How many times have you been taught about the armor of God? I can say I have sat through many teachings and preaching regarding the armor of God. Most times the teaching was about how I needed to put on the armor, keep on the armor, how not to take off the armor. I don’t know about you but for me God wanted to reassure me that it wasn’t so much about me and my behavior but about Him and standing in what He has already done for me.
I have been waiting awhile to write about this. I have been so excited to write about this topic. Here is why: the Lord had asked me, “Darlene, do you know how well Bryan (my husband is a police officer) knows how to use his weapons?” I answered, “Yes.” Then He asked, “Do you understand how to use My weapons?” I answered, “I don’t know.” “It is time for you to understand,” He replied.
Let’s look at the scripture in Ephesians:
“Finally, grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength! Use all the armor and weaponry that God provides, so that you will be able to stand against the deceptive tactics of the Adversary. For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. So take up every piece of war equipment God provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom. Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of deliverance; along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God; as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all God’s people.” Ephesians (Eph) 6:10-14, 16-18 CJB
You may want to read It All Begins and Ends With Trust, Walk Confidently-It All Begins and Ends With Trust (Faith) (Part 2), and A New Wine Skin if you haven’t already. These set up where I am going next. Like I said in It All Begins and Ends With Trust:
The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy your trust. That is what he is roaming about to do. Yet God brought eternal life through His Son which we receive through trust.
One of the things I have been telling myself and others lately is God never promised that we would not have “evil days”. What is interesting is Paul also told us that our struggle is not against human beings. Now we have to look at context here. This is during some evil days. Christ followers are being fed to lions, crucified, boiled in tar….by other HUMANS. What, the what!?!?!!! If Christ followers were being told by Paul to specifically do something when all of this was happening to them, we might want to take note. I have to say I have not been fed to lions, crucified or boiled….but some tactics felt like that in my life….just not unto death in this lifetime. So….let’s pick apart this very strong statement Paul makes through the Holy Spirit.
First Paul reminds us of the very thing in which I believe the entire armor truly consists of in his opening statement in Ephesians 6:10:
“grow powerful in union with the Lord, in union with his mighty strength!”
Here is the direct translation from Biblehub.com:
“be empowered (1743-I fill with power, strengthen, make strong)
in [the] Lord and in the strength (2904 dominion, strength, power; a mighty deed)
of the might (2479-strength(absolutely),power,might,force,ability*) of him.”
Note that there are two different strength meanings in this verse. What I want you to see is how God does this for us. We do not do this for ourselves. We simply TRUST (believe) He will do it for us or already has done it for us and we thank Him for doing it. I want to clarify here, my strength comes from the Lord alone. I do not have enough strength of my own to be able to stand in circumstances that are beyond me. Truly I don’t know how people who don’t have a relationship with Jesus do life. I love the direct translation from bible hub.com because it helps us to start at the right starting point-trusting (faith) Him to do for us what we can not.
Next Paul calls what he talks about next our “war equipment that God PROVIDES” and that we are to put it on or use it so that we can stand (2476-I cause to stand) against the schemes (3180-a way of search after something, an inquiry; a method), scheming, craftiness, deceit.). Again I want you to see in the Greek that HE will enable us to stand against the methodology of the evil one or “rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm”. Father causes us to be able to stand!
Now into the nitty-gritty. I believe Paul is showing us the way to stand during trials and tribulations. Yes they come to the believer and the non-believer. As believers we do not get a pass on these trials and tribulations: but what we do get is Someone, the Great I Am that walks it with us, enables us to stand, helps us to see a greater picture and to have good come out of it (2 Corinthians 4:8-12, Romans 8:28).
Truth-But not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea;reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness: true to fact. Literal: what can’t be hidden.=Jesus is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6).
Righteousness-divine righteousness. =Jesus gave us our divine righteousness our righteousness is like filthy rags (1 Corinthians 1:30,Isaiah 64:6) Romans 10:10 helps describe why righteousness is a breastplate; because, “For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness.”
Peace-Good News of Shalom-wholeness. Jesus came so that we would have “firm footing, foundation, preparation, readiness” in that He came to give us wholeness (shalom, peace). This is a foundational truth of what He did for us in His death and resurrection and what He desires for us to share with others. (Luke 1:79)
Trust-belief, come to trust, confidence, be persuaded, core meaning of faith=DIVINE PERSUASION- Jesus came, died and was resurrected and our part is to believe in who He said He is. This is why we are to always carry this “shield”. It all starts in the faith of Who Jesus is. For we have been delivered by grace through trusting and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. (Ephesians 2:8). This shield (4570) thwarts, extinguishes, and I suppress. As we trust the true battle is won. Like I said above the enemy wants to steal, kill or destroy your trust.
