17 March 2013

Knowing The Tools God Has Given Us Part 1

It's difficult to recognize the lies we've been told or been believing about ourselves, the people around us, and/or God.  In Sharon Jaynes' book "I'm Not Good Enough" and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves, she points out a few tools God has given us.

Truth-o-Meters or, as I like to call them, Lie Catchers.

1. Philippians 4:8-9 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

When we focus on "whatever is true" instead of the lies the enemy is telling us, we'll be safe. What is true? The truth is from the beginning of the Bible in Genesis all the way to the end in Revelation. However, the heart of the truth is John 3:16. For God so loved the world He gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him [the son] will not perish but have everlasting life.  Take that and change it! Make it personal!! For God so loved _____ that He gave to me His only Son, Jesus Christ. That if I just believe in Jesus, I will not perish but live with God throughout eternity. That is the truth that you can roll around in your head instead of the lies the enemy whispers.

2. Attaching "in Jesus' Name". Sharon has a great idea with this!! When you are having a thought but do not know if that thought is from God, the devil, the world, or even yourself; add at the end of the thought "in Jesus' Name".  Here's an example: "I'm so stupid, in Jesus' Name".  "I hate that man's guts in Jesus' Name".  Sort of changes things doesn't it?  Now, "I'm a child of God in Jesus' Name", "I'll pray for the person who hurt me in Jesus' Name". See how the whole perspective changes a bit?

As I was waiting for GiG to begin last night, I thought about the Native American dream catchers. The thought behind the dream catcher is the weaving will catch the nightmares and bad dreams but allow the good dreams to pass through. That is what what comes to mind for these two "truth-o-meters". Instead of dream catchers, these are lie catchers. Practicing focusing on what is true instead of what is not along with testing the thought with "in Jesus' Name", will catch the lies and allow the truth to go through. It's a daily practice! For many of us, it is a practice every 1/2 hour!! (ME)

3.  The Armor of God.  Sharon focuses heavily on the shield of faith. However, each piece of armor is about protection from lies. Paul started with the belt of truth, ends with the sword of the Spirit.

Ephesians 6:13-17 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

We are now going to look at each piece as how to combat the lies of the enemy!
  • The Belt of Truth. This NOT a fashion accessory!  In today's military, the rank of a soldier is wore on his/her collar or shoulder boards with the name tag on the right side of the chest. In the Ancient Roman military, a soldier's identity was his belt! The belt was wore with and without the armor. The first function of the belt was to identify the soldier. The lower the rank the less adorned. The higher the rank the more decoration it had. It was his rank. It was his name tag. The second function of the belt was to hold the armor secure. The tighter the belt the better; to prevent chafing. Loose armor hurts!! The third function of the belt is to hold the shoulder strap in place. The shoulder strap is what carries the sword and scabbard. It fastens under the belt. The belt holds the strap in place to keep it from flapping every where and to keep the sword in place ready for immediate use.  How does this apply to us gals?  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become daughters of God. Your identity is "I'm a child of God".  Jesus wants to wrapped around us so tight that we know we are secure in Him. We are His!  Buckle His truth around you so the enemy knows who you are ... a daughter of God!
  • Breastplate of Righteousness. This is a given. A breastplate protects the vital organs known as the heart and lungs. What is righteousness? We have to be careful with righteousness! For the sake of this conversation, we'll look at what it is and the good. It is simple, live as Jesus lived. Righteousness is living life to a moral code. As God's children, our moral code example was demonstrated through the life Jesus lived. We learn about His life in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  When we practice the life Jesus lived, our hearts will be protected.
  • Shoes of the Gospel. There are two things we have to know to understand these Roman "sandals". First, they weren't sandals, they were ventilated boots with spikes on the soles. Second, the word gospel means "absolute truth".  Gospel doesn't mean Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Nope! It means God's words ... PERIOD! The spikes on the soles helped the soldier to stand his ground. Accepting God's words as absolute truth, is the spikes we need to be able to stand against the enemy's lies.  Reading His Words daily, will instill in us what we need to be able to stand against the lies we hear. When all else fails, knowing the truth about who we are in Christ will keep us standing.

  • The Shield of Faith. This is Sharon's favorite! However, Paul does refer to the armor as "armor of faith" in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NLT) But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. Here, in Ephesians, I think (and Sharon thinks) faith has to be an activity. What is faith? Faith is believing God; acting, believing God tells the truth.  Faith believing even when eyes, ears, and touch fails us. What were the Roman shields like? A Roman shield was big enough to protect most of the body.  They could also interlock forming walls and a "roof" so the soldiers could march on. Usually, this formation was used to storm strongholds. THIS is very important!!  When we accept Christ, His blood deals with the "BIG" sin issue. The sin that separates us from God. As we grow in Christ, the Holy Spirit reveals things to us in our lives. Sometimes, we become afraid that others, we view as "strong" Christians, will discover our weakness. The enemy loves it when we are afraid to share our weaknesses with our brothers and sisters.  The enemy (the devil) doesn't want us "locking shields" together! As long as we believe we are alone and isolated, we are trapped in our own prison (stronghold).  When we are trapped in that prison, God desires very much to free us! We have to practice faith! We have to raise that shield up and barge through with prayer. We have to confide in our sisters of faith so they can lock shields with us to break free!  Personally, when I think of a shield, I envision Star Trek's Enterprise shield. Invisible. When entering a territory that is hostile, Red Alert sounds. Then Captain Kirk says "Raise shields". Sorry ... Getting carried away! The point is we have to "raise shields".  Faith doesn't raise itself!  We have to make the choice to trust God!!  We could stay a long time right here on faith!! It is the key to blocking out the lies the enemy tells us.  Who is the enemy? Satan. The world. Ourselves. Why ourselves? Satan can't make us do a thing! He can suggest it BUT we are the ones who choose to act on it!
  • Helmet of Salvation. We all know what a helmet does! Its a given, kind of like the breastplate. We know it protects the head from damage. What is salvation? Yes, it is us being saved. Helmet and Salvation go hand in hand here! Or head in helmet! LOL Salvation is preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss. Isn't that exactly what a helmet does for the head? When we allow lies to roll around in our head, we will experience harm, ruin, and loss.  Lies like "I'm not good enough", "No one loves me", "No one wants me around", "I am what I am and I can't change a thing about it".  Put on what is true! Put on the freedom we have in Christ and think of things that are true! Be secure in your salvation! You've been delivered from harm, ruin, and loss!
  • Sword of the Spirit. I'd like to point out the belt that holds the Sword secure is put on first. The Sword is put on last. This is not a weapon of offense! It is for defense!!  The Sword of the Spirit is God's Words.  We need to bathe ourselves in His Words that are found in the Holy Bible.  We shouldn't quote scripture to hurt someone. We should quote scripture to remind ourselves of the truth that set us free! I'm one of many who has a hard time memorizing verses. I don't have to memorize the Bible to be bathed in His words. All I have to do is read the Bible! The Holy Spirit will recall the words to me when I need them most!
This is as far as we've made it! For the next Girlfriends in God meeting, we'll do a pause. Everyone is at different places in the book we are reading. This will be a good spot for us to play catch up!! Have a meeting where we discuss the 1st half together. For some, it will be a repeat. It's only fair to allow everyone a chance to discuss the 1st half of the book together before leaping into the 2nd half.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this very much. We need to put on our armor each day and night through prayer. And we must be spiritually prepared for what The Lord brings is to, to strengthen our faith and make us His witnesses.