God's Love Letter to His People
Have you ever turned on the television and flipped the channels and suddenly ended up on a channel that captured your attention that you stopped and ended up spending a couple of hours glued to the TV screen because the plot was so intriguing. Or, have you ever opened a book and read the first chapter, but didn't actually intend to put it down until maybe chapter five because at each stopping point you came to, the plot was so good, it drew you to want to read the next chapter and the next. You read five chapters without realizing three hours later, you were at the end of chapter twelve. Let's picture a group of believers who were living for God, but somehow distractions came and worldly desires led them to live sub par, below what God planned for them. They did not realize or perhaps forgot that God had already blessed them with ALL Spiritual blessings.
Let's take a look at what the Apostle Paul did to remind the Ephesians, the believers, that God loved them so much that He wanted to strengthen them to be strong in the Lord. For this entry, we will focus on Paul's letter that he wrote to the Church of Ephesus while he was in prison in Rome. This is God's love letter to His people - Putting on the Armor of God so that we can do the Will of the Father:
The Armor of God10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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.
As we reflect on this passage, God gives us clear instructions in this love letter to assist us on this odyssey of life. He tells us to put on the full armor of God, not half, one quarter, but the full armor. Why do think he tells us to put on all of it? My guess is that He knew we would need all of it to withstand the challenges, obstacles, detours that we would embark upon in life. Those unkind words that were spoken to you just the other day, the manipulations that you see everyday. Don't take these forces personally, these are spiritual.
In John 14:6, Jesus said, " “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Often times we try to circumvent step one and two and think we can start with step three. There are processes that are set before us to follow. There is a matriculation that goes along with doing the will of God. Jesus is the way and the truth. Hence, we are to put the belt of truth around our waist.
Next, we put on the breastplate of righteousness. In Genesis 15:6, it accounts that Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. Another important part of the readiness to do God's will, is to walk with the shoes of peace. Peace is an act of harmony characterized by violence, conflict behaviors, or hostility.
Next we must take up our shield of faith. Faith is the substance of things hope for and the evidence of things unseen, Hebrews 11:1. Lastly, we put on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. Salvation is a gift from God. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of your life and Savior, and belief in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then thou shall be saved, Romans 10:9.
A foundation for every believer is the actual Word of God. The Bible is God's basic instructions before leaving earth. According to Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart".
Thank you for loving us so much that you sent your perfect Lamb to die on the cross for our sins. You care so much for us that you have given us an opportunity to live for you each day of our lives. Strengthen us to withstand all the arrows of the enemy. Forgive us for those things that we have done that were not pleasing in your sight. Your grace and mercy have been extended to us and we could do nothing to earn it. Allow us to serve you with a pure heart. Those things that you have delivered us from, we thank you. Where we have fallen short, we thank you for filling in the gap on our behalf and petitioning the Father in our favor. You have already blessed us with all spiritual blessings, we will walk in them and go forth to perform the missions you have called us to. As we grow stronger in you, we give you the glory and the honor.
In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen!
Blessings and Peace,