Salvation-saving, bring salvation. This word is derived from the word soter which means Savior who of course is Jesus– Again Romans 10:10 helps us understand why salvation is a helmet, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance (salvation).
Sword (3162 properly, a slaughter knife; a short sword or dagger mainly used for stabbing; figuratively- an instrument for exacting retribution) given by the Spirit which is the word (rhema) of God. In Matthew both the sword and word (rhema) are used for the first time in the New Testament. Let’s look at both: in Matthew 10:34 Jesus says He came to bring a sword and in Matthew 4:4 Jesus says we are not to live by bread alone but every rhema (word) coming out of the mouth of God. Also in Revelation Jesus is shown to have a sword coming from his mouth (Revelation 1:16). Rhema word is very different from the Logos word. Rhema (4487) means (from 4483 /rhéō, “to speak”) – a spoken word, made “by the living voice” (J. Thayer). 4487 /rhḗma (“spoken-word”) is commonly used in the NT (and in LXX) for the Lord speaking His dynamic, living word in a believer to inbirth faith (“His inwrought persuasion”). Because we are here to continue Jesus’ ministry (see A New Wine Skin for more info) we are to speak what the Spirit tells us to. Remember when Paul encouraged us that we would know what to say when we need to say it (Matthew 10:19). We are to bring the necessary words in the time of need through being connected to the vine Who is Jesus. This is how we know what to pray…by His Spirit in us.
So how in the world do we do this? I have been taught I need to prayerfully put on each piece and make sure none of my armor slips off. If it slips off I need to say sorry and pray to put it back on. I have finally truly repented from this way of thinking and see it God’s way. I believe the Lord has shown me exactly how we are clothed in the armor and are able to fully use the weaponry God has given us. Please note God gave this all to us through His Son. His Son made the way for all of the above. All we need to do is believe in Who Jesus is. We find a great secret in Isaiah 56 and Hebrews 4. Let’s take a look:
Isaiah 56:1-2 (CJB)
“Observe justice, do what is right,
for my salvation is close to coming,
my righteousness to being revealed.”
Happy is the person who does this,
anyone who grasps it firmly,
who keeps Shabbat and does not profane it,
and keeps himself from doing any evil.
Hebrews 4:1-3 (MSG)
“For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting. But not if we don’t have faith.”
How are we disqualified? By not having faith or trust in Who Jesus is–the Son of God! Once again faith (4102) is a gift from God never generated by us. Again this all begins and ends with faith. Faith as small as a mustard seed that each of us is given by a loving Father in heaven.
So, we have a choice, yes that is a free will choice that God also gave us, to enter His rest as we choose to believe the Good News of Who He is and choose to trust He has truly done it all for us. This is why we can approach the throne boldly with our requests, our prayers; we can stand in the evil day and when God has completed or literally, “worked down to the end-point,” i.e. to an exact, definite conclusion (2716 katergazomai)— we are still standing, because of what Jesus did for us. We trust that Jesus is Who He says He is and that the promises are ours…we rest in ALL that Jesus accomplished at the Cross in His death and in His resurrection.
That is literally what the armor is….resting in ALL THAT CHRIST DID FOR YOU. Otherwise known as standing in Christ the vine.
And we pray in the Spirit. The Greek word “en” is contained within this sentence, “in the Spirit”. Realize again this word means:
The Holy Spirit dwells within us and time after time the prayers that have been “in the Spirit” always align with God’s will. This truly is a whole other topic that will take another post. Realize though or prayerfully ask Father what His will is in situations…not what you expect but what is His will. His love is multi-dimensional and doesn’t always look the way you think it has to. Ask Him and rest in Him.
How do you find out WHO you are? There are many people today that want to know their roots, hence the sale of DNA testing. We as a people need roots. Maybe that is why the Word used trees to explain people at times. We want roots, we want desperately to know where we come from, who we are, what made us, our lineage, our history. We are always searching because, I believe, God put that desire in us to search Him out. What a priceless gift from a Father that dearly loves the whole world (all people).
Yet, knowing who you are is invaluable. Sure we know we are humans, we have a history and a unique DNA that makes us…well us. Yet, there is so much more to our story than that. As a believer in Jesus Christ I truly believe when we receive His free gift we are made into a new creation in Him (2 Cor 5:17). I believe this impacts all parts of us: spirit, soul and body. Remember we have been created in His image (Gen 1:27) and now through the death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus, we once again have the ability to be whole as we rest (Sabbath) in Him. As we begin to fully understand who we are in Christ the gates of hell will not prevail.
