“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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.” Ephesians 6: 10-13
That’s the picture of suiting up. First, I have to put on the helmet of salvation; I need to be protected from my sin, from lies, and from my tendencies that go against God. I need the helmet of salvation.
We must admit our head is a pretty important part of our anatomy; it protects our mind which controls everything in our body. It protects every thought and feeling, every voluntary and involuntary action that takes place in our bodies and, for that matter, our lives. Can we agree that we are very, very vulnerable to defeat by simply not having our mind protected? There is nothing within yourself that can overcome this, except acting on the choice that God has given only to human beings. The choice is to accept or deny His helmet of salvation. As humans in the present and in the ultimate future, His desire is that you say yes to the perfect sacrificial love that He has for you. “Behold I stand at your door and knock.” By faith, take advantage of His desire to protect your thoughts.
Thank you Father, for the faith you have provided me to open the door of my mind, and by faith accept your protection of my thoughts.
“He who walks in integrity walks securely” (Proverbs 10:9)
For God’s man, the payoff is a confident, secure walk with God. With undivided loyalty, his choices are clear. With no duplicity, he has no hangovers of character. When he’s away on business, he is the same person as he is at home. He is the same man on Friday and Saturday night as he is on Sunday mornings. He’s a father who says what he does and does what he says. He is a husband his wife can trust and follow.
God’s man has moved beyond the payoff of instant gratification. Imagine it! Feeling good is replaced with feeling right about yourself. When you feel right about yourself, no matter what your circumstances or your mood, you are content and connected to God, your family, and your purpose as God’s man. Now that’s security without stress.
Our wise King also pointed out that the “integrity of the upright guides them” (Proverbs 11:3). We see this as meaning that if you are not divided inwardly in your heart or character, the voices representing competing loyalties will be muted. Instead, your spiritual focus will work to provide clear direction and guidance. Your intuition will be guided by your spiritual commitments to the point where good decision making becomes second nature.
I once struggled so hard to make good choices that God never intended to be difficult, like my wife comes first, spending time with the family, making an appointment with God every day, putting boundaries on alcohol, sharing God’s love with those he sends my way, and in general following the leading of the Holy Spirit. What I discovered is that an undivided heart will build a spine. We must have more than an undivided heart. We must also have a spine.
Thank you Father for showing me the payoffs of confidence, self-respect and the many blessings along the way. You are awesome!
The good man brings good things of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” Matthew 12:35
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but babies leak. They also desire close proximity. At times this is a lethal combination for any parent, aunt, brother or sister who happens to be holding one when they — hmm, how can I put this delicately? You know, leak. What’s inside comes out and on to those who are unfortunately in the hot zone. Smells, drools and foods, and don’t forget those numbers one and two. I think God designed it this way to show us exactly how big his love is for us and how it works. His precious wonderful creations that made messes. Out of his love he cleans up and cleans up until we grow up.
In life, what’s inside will eventually come out, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. We do our best to prevent spills and leaks. Diapers, Tupperware and window caulking all prevent undesirable leaking of stuff into the protected spaces of our lives. But, when it comes to our character — that stuff inside that guides critical decision making — there are no controls to stop the leaks. And frequently we leak onto others.
Signals and stimuli inevitably trigger a flood of your character, which spills into your everyday interactions. These spills have a shaping influence on those around us.
The big question is, what kind of character am I leaking?
Thank you for the character that you are building in me. You know the exact tools that will do the job.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18
Satan is alive on planet earth. This understanding will not be trouble free or painless. Your enemy is intelligent, skilled, and personally driven by his cause. He will fight viciously. But God’s Spirit declares this is a new day for men He is making new. The tide is turning, and the days of living in defeat and despair have been replaced with the full commitment of God’s men who are willing to fight in the open, hand to hand. Our collective focus on exposing, isolating, and moving aggressively against evil will change and reduce evil’s capacity to wage war. We have overwhelmingly superior weaponry placed at our disposal and rising numbers of skilled warriors locking arms. God’s men are on the march, and we are resolved to accept nothing less than a full victory, even if that costs our very lives. In the words of “Brave Heart,” HOLD.
God has full confidence in your loyalty to His cause and your abilities to fight for Him when you are called upon by circumstances and the commission of Christ. Your King has declared to you “All authority has been given to me.” It’s time we deal with evil the right way — expose it, engage it and keep it on the run through Christ.
You will find that the biggest battle you will fight with the Enemy is in your own head. Discipline your mind, because the attacks upon it will increase. The spirit of fighting as God’s man is allowing yourself to be directed by God and applying what He shows you. Every application will require your surrender in order to secure your victories. Ready yourself.
Father, you know war is ugly but victory is sweet. Thank you for the hope you have placed in me.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” I Peter 5:6
Humble Pie is kind of like broccoli, you don’t eat it for desert. Jesus’ style of humility has personal influence under the control and management of the Holy Spirit. He whispers, stop talking about yourself and get interested in God and then others. He invites you to take some of that bonus you just got and pay it forward. Give it to someone or something that God brings to your mind. Humility before God manifests itself in controlling your ability to influence. The trouble comes when we transfer that control to a feeling, the moment, convenience, a fear, or our appetites. Each of us has influence, and we’ll project that on to others for better or for worse. The question is, how will you use yours?
Will you be the person that uses his position to intimidate, demand, and threaten the man who possess wealth for his own pleasure? God desires that we lead but also to remember who gave us this position of leadership and for what purpose? He gives us money and things to use and enjoy but not exclusively for our purpose. It really does get down to out of control selfish behavior. Not doing without thinking. God desires the best for us but knows that the best for us does not include self-absorption. The aroma of selfishness really kills the sweet taste of humble pie.
The lens of Jesus was a mission on earth of humility, that’s where it had to start and finish. He had to learn the rhythm of possessing royalty without flaunting His crown. You may not be a celebrity, but you have influence. Similarly, you may not be pulling down six figures, but I know you have relational capital in the lives of others, use it wisely.
Father, your recipe for humble pie is the best ever made.