Sunday, September 16, 2012

Touching Base! Part 178

Rigorous Faith in Turbulent Times, Part 17
Putting on the Armor - Ephesians 6:10-20

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This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

There are six tests that come out of Paul’s letter regarding the Armor of God. How are you doing in these areas?

The Foundation Test
“Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist….”

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)
Identity in Christ is key in growing in the wholeness that Christ wants us to experience. Satan will take your areas of failure, weakness, struggle, vulnerability and will throw them in your face to shame you and beat you down if you are not rooted in all that Christ has done for you. 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 first panic, and then lose perspective and then we plummet - action(s) we may later 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, in front. 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 Thess. 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 make it through this challenge, that God is with me, and that I can be strong.
What are “hope killers” in your life (unresolved sin, failure, major disappointment 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 that people believe? How do these lies affect behavior, and relationships? For some people the lies they believe are more powerful and life-shaping than the truth that is declared in God’s Word. Lies can have a long shelf life and shape our entire lives! Are you well versed in Scripture to counter the lies with truth?

Finally, be sure that you are in a community where you can say as Paul did, “Pray also for me...” As leaders, and we all lead in some capacity, we need to admit our own battles and ask for help. I am convinced that there are many issues in our lives that, unless we bring them out into the open, we will never find the freedom we desire. Who do you need to say to, “Pray also for me...?”

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 armor of God!


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