The Armor of God
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For 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. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. https://my.bible.com/bible/111/EPH.6.NIV
When I walked into the college cafeteria, I intentionally went to greet the cook; he looked frustrated and he seemed a bit edgy. When I smiled, he just impatiently asked me what I wanted him to make for me. I asked him if he remembered me? He said no, but if you remind me, I will. I thought for a moment maybe it wasn’t the right time, but I felt in my heart that he needed to be encouraged, so I said, ” Four years ago I came in here confused and discouraged, I told you that coming back to school might have been a mistake, and you said”, but before I can finish talking, his eyes lit up, and at the same time, we both quoted,”Trust in the Lord, and He will make all things work out for the good of those who love Him”. He smiled the same beautiful smile he had 4 years ago and said, “I am right where God wants me!” I smiled with tears in my eyes, and with great respect I said,”Yes, you are Sir, you have been a delight and encourager to us all”!
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Another instance, was a time Jess and I had a really bad argument while driving to Subway for lunch. I was so angry with him the whole truck shook when I slammed the door shut. When I walked into the store, there was a young teenager behind the counter slamming things around; he was obviously angry, but he also looked distressed. I felt something or someone was oppressing him, something much deeper. I began to ask the Lord what should I do? This was beyond my understanding, but I sensed this was spiritual warfare and I had no clue as to how to help him. When he asked what my order was, I noticed he had a bracelet with the inscription: WWJD. I knew what it meant, but I remembered reading in my Jesus Calling Devotional that morning. It said when I am afraid or confused, to just say, “Jesus”. I felt like I needed to get this young man to say, “Jesus”, so I acted clueless and asked him what it meant. He looked at his bracelet, and said, “What Would Jesus Do”, When he said, Jesus, I seen his demeanor instantly transformed, as though something had left his body. His eyes lit up as he smiled the biggest smile ever; he knew what I was doing, and why I had to have him say the name of the Lord. I too was delivered from my own anger as well because the Lord was there for both of us.
The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied. Luke 22:38 NIV https://my.bible.com/bible/111/LUK.22.38.NIV
There are times I wonder if I missed my calling, where I have allowed Fear to keep me from walking through doors the Lord had opened for me. I have mourned the loss of opportunites and Regret was always there reminding me of what I could have been or done. He will tell you that you missed the mark again; you are not important, nor valued where you are now. One of the places we feel this kind of contempt is in place of employment or our own home. I am guessing that these men were feeling the weight of their own regrets, as I have done so many times before.
But what if you are in the right place at the right time; amongst your own family, where there is no recognition, or alccolades? One day, I found a meme that said, “Treat your friends like family, and your family like friends” This opened up my eyes to see how I was treating my own? I thought, “Am I being an encourager, or a fault finder”? The Bible says, the well is deep in every man’s heart; my well was pretty dry in my own household. I felt drained, unappreciated, overwhelmed, and depressed. Sometimes we would rather do for others outside of home because we feel more appreciated by stangers than by our own family. On the otherhand, there are those who would rather be amongst the crowd of hypocrites, saving the world while their very own go without; I am also guilty of that. Yet I am not ignorant of those who intentionally suck the life out of you like leaches, or the snakes that lurk about, even in your own family; discernment is important in every situation. Pray for the Gift of Counsel
The things I struggled with at the homefront and found fault were not always words of encouragement. The words I used were defensive, and destructive; these are the very words that spew from my own heart. Jesus says out of the heart the mouth speaks. I knew instantly what I was missing. I did not put on the full armor of God within my own household. My sword was dull because I had neglected to apply His Word to every situation I encountered within my own house, behind closed doors where no one sees. Maybe we feel safe to be ourselves around our own, but in actuality, they are the ones we should be praying for and encouraging. Afterall, our own children can spot a hypocrite in us faster than the firey darts thrown at you. Pray for the Gifts of Fortitude, Piety, and the Fear of the Lord.
The Bible says a house divided will not stand. It is so much easier to go out and pray for and encourage others’ than those in our own household. Instead we find fault within them to justify ourselves, we withhold love from them and therefore, we are unconsciously withholding the pouring out of the Spirit upon them because our hearts have been hardened. Deep inside, you remember the pain they caused, and although you say with your mouth that you have forgiven them, your heart is holding onto unforgiveness; you are afraid to love unconditionally because you fear they will do it again and again. Pray for the Gift of Counsel and Understanding
I also realized that I did not have God’s Perfect Love that cast out those fears of being hurt or taken advantage of again. From the book, H.A. Ironside Ordained of the Lord, the author, E. Shuyler English writes about how Ironside asked a woman who was serving at the Salvation Army how she can continue doing what she was doing after he had witnessed people treating her badly. He was angered by their insults and assults against her. He asked her how she can still be joyful and love in the midst of this treatment. In turn she said, “it is only by the Gift of God’s Perfect Love”. He went to pray and asked but when the test came, he was shaken to the core because it became personal to him, so again and again he asked until the seed of God’s Perfect Love came to full fruition of what he prayed for. Pray for the Gift of Piety
I have finally learned that after all these years, whatever I do in the Lord, I am right where He wants me, either to be an encourager, or to be encourged by another brother or sister in Christ. No one is more valuable or favored by God except His Son, and these virtues are in Him whom we place our trust and draw from. It doesn’t matter what my stature is, nor does it matter where He places me as long I am confident in His love for me, I can be fully His.
Proverbs 27: 17As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.