Weapons of our Warfare

1 Corinthians 10: 4

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

God’s Word, praise; these are the ultimate weapons of our warfare. Ephesians 6: 17 tells us very clearly that the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. In other words, our weapon is the Word, and by extension, our words when God’s Word is in our mouths. As we speak positive declarations of our beliefs which are constructed from the Word of God, we are doing battle against the things of this world which would limit or even harm us. By exchanging the word “fortresses” with the word “strongholds” the NIV translation reveals that some of the foes of faith are the strongholds within our own minds. These can be anything: a belief, lack of belief, a thought process, lack of education, etc. Those strongholds are the targets of transformation. Through transformation we discard old thought and habit patterns which are generated from our thoughts and allow faith thoughts which are in accordance with the Word to reveal the beautiful butterfly within. Our words, then, become powerful weapons as confessions of faith.

Let me show you this in a real-world example. Recently I contracted a virus which caused a rash. Now, I know that our Father protects me day and night and I truly believe He is the greatest protection against Covid. I am grateful that He has protected me from contracting the coronavirus, but how or why did I get this virus? When the rash didn’t go away right away, I went to the doctor who diagnosed it and told me it would likely take 6 – 8 weeks to heal. Oh my! I was not pleased to hear that. Of course, I was already praying for healing, but I really knuckled down to prayer after that diagnosis.

In conversation with Father, I found a problem in me. I actually wrote about this recently in the Word of the Day entitled Victory in Jesus and again in Fortress Dweller. Each of those devotionals encourages us to speak the Word of God over our lives. Our testimony is how we overcome situations and problems. The smart thing to do is to speak faith statements continuously and to endlessly thank and praise God for all that He daily gives. I had fallen down on the job. I was not confessing my health. I was not daily thanking God for maintaining my immunity and health. So, in my time with the Lord, He showed me that I wasn’t putting the shield around me daily. The first thing I did was to repent. Repenting amounts to apologizing to the Father for not doing what he said to do or for doing what He said not to do. I realized I had not been doing what He has taught me.

As soon as I repented, it felt like something that was standing between me and my healing was removed. Now, that is not to say that God was withholding anything from me, but repentance unblocked whatever was preventing me from receiving my healing. I prayed again for Father to heal me. In the next days I heard a song about healing continually coming up in my spirit. The lyric was, “The healing power of God is working in me, right now.” The good news is that the rash has all but disappeared. It has only been two weeks. God healed me by showing me that there was a spiritual block preventing me from receiving my healing.

The moral of the story is, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony,” (Revelation 12: 11). Get your testimony in the game. Start professing God’s promise over your life making daily positive, present tense declarations of God’s Word. Then, you will live in triumph in His name, by His grace.

Fortress Dweller

Psalm 61: 1 – 3          NLV

O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.

This sounds like every one of us. We’ve all been in this place and we need the reminder that we can shelter in the towering rock where God is our refuge. While this is a good reminder, I am struck that it is more than an emergency beacon. I wish to suggest this is an everyday prayer.

This week, we looked at our victory in Jesus. God has provided everything we need to live victorious, healthy lives. We, however, must partake of all He has given. Revelation 12: 11 is where we learn that overcoming status is achieved through the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. In today’s passage I hear a victorious testimony crying out. “Father, you are my towering rock of safety. You are my safe refuge. I am safe and secure in you because you are my abiding fortress. You keep me safe from all my enemies. Father, I praise you and thank you that, in you, my safety from all harm is assured.” You get the idea. But that isn’t the end of what occurred to me as I read this passage. A question presented itself.

Who are our enemies? We are not like King David who was, literally, chased around the desert by people who wished to kill him. He was hunted as prey. We may have some folks who don’t like us very well but most of us do not have identifiable enemies. Or do we? What of disease and sickness? What of economic pressures? What about family and other relationship issues? There is an enemy, the Bible tells us. 1 Peter 5: 8 makes is very clear that we have an enemy and identifies him, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Be sober and alert! Be aware! There is an enemy prowling around looking for prey. He has weapons like cancer and job layoffs. We, however, have greater weapons. We have the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6: 17). We have the blood of the lamb and we have our testimony. We can proclaim that we are safe from disease because of our strong tower. We can declare in Jesus’ name that our refuge protects us from the fiery arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6: 16).

