The light had just turned green and before you could get your foot on the gas pedal, “Honkkkk! Honkkkk!” Later, you’re in the check-out line at the grocery store and witness a customer cussing out the grocery clerk for not double-bagging her milk.
“What on earth?” you think to yourself. “Why is there so much anger?”
The Bible tells us our struggles are not against flesh and blood (other people), but against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (See Ephesians 6:12-17)
God has given us the truth about where our struggle lies, and it’s not with other people. So, who’s ultimately to blame? Evil – there are unseen forces of evil fueling sin in our world and they prey upon everyone. We have specific guidelines on how to combat this evil. Through Christ, we can be awesome warriors against the evil that tries to sneak its way into our lives.
The Belt of Truth
Picture yourself with oversized garments that would fall down and trip you if you had no belt. The belt is important; it keeps everything in place, and nothing falls down around our ankles to trip us. Truth takes many forms. Christ laid down his life for our sins, and rose again to a resurrected life and He lives today. That truth is the basis of our faith. We may need to see the truth about a particular situation in our life. We may need to be more aware of telling the truth to ourselves and others. Whatever the circumstance, the Christian who is not walking in truth will be tripped up, so it’s imperative that we stick to the truth.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
We are instructed to guard our hearts with the breastplate of righteousness, making heartfelt decisions in our lives based on the character of our Lord. This is the 21st century bullet-proof vest. Without it, we are easy targets for the bullets of envy, strife, unforgiveness, revenge, and jealousy which seek to destroy our hearts. God fills our hearts with his love, leaving no room for the enemy’s evil suggestions.
Shoes of the Gospel of Peace
As servants of the living God, when we walk with proper footwear, we carry the message of where we are headed, and why we are going there, the gospel message. If our feet are not ready, we may be delayed by the enemy who doesn’t want us on the path. On the path toward God, we are not barefooted where rocks and rough terrain (life’s circumstances) damage our walk; we can make it to our destination.
The Shield of Faith
The Bible tells us to hold up the shield of faith with which we can extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one. Using faith as our shield, we believe without doubt, believe in God’s victory over all the sin in our life (evil), and believe He is all powerful and loves us unconditionally. Against that kind of faith, the one who seeks to destroy us has no power.
The Sword of the Spirit
Get proactive with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. God wants us to know His Holy Word and use it! In every struggle we face, we are not fighting flesh and blood. God’s Word is able to pierce all the evil thrown at us. Jesus used scripture when tempted by Satan. There is power in God’s Word!
The Helmet of Salvation
This helmet protects our thought life. Since the original sin when Satan convinced Eve that God didn’t want her to know too much, he has used that same trick over and over. He takes aim at our thought life. Satan reasoned with Eve, and brought doubt into her mind by using worldly logic.
Salvation says I am bought by the blood of the Lamb, and my mind is fixed on serving the One who died for me. It does not fit worldly logic that the God of the universe would take the lowly form of a human being, and allow Himself to be crucified to pay the penalty for our sin.
Worldly logic is not God’s way. He is above that. So, when the intellectuals and the critics of our faith are energized by Satan’s thought processes, we must protect our minds by the helmet God provides.
We must stay focused and remember we are not fighting flesh and blood. We must pray for those who are being used as pawns to carry out the enemy’s plans and we need to love them through it. We must also pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ regularly. This is God’s plan.
So, when you are tempted to blame others for your misery, remember they are just flesh and blood – just like you. Hate the sin, not the sinner.
Copyright © 2010 Beth Patch. Used by permission.