Three Meter Zone | JD's Bunker | Poetry | Chapel | American Journal
In John Piper’s book, Let Let the Nations Be Glad! 2nd Edition, he describes life as war. He refers to Ephesians chapter 6, verses 12 through 18 wherein Paul instructs the church as Ephesus to don the full armor of God so that they will be able to defend themselves and their families against the enemy. Piper reminds us that if we love someone we want them to have what brings them joy.
What brings God joy is seeing the lost and hurting come to Him, believe Him, and love Him. When we turn fully to God through acknowledging Jesus Christ as God’s sacrifice for reconciliation with us, even though we have sinned against Him, our joy will be complete. While this does not mean we will experience constant happiness, it does mean that the joy of our salvation will be the foundation of a deep, abiding comfort that underlies every experience in our lives.
As the enemy ignites flaming missiles and launches them our way, we need a strong defense. In the military, we constantly train in battle readiness. We are either preparing for war or actually engaging the enemy. That is the purpose of our armed forces: to defend and protect. An enormous part of any strategic battle plan is a strong defense. Paul describes the war we Christians are in as a battle against an unseen enemy and wicked spiritual forces. His battle plans include a mighty arsenal, beyond anything man can create.
Paul instructs believers to wrap our bodies in Truth and use righteousness as a covering for our vital organs. We know the Bible is God’s Truth and we know that our righteousness is found only in the suffering, service, and sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus’ death and resurrection protects our lives eternally. So we study the Bible faithfully and we pattern our lives after Him. Paul says also that we are to put on the shoes of the gospel of peace. In other words, we are to walk peacefully with one another and with those who do not believe in Jesus.
We are to hold up a shield of faith which, Paul explains, will shoot down the missiles of the enemy. When I am convinced that God will complete the good work he began in me, I can have faith that He will give me all I need to fight this daily battle, not only for me, but on behalf of those who are lost or hurting.
On our heads, Paul wants us to put a protective covering of our salvation. If I clad my mind in the full knowledge of my secure salvation from Hell, I begin to understand that I have already won the battle, not me but Jesus has won it for me! Therefore, the work I undertake in this life is completed in eternity. My efforts here are already successful, despite my flaws, frailties, and occasional floundering. So I know fully that my work will be fruitful. My Father assigned the work to me and He does not allow His plan to fail. No tree He plants fails to bear good fruit. I can now take up the sword of the Spirit which, Paul says, is the Word of God, and pray, and I can be fully confident that His good work in me will come to fruition!
In verses 19 and 20 of Ephesians chapter 6, Paul asks the Ephesians to pray for him that he would be given what is needed to boldly let others know about the good news of Jesus Christ. Ironically, Paul is writing this letter as an “ambassador in chains” for the good news of Christ. He asks for prayer to be able to speak boldly when he proclaims the good news, as he “ought to”! This man was in prison for this very act: proclaiming boldly the gospel message. Bound with chains, Paul is writing to encourage a church he planted as God directed him, and he is boldly proclaiming the gospel. He has put on the full armor of God and is fighting the battle that rages around him. Even while He is in prison, he is enlisting fellow soldiers to come alongside him and engage the enemy face to face with the most powerful arsenal of weapons in existence: Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and prayer. Paul doesn’t just believe IN God, he BELIEVES Him! Lord, help us to BELIEVE you!
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