn’t know. So I started studying this with a friend even after my son finished his project.

One of the first things I learned is that God doesn’t put on the armor for us. The instructions are for us to put on the armor. And not just a part of it. But the full armor.

We must put on the armor.
The reason? To stand against the devil’s schemes. Obviously, this means the devil is scheming against me … and you.

The devil wages war against us. 

Well, that brings up another question. Do we have any idea what schemes the devil uses?

Learn the devil’s tactics.

See what I mean. This is just one verse. But there’s a lot packed in there. And we really need to go back to Genesis to see the devil’s first attack on Eve.

I think this is what Proverbs 2:4 means when it says to search for wisdom like you would hidden treasure. It’s not enough to skim or lightly read the scripture. We must dig and search to find the true meaning.
Lord, create a desire in me to search the scripture and find your treasures.
Stacy