My intention with this blog and my life is to help believers know WHO they really are and to WALK in that core understanding. Not just say it but really, truly believe it– From the INSIDE-OUT. Living with the value of who you are is the key, I believe, to binding and loosing talked about in Matthew. How do we fight…and are we on the defense or the offense???? Are we praying what the Holy Spirit has asked for us to pray or for what we want? What did Paul and the other disciples pray? I think these questions and their answers are a sign as to whether or not our core values line up with what we say we believe. These answers for myself show where I am standing and what I actually believe. Don’t think I haven’t faltered and need reminding of who I am….yet the longer I walk in the truth as the Holy Spirit nudges me I can much easier repent (change my way of thinking to God’s way) and rest in Him. Isn’t that really what we want. See God never promised us no evil days….yet He did give us weapons for the warfare so that when the evil days come we would stand–not in our strength or our righteousness or even our great big faith…..but in His.
There are a few topics that I have here: one is the binding and loosing; the armor of God; and how these tie to prayer. I think I need to start with binding and loosing, the keys to the kingdom of heaven and what this means to the believer……
A long time ago the Lord had told me that we (the Christian church) have lost our roots. I didn’t fully understand what He meant back then and I probably still don’t fully understand. But I do know He was talking about the Jewish part of our roots. So, I began studying what did Jews believe in the time of Jesus. What did the parables mean to the Jewish people in those times. How would what Jesus said or the words of Paul be taken? I had questions and I began looking for answers and have continued looking. For me the Lord has had to tear down old belief systems I had been taught as a believer; so that He could rebuild them (my understanding) on a firm foundation which begins with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ– all of what He did on the Cross and in His resurrection. When you build your house on a faulty foundation it crumbles; yet when built on the firm foundation of the Truth you can withstand any storm. What is so interesting to me is once I understood the foundation of exactly WHAT Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection when I went back to the readings I had done in the past, which I hadn’t really understood, now all of a sudden were clear. They made sense!!!! It fit together like a beautiful puzzle. I was amazed…so much so that I began to cry for the beauty of God and His plan.
This is the clarity I want to share with you. This is a simple foundational truth. There have been things that I was taught to believe and things I was taught not to believe; I am now finding out were not built on the foundational truth of the New Covenant. The things I am sharing here are the rebuilding that God is doing starting on the right foundation.
Two years ago this is what I wrote:
The church was birthed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that realign those that believe/trust (faith) in Who Jesus is, back into the lineage of Abraham’s righteousness through faith (believe/trust). #grace
This is such a foundational truth that I didn’t see its fullness (maybe still don’t) until now. A friend had asked me my opinion on binding and loosing and I didn’t realize at the time this was going to tie into everything I have written thus far. I went to one of my favorite books,” Jesus The Jewish Theologian”(*) written by Brad H. Young. I am going to utilize this book to help our understanding of Jewish understanding back in the time of Jesus walking this earth. The scripture we are looking at is in Matthew 16, specifically verses 13-20. This is when Jesus asks the disciples Who He is and Peter answers, “you are Christ the Son of the living God.” One of the elements we need to understand as Gentiles is that when a student answered an intriguing question correctly the disciple would be given a blessing by the teacher or rabbi. This is exactly what happened to Peter with Jesus. Jesus’ next words are, ” Blessed are you Simon bar Jonah….”. Here is the blessing:
“And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”” Matthew 16:17-19 NASB
Just like Abraham was considered the foundation stone or ‘little rock to Israel (remember Abraham’s faith or trust in God was accounted to Him as righteousness). “According to Jewish thought Abraham was the foundation stone upon which other stones would be constructed into a living community of faith. Abrahams faith in the one true God of Israel provided the foundation.”, * pg. 201. When we understand this we can see how Jesus was explaining the New Covenant to His disciples. “Like Abraham, Peter possessed faith; he also recognized the character of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus was of God. He was anointed to fulfill the divine purpose. He was the anointed one of God. Peter’s faith is the foundation stone of God’s witnessing congregation of believers. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the people of God.”, * pg 201. As believers in Jesus, knowing exactly who we are in Him helps us to understand:
As believers, we need to understand both what the keys are and what binding and loosing entails. We need to understand our righteousness in and of our own self (our behavior) doesn’t make us powerful (that is living in the law); BUT our FAITH in Him, Jesus, causes us to be righteous. This righteousness then gives us the authority in the earth realm (keys to the kingdom of heaven) to prohibit (bind) or allow (loose) on earth. We have keys to the kingdom of heaven ONLY because of what Jesus Christ did on the Cross for us. What we declare on earth has the power of Heaven with it.
