Put on the Gospel of God

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Putting on the armor of God is like putting on the gospel of God – you arm the mind and heart  with what God has done for us in Christ – “the mystery of the gospel.” And having armed your mind with the gospel, you are prepared to take a stance against what the world, your flesh, and the devil tells you differently about life. Each piece of the armor is like a piece of the gospel that shapes our identity in Christ. Read Ephesians 6:10-20, then spend some time in prayer asking the Lord for grace to arm your heart for this week’s walk of faith.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

 

Jesus Christ is my “belt of truth.” Therefore I reject any claim on how to live my life if it does not lead to knowing Christ more fully.

Jesus Christ is my “breastplate of righteousness.” Therefore I reject all performance-based impulses that attempt to impress a Holy God.

Jesus Christ is my “shoes for my feet.” Therefore I will gladly embrace the truth that reminds me that God is no longer angry with me; he has defeated my sin on the cross and now I stand firm in the gospel of peace.

Jesus Christ is my “shield of faith.” Therefore I reject any notion that Christ is insufficient for what it takes to persevere to the end. When I begin to doubt and linger too long around the campfires of the devil, I will move in faith to Christ, for he has prayed for me and I will return to the hard and narrow way that leads to eternal life.

Jesus Christ is my “helmet of salvation.” Therefore I reject any and all propositions that attempt to undermine my identity as “in Christ.” I will preach the gospel to my head and heart when the world calls me to assimilate my faith to its idolatry.

Jesus Christ is my “sword of the Spirit.” Therefore I will at all times take up the Word of God, praying in the Spirit, to stay alert to any scheme of the Devil that attempts to dethrone Christ in my heart. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords! No worldly offer of personal peace and prosperity can match what I already have in Christ. No kingdom of man can over-rule the Kingdom of God. My life is not my own, for I was bought with a price and therefore I will glorify the Lord with my whole being until he returns.

I Thank God that He never Gives Thanks

We say, ‘thank you,’ when someone gives us something; it’s an acknowledgement of our need and another’s generosity. When you give thanks, you are admitting that you are now better off – someone has filled your vacancy. This does not mean that you were incapable of mowing your own lawn, for example, but that your neighbor did it for you because you were overwhelmed that week  – it was an act of service to you that made your life a little more manageable.

I thank God that he is not like me. He is never put into a state-of-affairs where he needs a little help to manage things. He does not need to say thanks because he has no need of support, generosity, or a helping hand. He is self-sufficient in every way. He brings things into existence with no prior need for raw material (Gen 1:1). He is not to be served as though he needed anything – but it is everything and everyone else that is in need of him (Acts 17:24-25).  If everyone did his duty towards God with absolute perfection, there still would be no obligation for God to say thank you (Luke 17:9).

Now this does not mean that God is unappreciative. He is a happy and rewarding God who will say “atta boy” to all who persevere to the end, to those who remain faithful to follow the Lord (Matt. 25:21). In this way, we are like him: when we see good work we praise it and show our pleasure and approval. But this is not the same thing as saying thanks. I’m not splitting hairs: saying “thanks” and saying “good job ” are not the same. What difference does all this make for our Thanksgiving Holiday?

1. I am reminded how needy I am and how generous God is to me.

2. I am reminded that God can’t ever be lacking in any way. This is good news because God can’t ever be exhausted! He is endless and infinite in mercy, love, and grace. There will never come a time when he is running low on supplies. There will never be a circumstance by which he is flummoxed and needs some counsel and advice from you or me. God will never experience helplessness, but . . .

Since Jesus was both God and Man, Jesus knows our need because he chose to live a life in need. He gave his Father thanks for hiding and revealing the truth to whomever he chose (Matt. 11:25-26), and Jesus thanked his Father for food (John 6:11). And this means,

3. Our Father in heaven will always empathize with our need. Though he knows no need within himself, yet, he knows my need, for he lived it (Heb. 4:14-16). Our Father in heaven does not feel imposed upon when we keep coming to him, as if he wants us to just buck up and be more self-reliant. No, he calls us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking, for he knows our need. The problem is that we don’t know how helpless we truly are – this is why we struggle with thanking him: we are prideful in our false world of self-reliance. But how much sweeter life is when we know who we are in the face of a selfless God!

This is why I thank the Lord that he does not need to give thanks.