DRESSED FOR SPIRITUAL SUCCESS!

16 05 2016

677

Do you consider your work a ministry? Do you realize that your profession is very much your own personal pulpit that proclaims to a watching world what is most important to you?  Our English word for “vocation” actually comes from the Latin word for “calling.”  As Christians, we no longer do what we do to just advance ourselves selfishly or become random workaholics. It does a soul no good to invest a ton of the very best prime time hours to just try to reach a financially driven goal. Each person who calls himself a Follower of Jesus is expected to fulfill his God-appointed task in everyday life and to do so not just for the “eye service” of others- but as a daily act of worship to God!

 Serving the Lord is not just for the full time Pastors or Missionaries. We all need to be properly equipped so we may be able to do exactly what God has appointed and assigned us to do. All human work should be an opportunity to bring glory to God!  The Scriptures define for us the great spiritual wealth belonging to every believer in the heavenly realm that plays out practically as we step into the godly walk here on earth. But there is a catch and that is the reality that there is an enemy that wants to trip us up when it comes to fulfilling God’s will for our lives. We might say that the more fruitful a follower of Jesus becomes, the more intense the fight will be. This is why we must not take the field until we are properly dressed in the full uniform of a warrior in the Lord. Ephesians 6:13 exhorts us to, “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.”

 Let’s start with that word “full” as in “full armor.” You can’t expect to be able to literally withstand whatever Hell throws at you without taking the equipment that God provides for you seriously! I learned that lesson the hard way. I played baseball when I was a student at Philadelphia College of Bible and it was because of my stubbornness that I put myself in the place of experiencing a serious concussion. I hated wearing those Batting Helmets when I ran the bases and saw it more a nuisance than a necessity. To me it was something that kept me from moving freely. I have never been blessed with possessing great speed and so the last thing I didn’t need was to be wearing anything else that slowed me down even further. I was on first base when our next batter got a base hit and as I was rounding 2nd base heading for 3rd the right fielder rifled a throw that hit me square in the back of my head and with no helmet to protect my cranium and dropped straight to the ground. The good news is I recovered although maybe the jarring of my brain explains a lot of why I am like I am today. We all laugh about it now, but not having my full armor on nearly cost me!

 Every Christian is freely given every piece of wardrobe he or she needs to win the spiritual battles that we find ourselves in. Without the armor on, our bark is very open to the devil’s bite! When you say no to sin and yes to righteousness, you win a spiritual battle. When you say yes to sin and no to righteousness, you lose a spiritual battle. And when you are exposed, you need to quickly repent and renounce your sin and get that armor back on to protect the heart and soul of our faith. If you don’t want to be left with a gaping hole in your faith, you must let the Spirit guard your whole person. When you practically make it your goal to be with Jesus, his light becomes contagious and his power trumps our cowardice. His behavior starts dominating our activity! The old adage is true: you truly do become like the company you make time for!

God’s light when it is allowed to shine bright through you will eventually get in someone’s eyes and it will at times tick them off. But don’t you dare douse the dosage of his difference making presence that should be beaming through you! This is why Hell wants to determine your outfits before you leave the house and head out into the world! Your heart is daily up for grabs. Hell wants to bounce your soul around like a basketball and pummel it like a dodge ball and sock it like a baseball. Following Jesus makes it possible for you to rise up above the mediocrity, but you won’t be hungry for what’s on God’s menu if you keep settling for the scraps this world keeps throwing at you. Your thin skin will become vulnerable to sin breaking in and rotting your roots by stealing, killing and destroying His life pumping through you!

 Open our eyes Lord and let us keep our breastplate of holy living on so that we don’t look for a way out but always a way up! Wearing the righteousness of Jesus makes you more confident in your stand. The purpose of the breastplate on a soldier was to protect all the major organs of the body, especially the heart. It covered the front area thus protecting from a frontal assault. It covered the back area thus protecting from a rear assault. Today we are getting attacked from both sides by the enemy but every time we see God bring us through, we become faithful and we grow in faith so we don’t groan in disgrace because what otherwise might have been fatal ends up as nothing more than a futile shot from Hell!

 We live in a world that is destroying the sacred things. We need to be dressed so that our hearts have protection from hell’s bullets. Nothing protects us better than Christ’s righteousness. It is indestructible! In The Encourager, Charles Mylander writes: “Sunrise was dawning when Los Angeles motorcycle police officer Bob Vernon saw a red pickup truck speeding through a stop sign. This guy must be late to work, he thought to himself. He turned on his emergency lights and radioed that he was in pursuit. The pickup pulled over, and the officer approached. Meanwhile in the truck, the driver thought, “The cops already know!” He was scared. He rested his hand on the same gun he had used a few moments before to rob a local mini-market. The sack of stolen money was beside him on the seat. The officer said, “Good morning, sir, may I see your…” Bob never finished the sentence. The driver pointed his gun toward the policeman’s chest and fired! Officer Vernon was knocked flat and flew seven feet away. It appeared that Bob Vernon was dead. You could imagine the horror of the driver when a few seconds later the officer stood up, and made his way back to the driver. “Don’t shoot!” the thief screamed, throwing the gun and sack of money out the pickup window. What saved the policeman’s life was dozens of layers of Kevlar, the super strong fabric used for bulletproof vests. Only three-eighths of an inch thick, Kevlar can stop bullets cold.

In Ephesians 6, the Bible instructs every Christian to put on completely the breastplate of the righteousness of Jesus our Savior! Simple qualities like walking in God’s righteousness with childlike faith can deflect what the enemy of souls may fire at us. I remember growing up believing that if I wanted to hit like Hank Aaron, I needed to eat a big bowl of Wheaties, the breakfast of champions! As Christians, too many of us have feasted for too long on the fatty fare this world has to offer. We too easily forget to meditate, chew on and mull over the truth what the Holy Spirit teaches us.  The old hymn challenged, “Rise up, O men of God, have done with lesser things.” Putting on the breastplate of God’s righteousness reminds us that the Lord has plans for your body and they are plans for you and I to participate in as a part of the very practices that God redeemed us to do! Don’t settle for distortion. Make a serious commitment today that tells the Lord and shows the world you are prepared to embrace this aspect of your calling in Christ.

 


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