You can pray this prayer every day and proclaim your protection, and I believe we should be doing just that. Picture yourself in an impenetrable tower and confess your faith that God is protecting you.

Call My Name

Psalm 54: 1 – 2        TPT

God, deliver me by your mighty name! Come with your glorious power and save me! Listen to my prayer; turn your ears to my cry!

David was on the run from Saul, hiding in the desert and among the towns. The people of Ziph betrayed him to Saul so David turned to God to save him. We know God responded because David died an old man in his palace. That is the first good news we take from this psalm. When we call out to the Father, He hears and rescues us.

David’s prayer is interesting though, and perhaps insightful. He did not pray for God to rescue him with His mighty hand, nor by the might of His arm, for that matter. He essentially says, “Send your mighty name to deliver me.” That is a thought provoking request. This is not an isolated request though. There are many times in the Bible where one called on “the name” of God to do something for them.

The name of God has power in itself. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe,” (Proverbs 18:10). Isaiah wrote, “Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God,” (Isaiah 50: 10). Everything about God is imbued with power. If a hair fell from His head, it would be like a power infused sword. And speaking of swords, His name, like His Word can be in our mouths and we have already learned that His Word is a powerful sword (Ephesians 6: 17). In the same way, with the same faith that you speak His Word, you can speak His name. It can soothe your worries or defeat your foes. It has peace and fire in it.

There are situations which challenge us to the very core. Sometimes it is even difficult to find the words to pray. If you saw the original Mary Poppins movie, you know she has a word for when you don’t know what to say. Hers was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Yours is Jesus or Yahweh. Maybe you like Jesus’ Hebrew name, Yeshua. Whichever name resonates in your heart most vibrantly, speak it out in your time of need. I think you will find it gives you strength.

Sword

Ephesians 6: 17b

Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Paul concludes his inventory of the armor of God with a sword, but not any old sword. This sword is the sword of the Holy Spirit. Paul reveals that the weapon of the Spirit is actually the Word of God. So here we are again, back to the Word. The Word is the only matter which is the source of multiple pieces of armor. This bespeaks of its importance. The Word of God is fundamental to our success in standing firm, warfare, and life. The consequence of time in the Word cannot be overrated or overstated and this one revelation has enormous potential to impact our lives. Eventually, we must all embrace the Word as meaningful to our everyday existence.

Why would Paul include a sword in a discussion about armor? The sword is an interesting piece of equipment. It is both defensive and offensive. With the sword, you can parry the attack of a foe. How does that look spiritually? Well, let’s watch Jesus fight with his sword. In the book of Matthew we see the temptation of Jesus. “And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4: 3 – 4). Jesus responded to the devil’s trickery with the Word of God. The Word will always protect you. Jesus countered every move of Satan with his sword, the Word of God. It works the same way with us. When those thoughts come, the ones that have kept you bound for years, you can counter them by brandishing your sword. When the devil persecutes you with the mistakes of your past, you can remind him that you are the righteousness of God. For every problem, every situation there is a parry provided to you in the Word. Even a rookie warrior knows he needs to spend some time practicing with his sword. You and I are no different. When the enemy attacks, it is too late to learn how to handle your sword. Proficiency with the sword is accomplished with time so begin practicing now.

And there you have it, the armor of God. With this armor you can stand firm against all the attacks of the enemy. Jesus has forged this very effective armor for you but it is you who must put it on and wear it. You must learn to stand up to the enemy. He has no weapon which is effective against your armor (Isaiah 54: 17). No matter what challenge is assailing you right now, Father has a defense against it. He has provided everything we need and we are growing into this armor every day. May your victory be complete in the name of Jesus.

Covered

Ephesians 6: 17

Take the helmet of salvation.