Now I need to make this a little clearer because well…I have to. As disciples of Jesus we do what we see or hear Him doing. This means that our prayers will be Holy Spirit led not ‘me or man led’. There is a difference and not many believers want it this way. So many times I have been told by a person what they want prayed….and many time the Holy Spirit has led me a different way. I have story upon story like this. When I have prayed the way the Lord has asked me to than those things have come to pass….just the way He has told me. Here is why:
“For Jesus, the kingdom of heaven is:
This is an extension of Jesus’ ministry. Many times people think doing what God wants equates to behavior…but what it really means is following Him through His Spirit within you to bring about His Master plan. Simply staying connected to the vine. His master plan is for the whole world to know Who He is and for us to know who we become (a new creation in Him) when we have faith or trust in Who He says He is. So, I follow Him as He followed God and this puts me in the stance of offense not defense in my position of prayer because I have received the same blessing as Peter for my trust and the gates of hell will not prevail. 🍷
Define Prevail: verb (used without object)
1. to be widespread or current; exist everywhere or generally:
Silence prevailed along the funeral route.
2. to appear or occur as the more important or frequent feature or element; predominate:
Green tints prevail in the upholstery.
3. to be or prove superior in strength, power, or influence (usually followed by over):
They prevailed over their enemies in the battle.
4. to succeed; become dominant; win out:
to wish that the right side might prevail.
5. to use persuasion or inducement successfully:
He prevailed upon us to accompany him.
There are a couple more posts I will be tackling to finish my other points and questions…..stay tuned
*=Quotes taken from Jesus The Jewish Theologian, Brad H. Young
If at anytime you are reading scripture from the starting point, ” If I will….then God will….”then you are starting from the viewpoint of the Old Covenant and trying to fulfill the law. I used to do this all the time, but not any more, thank God. When Jesus came, He died on the Cross and He rose again, this changed history and created a New Covenant free gift offered to all people. This covenant is similar to what He did for Abraham, but a million times better, in that it is a covenant of faith where God did and Abraham received because Abraham simply believed in Who God is and this belief was accounted to him as RIGHTEOUSNESS. Today, in the New Covenant, we, as believers, are under GRACE not law. So, when we read scripture it is imperative we start at the right starting point. In the New Covenant we start with: Jesus did it all for all time. Jesus bore all my sin, shame, sickness, disease on the Cross. He fully took my place and the whole worlds place on the Cross. He took the entire bulk of punishment upon His own body for all time and for all people. As believers in Jesus, we have the astounding privilege to be part of His family and fully understand that God, through His Son has done everything for us and all we do is receive. There are no strings attached to this. As a believer in Christ there is absolutely nothing you could ever do to lose it (except deny Who Jesus is; but then He is chasing after you). There is absolutely nothing you have to do; but just believe in Who God is and what Jesus did for you. As it says in 1 John 1:5-10:
“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from ALL sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” NASB
Let’s look at this through New Covenant eyes: If we declare that we are sinners, that we truly need a Savior we are immediately walking in the Light with Jesus, we are cleansed from ALL sin. We just need to confess which means: “to acknowledge belief in”. What are we acknowledging belief in? The fact that we were all born into sin because of Adam and we are in need of saving. Once we acknowledge this and believe that Christ died for us to be free from this sin nature, we are forgiven and cleansed from ALL unrighteousness. Which means we are a new creation and fully righteous in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17&21). The New Covenant is that simple. You do not need to perform for God to stay in the Kingdom of Heaven because Jesus already has performed it all. Do you need to keep confessing your “sin” so you can stay in good terms with God???–No, because we have already acknowledged that fact when we had faith or believed in Who Jesus was and Christ’s act with our faith, acknowledgement and acceptance of that free gift is what makes us on good terms with God; because the payment was paid in full by His Son for us. All of our iniquity, transgressions, and sin was nailed to the Cross for ALL time and were are righteous in Christ Jesus. So, I challenge you to read the scripture above with the realization: this was written for non-believers to help them enter into the Truth of Who Jesus is and all that He did for them. Next I also challenge you to read it from the right starting point: God through His Son finished it all for you and has done everything for you…now receive the Holy Spirit and enter into His rest as Hebrews 4:10 says:
“For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” NASB.
This is the message of the New Covenant, the message of Grace. The true gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you want to understand more about transgression, iniquity and sin read: Horizontal and Vertical (Part 4)
REALIGNMENT= “change or restore to a different or former position or state.” The Body of Christ is realigning or coming full circle to the original purpose or state that Christ called us to. I see the Body coming back to its original purpose and understanding of just who they are in Christ. We will understand who we are; which will then have the world wide impact that God has called at this a time. Not because we did it, but because He called it for such a time as this. This is not out of striving but coming from a place of rest in Him. Those that truly understand resting in Him will set the fire and it will spread like a wild fire. Watch…it is happening already….
Self occupied-under law; Christ occupied-under Grace. Under law, God demands righteousness and holiness from man; Under Grace God supplies righteousness and holiness as a gift. Rest in what He has done.-Pastor Joseph Prince