37. Armor of God, Part III
Ephesians 6:13-18. “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (NLT)
Continuing the principles related to using the armor of God:
6. Faith – Exercise faith when attacks come. This is probably the “weapon” I need most when fighting against negative thoughts. I have been trying to avoid the figurative language used by Paul to describe how we resist the devil’s strategies, but in this case, his metaphoric description brings the meaning home to me. Paul writes that I can “stop the fiery arrows of the devil” from hitting me when I hold up the shield of faith. When I experience a negative, untrue thought, it feels very much as if I have been struck by a fiery dart or arrow. The most effective strategy I have found to fend off those thoughts is to repeat to myself that the thought is untrue, and that God loves me and is sovereign over all things that affect me. He has my back! I choose to place my faith in Him. I have to break the thought process that would naturally lead me to continue rehearsing the negative thought, by thinking truthful thoughts about God. I have found this “shield” to be very effective in “bouncing” the thoughts away from me.
Exercising faith when attacks come takes some practice. Having an intentional plan is helpful. Ephesians 6:11 states that Satan has a strategy to harm us; therefore, I need to have my own strategy of dependence on God and use of His armor. In addition to the strategy above, I find that a physical response can be helpful; sometimes when an unwanted thought comes, I will say “no!” out loud (if I am alone). Just vocalizing that rejection of the thought makes it easier for me to put the thought out of my mind. And then in my mind I think “I choose to trust / believe God, not this lie.”
There are other ways I can exercise faith. When we want to exercise our physical bodies, we look for hills to climb or weights to lift. To exercise my faith, I can look for opportunities to stretch my faith in prayer, believing God will hear and answer. I would like to keep better track of answered prayers; the more times I rehearse how God has demonstrated His power and faithfulness in answered prayer, the more my confidence and faith in Him will grow. Many times, God has answered my prayers and I haven’t recognized the answer or thanked Him for it. Perhaps I need to enlist another person to hold me accountable to grow my faith in this way.
To think about: What is the most effective way for me to strengthen my faith?
Thank You, Father, for providing a way to protect myself from attacks from the evil one. Please help me grow stronger and quicker in my responses. Help me to recognize Your answers to prayer so that I can thank You, praise You in front of others, and build up our faith. Amen.
From the personal devotional notes of Peggy McKechnie, certified life coach and follower after God’s own heart.
Dear Reader, this series on walking through Ephesians will conclude on this Friday, June 25th. I hope these posts have been a blessing to you. Could you tell me in one sentence what your most helpful take-away was? Also, would you be interested in walking with me through a series of posts on another passage or book of the Bible? You can comment on this post or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input. Peggy