Paul wrote this passage under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is no accident that he made salvation a helmet; no accident that salvation is at the head. I imagine this salvation, which is at the top of the armor as well as the upper most part of us, as a covering. Though I see a helmet in my mind’s eye, I also understand that the covering flows down from the helmet of salvation to cover our entire bodies, right down to our shoes. The helmet is more than a hat. It is a complete covering. It caps off the armor and it is appropriate that it would be saved to the last for that reason.

Let us look at the simple ideas here. If a soldier determines to eliminate an enemy, he is likely to target either the heart or the head. The heart is protected by the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus which we wear as a breastplate. Our brain is the one vital organ which is not covered by righteousness. It is contained in the cranium and protected by salvation. That is an interesting construction.

What is salvation? Most of us think as salvation as our rescue from a hell sentence, a condemnation to eternity in the lost realms of Hades. That is good stuff, important awareness. However, it only just begins to embrace the idea of salvation as Jesus knows it. When Jesus speaks of salvation he refers to saving grace in every aspect of life. Salvation embraces the fullness of life. This fullness of salvation is what protects our brains. In other words, salvation in your family relationships, salvation in your finances, salvation in your physical self, saved in your occupational life, and in every single aspect of life is what Jesus has capped us with.

Salvation means the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc., the state of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc. The helmet is protecting us from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc. Jesus said the devil comes to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10: 10). We are also told that he is a devourer (1 Peter 5: 8). So, the helmet of salvation protects our minds, our thought process from that which would destroy us. If the enemy can get to our minds, he can destroy our lives. Jesus has provided though. All we have to do is to put on salvation like a helmet. We have to put on the complete helmet though. Don’t leave off the salvation in your finances leaving part of your head exposed. As we embrace the fullness of Jesus’ definition of salvation, our heads, brains and thoughts will be protected in each of those areas and salvation will be the helmet or our lives. It will protect and guard us. Salvation will cover us from the top down.

Word Power  

Luke 4: 1 – 13

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.  And He ate nothing during those days; and when they had ended, He became hungry.  And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”  And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”  And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment.  And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.  Therefore if you worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”  And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”  And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge concerning You to guard you.’ And ‘On their hands they will bear You up lest You strike Your foot against a stone.’”  And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”  And when the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

This is an important story because it shows how the devil tempts and how Jesus fought those temptations.  Ephesians 6: 17 says that the weapon we have is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  Jesus, being our model, demonstrated how to defeat the enemy.  I want you to see and recognize the weapon of His warfare.  Jesus defeated Satan with the Word of God.  Notice that after Jesus fended off two of Satan’s attempts with the Word, Satan quoted from the 91st Psalm to try to deceive Jesus.  But Jesus knew the Word.  He knew it so well that he could see the perversion of the word that the devil attempted to sneak past Him.

There is no other weapon that would have defeated the devil then, nor is there any other weapon that will defeat him now.  The Word, is the sword that the Father has given us.  It is well able to defeat the enemy but you have to know how to wield it.  Each time the devil threw a temptation at Christ, Jesus countered that temptation with, “It is written.”  It is a good thing, then, that Jesus knew the Word.  He used the Word itself, not just his knowledge of the Word, to combat the devil.  Jesus did not rely on His own strength, His own knowledge or His own wit to defeat the devil.  No, He used the Word of God.  He did not argue with the devil.  He just quoted the scripture to him.

Today’s passage brings us a very important message.  If we are to defeat the devil and his minions we must first give attention to the Word.  If you don’t study the Word then you are unarmed and you really don’t want to fight the enemy unarmed.  Further, we need to understand that Jesus did not fight with or argue with the devil.  He did not rely on His position as the Son of God.  He was a man and in all ways tempted as are we and he had to resist the devil with the same tools that are available to us.  He simply quoted the Word to the devil.  He did not enter into a debate with him.  Jesus made the Word of God the final authority and the wielding of that Word defeated the devil.  We must all learn to do this too.  Read the Bible.  Arm yourself with the living sword of the Spirit.  Then when the devil gets in your face, just start quoting scripture.  You will see for yourself that the devil cannot stand up to the Word.  He will have to flee from you just like he did from Jesus.