Church: Love One Another as God First Loved You

A church is made up of imperfect people, like you and me. It doesn’t matter what position you hold or role you play in your church body or how long you’ve been walking with the Lord, none of us achieve perfection this side of the Pearly Gates. When a brother or sister in Christ fall, it can be tempting to ostracize them, ridicule them, or banish them from our lives. After all, we don’t want to go hang around sinners now do we? The problem is, we’re all sinners. Being saved and becoming a Christian neither immunizes nor incubates us from sin. Such is not the nature of the world we inhabit.

As a Christian, I’ve made a conscious effort to walk a different road than the one I ventured down before I encountered Christ. Having a relationship with Christ makes me think about sin and view my shortcomings differently than before I knew Christ on a personal level. Yet, daily, I find myself dependent on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct my way. I don’t want anything to come between me and God. That doesn’t mean that nothing will be vying for my attention. To the contrary, it seems like the opportunities to mess up and fall amp up dramatically the more pronounced in my faith I become.

There’s a reason that the Apostle Paul urges us to put on the full armor of God every day. He understood better than most that ours is a daily battle to pursue the righteousness of God versus succumbing to the vices and devices of the Enemy. There’s a reason Scripture instructs us to be careful about assessing judgment on the words and deeds of others. It’s no accident that the Word emphasizes us to treat others like we would want to be treated.

Ephesians 6:10-12 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Whole Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

When a brother or sister in Christ falls, they need our love, not our condemnation. Who can they rely on to love on them in the hour of their greatest need if not us? This is what it means to be family. We love one another because God first loved us while we were yet sinners. God demonstrated that love through the atoning sacrificial offering of His precious Son, Jesus Christ and He continues to show that love through the power of the Holy Spirit abiding in us.

As a friend of mine once encouraged me: If you find a perfect church, don’t start attending. You’ll just mess it up.

In the meantime, cast no stones.

Peace be with you.

Blessings,

The Devotional Guy™

Find Jesus

Do Not Be Dismayed

This week I have been reminded of the importance of putting on the whole armor of God daily. You can bet that if you’re working anywhere close to the front lines of ministry that you will battle the enemy, who seeks to silence you, discourage you, and thwart your efforts on behalf of the Kingdom of God. Do not be dismayed.

The Apostle Paul gave the Christians worshipping in Ephesus some very sound sage advice, explaining to them to be prepared for combat not only against things seen, but also things unseen. Paul understood that powerful forces existed then, as they do now, desiring to derail our ministry and destroy our witness as we seek to share the love of Jesus with a hurting and ailing world.

Fortunately, our power and strength does not rest in ourselves, but in the Almighty God we serve. Therefore, we can go forward with confidence that God is with us, fighting on our behalf, clearing the path of obstacles attempting to be roadblocks as we go about doing the work He has called us to do.

How can I pray for you?

Blessings.

Rb_edit_TDG

“When the enemy comes with shame and blame, tell him to go measure the distance from east to west and get back to you.”-Louie Giglio

The Whole Armor of God

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we  are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)

 

A Real Holy War

 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV)

Faith and spirituality lie beyond the reach of our five senses. Our age of skepticism yields a dismissive attitude towards the notion of evil spirits. Sure, we love to dress up for Halloween and go to the movie theater to check out the latest horror movie to be scared out of our wits. But to us, it’s all make believe.

Demons aren’t real.

Scripture would tend to disagree with us. The Apostle Paul certainly would. During his time ministering in Ephesus, Paul encountered a great deal of demonic activity.

We may be reluctant to admit it but a real Holy War is going on all around us. The church battles to survive the attacks of the devil, demons, and malignant supernatural beings. Part of the war is being fought here among us, full of battles and enemies we can see. Yet another part of the war is being waged out of our line of sight, in the spiritual realm, between the angel armies of God and the demonic minions of the Devil. Yes, I know this may seem crazy to you. But it is true. As believers, we are at war with the Enemy who seeks to deceive, devour and destroy us.

armor-of-god_edited

Throughout his letters, the Apostle Paul reminds us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, to cloak ourselves in Him. We are to take extra measures to ensure that we leave no opening at our head, our feet our heart, our belly, our eye, our eye or our tongue. The Devil readily exploits any opportunity we provide. Scripture tells us that even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, to deceive us, devour us, and destroy us.

The problem with not naming your Enemy is that it lulls you into a false narrative that your Enemy isn’t real. Before you know it, you let your defenses down and leave your armor at home, oblivious to the battle raging all around you.

As Christians, we have to recognize that by our profession of faith, we have chosen sides. We have publicly declared we are on God’s team. It is in our interest to protect ourselves with the Armor of God and equip ourselves with weapons the Lord has provided us, like praise and prayer, the Bible, the blood of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us, and the power of our Testimony.

While we may not readily see it, a spiritual war wages all around us. Are you prepared?