Today, we conclude chapter 2 of “Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life” by Wendy Blight. It’s been an amazing journey thus far, and I thank you for joining me. Today, as we conclude this chapter, we are going to look at Paul and his words. We’ve already looked over the words of Luke and John, so this seems to be a fitting conclusion.
When I think of Paul, I think of the one who built the church. The one who went to prison for what he believed and what he preached. The one who reached out to all the Gentiles so that we too could share in the joy of eternity through Jesus. That’s what I know off the top of my head. For a deeper look into who Paul was, check out this link from Holman Bible Dictionary on the Studylight.org website. It’s a little long, but a very worthy read.
Let’s begin. In the introduction to the chapter, there is reference to James 1:22 that reminds us that we cannot only be readers of the Word, but we must be doers of the Word. I think this serves as a great reminder that if we want our roots to grow in Christ, we cannot simply read and be done with it. Paul was a doer of the Word. He went out and preached it, lived it, and then died by it, but because he was a doer, his eternity is with Jesus!
Here are four different versions of that verse, all speaking the very same thing:
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (NIV)
22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. (The Message)
22 Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you are going to find you have been deceived. (The Voice)
22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth]. (AMP)
As I continue on with the lessons, I am holding deep in my heart that I must also take action. It’s not enough for me to read, study, and write about it, I am expected to take action! We must all take action. My action may look different than yours, and it’s certainly different than Paul’s, but it’s still action. It’s not an overnight thing either…remember, we are all on God’s time, and He will guide every bit of action we are to take.
Here’s a new verse I was introduced to, which reminds us to move forward…and that we shall.
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,and of faith in God,” ~Hebrews 6:1
I looked up some commentary on Colossians Chapter 2 and learned that Paul’s goal was that everyone he spoke to would find comfort in their hearts. He never gave any indication of an easiness that would come from believing, but rather that if we found peace and joy in our heart from Jesus, that this would trump any pain that came our way. I can’t help but wonder if Paul sensed some of the bad things that would happen to him and therefore he was trying to talk himself into finding comfort in his own heart and passed that message off to us.
Paul’s words also spoke of being so very cautious against false teachers. And something we must still do today. I find the easiest way is to search bible commentaries and dictionaries and then compare that to what is in the bible and to what someone has said. Not a cut and dry process, nor is it quick, but it’s what we must do in order to not fall victim to false teachings.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) NIV
How can we not be devoured? Easy…put on your armor! Yes…shield yourself with the ARMOR of God’s Word! Let’s look at six pieces of armor and how we can use each piece to defend ourselves against Satan, false teachers, and all those who want to destroy our faith.
Let’s start by reading Ephesians 6:10-18 in the NIV.
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Did you find all the pieces? Let’s list them out:
- The full armor of God so that we can stand our ground and protect our self from the devil and his evil schemes.
- Stand firm with the belt of truth around your waist and a breastplate of righteousness in place.
- Have your feet fitted with readiness that will come from the gospel of peace.
- Hold the shield of faith up so that you can extinguish all flaming arrows from the evil one.
- Wear the helmet of salvation.
- Carry the sword of the spirit, which is God’s Word.
A warrior! We are a warrior for the Kingdom. As I read this, I thought of another really brave warrior that fought for God’s Kingdom. King David. Let’s look at that description or armor.
“5 He wore a bronze helmet and a chain-mail coat that weighed more than 100 pounds of bronze. 6 His legs were protected by bronze shin guards, and he had a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders, ready to throw. 7 The shaft of his spear was as thick as a weaver’s beam, the iron head of his spear weighed 20 pounds, and his shield-bearer went ahead of him. He was a fearsome sight.” ~1 Samuel 17:5-7
Although King David was going out for actual physical battle, there is a lot of similarity in how he dressed and how we too should dress to defend God’s Kingdom, even though our armor isn’t something physical to put on, it is certainly spiritual, and we must dress our self in it daily.
I’ll close today with some reflection on verse 18, which will directly lead into next week’s chapter. Verse 18 reminds us that above wearing all that armor, we must do something else. We must pray. And not be selective about it. We must pray in the Spirit on all occasions and with all kinds of prayers and requests. All kinds…exclude nothing. And knowing that, pray for all the Lord’s people.
Friends, that means those that are against us too. God excludes no one from the gift of His salvation through Jesus. Jesus says come to me no matter what. He doesn’t exclude anyone…and neither should we. We must pray for our enemy too. We must love one another, and there are no exclusions in that either. Not an easy lesson, but one that God requires of us. Pray for each other, love one another, no matter what. Take up your armor and pray for those who we must fight.
Blessings for a most joyous Easter.