Six tests you may encounter in 2009!
This exercise accompanies the teaching on Sunday January 4th, 2009. You can also download this message on our website.
Text: Ephesians 6:10-20
The Foundation Test
“Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist….”
Do you have “loose laces” in this area? Are you a student of the Word of God? How do you work it into your life? What’s your greatest challenge in this area?
The following are questions you can ask the text as you study God’s Word.
Is there an Attitude to adjust?
Is there a Promise to claim?
Is there a Priority to change?
Is there a Lesson to learn?
Is there an Issue to resolve?
Is there a Command to obey?
Is there an Activity to avoid or stop?
Is there a Truth to believe?
Is there an Idol to tear down?
Is there an Offense to forgive?
Is there a New direction to take?
Is there a Sin to confess?
The Identity Test
“ …with the breastplate of righteousness in place…”
Our true identity is that He has made us righteous. (1 Corinthians 1:30).
If you have “loose laces” in this area then the enemy will have free reign with you. He will take your area of failure, weakness, struggle, vulnerability and will throw it in your face to shame you and beat you down. The enemy uses shame and embarrassment to imprison Christians.
Have you ever sensed the enemy attacking your identity? Is there an area in your life that the enemy uses to bring shame and repeated failure? How does understanding God’s righteousness as my breastplate help you?
The Peace Test
“ … and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace.”
The enemy will try to make us feel like we have no footing. That we have lost our grip, and that we are falling, out of control. He tries to rob us of peace and then we panic, lose perspective and then we plummet - action(s) we may latter regret.
How’s your sense of peace these days? Rate it out of 5. Can you relate to the 4 p’s listed above?
The Alertness Test
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
The attack can come from above, behind, ahead. You must be willing to move that shield to protect yourself. “The devil has more temptations than an actor has costumes for the stage.”
Finish this sentence, “I am most vulnerable when….” Who is holding you accountable in that area of your life?
The Hope Test
“Take the helmet of salvation…”
In 1 Thessalonians 5:8 Paul refers to this helmet of salvation as offering hope. Every soldier in battle needs to have hope. This is not speaking of salvation from sin. This is not saying that everything will turn out as we want it to. This has to do with believing that I can work through this challenge, that God is with me, and that I can be strong.
What are hope killers in your life? (Unresolved sin, failure, etc)
How important is hope on the journey?
The Agreement Test
“…and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.”
I call this “The Agreement Test” because, when we pull out the Sword, we are saying “I choose not to agree with the lies of the enemy.” Note in Matthew 4 how Jesus used the Sword and chose not to agree with the lies of the enemy.
What are common lies people believe? How do these lies affect behaviour, and relationships? What books are you reading that are helping you work through some of the attacks upon Christianity? I mentioned in my message that I am reading, The Case For The Real Christ (Lee Strobel), The Language of God (Francis S. Collins) and on order The Reason For God (Tim Keller).
Are you well versed in Scripture to counter the lies with truth?
Notice Paul’s emphasis on prayer in v18-20. Even though this is not listed as armour it is something we need to be constantly doing. (Why do you think Paul didn’t list this as armour?) Take time to pray back to God some of the issues that have surfaced as you have worked through this exercise. Also be sure to weekly, if not daily “put on” the armour of God!