Saturday, February 13, 2016

Fighting the Enemy with the Sword of the Spirit

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. 13 Therefore 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. 

The first 30 years of my life I spent a lot of time memorizing Scripture.  I remember my dad paying me a quarter to learn the books of the Bible in order when I was six.... and other incentives in Sunday School, church, VBS, youth retreats and camps, college classes, etc... that helped me to learn a LOT of Scripture.  I coached Bible bowl and learned a LOT of Romans, Acts, and John.  I dated a guy in my late twenties and he and I memorized the entire book of Philippians and were working on James.  It's been a while since I put forth concentrated effort to learn Scripture, but you know what?  A lot of it is still in there.

If you look through the armor described in the passage back, it's all defense.... It's all protective, except of the sword!  That's what we fight back with -- and the sword is God's word.

So, without looking up it up for accuracy, I will tell you what happens in my brain often.  You will be able to tell how old I was based on the version I memorized things in.   Now this is NOT to make me seem smart or more spiritual -- it's just evidence that if we hide God's word in our hearts, we will not sin... and that God's word is lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.  (I think that's Psalms 119).

If I find myself tempted to do something i know is wrong, the verse I memorized when I was 14 and living in Potomac, Illinois comes to mind, "There hath no temptation taken thee, but such as is common to man.  And God will not allow ye to be tempted above which ye are able, but will with the temptation, provide a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it."  (I Corinthians 10:13).

If I am getting really tired and discouraged, "Do not become weary in well doing because you will reap a harvest if you do not give up."  (I think that's Galatians 6:9).

If I feel like I am dealing with a time of suffering Romans 5 pops in.  "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope.  And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his holy spirit into our hearts."

If I want to smack someone upside the head to pay them back for something they have done to me, Romans 12..... "Do not repay evil for evil.... it is mine to avenge says the Lord."

If I am in the middle of an argument or fight with someone I love, I Corinthians 13:  Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not boast.  It is not self seeking.  It keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."

If I am worrying:  "Do not worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.  Tell God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers.   If you do this you will experience God's piece -- which is far more wonderful than the human mind can comprehend.  His peace will keep you quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus."  (Living Bible, I think I Thessalonians maybe??  Maybe Ephesians something.

If I am praying for a miracle, "Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think...."

And I could go on and on and on.

But this is how it works.  God's word helps us fight back.   And if we have it stored in our head, it's like always packing a gun.  When the enemy shows up, we can blast him.

I think I'm going to start memorizing again.....

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