Monday, 9 June 2014
Yesterday at church, it was thursday housegroup's turn to lead the service. We were looking at Ephesians 6:10-23, the armour of God and praying in the spirit. I shared some thoughts on the armour of God, and using it to start your day and guide your day, so I thought I would share them with you too.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armour 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 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. And 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 saints."
We start off with the belt of truth. Belts hold everything else in place, it stops your trousers from riding up, or falling down, and it holds your shirt tucked in. This is the role of truth in our lives. The truth that God died on a cross to be in relationship with you, that he loves you and has cancelled all your sins. This is the truth, and it can hold your whole life together. An example of praying this into situations in your day when your putting the armour on could be to think about any situations where you might forget that God is king, he is for you and he loves you. This might be a situation you are worried about, if certain emotions arise that are overwhelming, or someone else or yourself has been speaking untrue things over you. You can pray, when readying yourself for the day, with the belt of truth, by praying that Gods truth will be at the forefront of your mind, that it will be a stronger belief and knowledge than any other.
Then we have the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate protects the heart and the other vital organs, keeping them safe. In this sense, the breastplate protects the righteousness placed in our heart by God. Righteousness, is the ability to know and believe what is right, good and just, and we are given this directly by God, so that when we turn to him to learn what we should do, we can work together, as our hearts are already turned towards him. The breast plate protects us from harm being done to our heart, such as shame or guilt. When praying for your day and putting the breast plate of righteousness in place, pray for situations in your day where decisions are made, handing them over to God, doing what he wants in the situation, and not letting guilt or shame take any foothold, because it was God's decision and he is the most righteous of all.
Then we have our feet fitted with readiness from peace of the Gospel. God can give us an overwhelming peace, and this peace can travel with us wherever we go, where we walk or drive, conversations that we are in and people we are near. When putting your shoes of readiness on, pray for situations you may walk into today, areas you pass through or go to, and pray that you will be able to take God's peace there.
Next we come to the shield of faith. A shield protects you from any incoming attack. This is what your faith can also do. When you put your faith in God everything else coming against you loses its power, because you have faith that God has already saved you from the ultimate punishment. So as you hold up the shield of faith, pray for the situations in your day that you may find it difficult to remember what God has done and how amazing his power is, that you would remember your faith in God and be assured that you will come through it.
Then we come to the helmet of salvation. A helmet protects your head from attack. In this sense, it protects your thoughts, and your mind. When we believe the truth that we are saved by God, in all situations, this can triumph over difficult or destructive thoughts. They have no power against the death of Christ and the salvation with have in him. So when praying and putting on the armour, pray that your mind will forever focus on what Jesus did for you, and pray that when destructive thoughts or worries enter your mind, that you will remember that you are saved, and in remembering that your thoughts will lose their power.
And last of all the sword of the spirit, which is the bible. In this situation, I want to look at as a defensive weapon, which means the sword is used to block incoming attack. This could be using the bible to declare God's truth over yourself, others and situations in which there are lies. So praying into your day, pray God will remind you of his word, and to use it. Pray that God will give you words for specific situations you are going in to, to encourage and direct all situations to him and his great love.
As the end of the day draws near, you can also use this to reflect, thanking God for the situations where his word has blessed or guided a situation; for the protection of your thoughts, or him enabling them to shift from destruction to him; for his power, and his gift of faith in situations that have been difficult; for the peace his gospel has brought in situations and places you have been; for his protection over your heart, keeping it righteous and just, and holding you on his ways or bringing you back to them; and for his everlasting and beautiful truth, that he loves you and wants a relationship with you and paid the price for your freedom from sin!
If you want to listen to this, along with some other wonderful people, talking more about the armour of God, praying in the spirit, and spiritual mindfulness, I think it will be here soon - http://birchfieldchurch.co.uk/sermons.html