Armor of Light

The night is far spent, the day is at hand.  Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  (Romans 13:12 NKJV)

Each day when we awake from our slumber, we are given a new day to live our lives for God.  A new day of choices.  A new day of promises.  A new day to be alive for God's glory.  I love how Paul encourages us to put on the armor of light, Jesus Christ (Ro 13:14) so that we can overcome our sinful nature and live for God.

I'm thankful that I am a Christian who has been given the power to change from the inside through God's Holy Spirit dwelling inside of me.   How could I live for God otherwise? How else would I have the power to change my heart so that my actions result not from disciplined behavior but from true change that will endure even through the stress of life? 

I love God's promise in Galatians regarding the fruit of the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  Gal 5:22 NKJV

We will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit though, only if we allow God's Holy Spirit to have access to our hearts and minds.  In other words, it is most likely that if we never or even just occasionally pray and read our Bibles, we will not have very much of this "fruit" in our lives.  Think about it.  If we don't spend time with God, how can He, or why would He, for that matter, give us those blessings? 

I want to live my life in a consistent walk with the Holy Spirit.  I want to let people see God in me and through me before they see me because I've so filled my mind and heart with God's thoughts that the armor of light shields them from my darkness.  That's where the power truly exists -when we can remove ourselves from the picture so that God can be seen.   Then we are fully armed.

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  (Romans 13:14 NIV)

What armor are you wearing?  Your own, someone else's, or that of Jesus?

1) How much time have you spent directly with God through His Word today, this week, this month?

2) How does your time compare reading the Bible versus time spent reading what someone else says about the Bible (i.e. in a devotional such as this?)

3) What can you say "no" to so you can say "yes" to spending more time with God and getting to know Him so you can put on the "armor of light"?

Inside Out Change

What do you "look" like on the inside? Does your thought life match your outward persona or do you merely fake good behavior and attitudes day after day?   Come join me over at Laced with Grace for a look at how God gives us the power to change from the inside out.

I hope to see you there! :)

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Filled with the Fullness

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ might dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints  what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  (Eph 3:14-19 NKJ V)

This passage packs quite a punch doesn't it?  As I was praying for a verse to give to a friend, I came across this one.  As I've said before on this blog, my heart's desire is to encourage others to see what God has to offer each one of us in His word, for comfort, strength and guidance.  What treasures lie therein!  The biggest treasure of being a Christian - next to eternal life, of course - is the working of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives to enable us to achieve through Him more than we can possibly imagine.   This verse says alot about the inner strength God gives us through Christ, His son.

Our apostle Paul is praying in this verse for the Christians at the church in Ephesus.  Think about how fervently Paul prayed for his flock.  Can you see him bowing his knees, praying with all of his might for their character?  Notice how Christians get their strength from God.  Paul prays for them...

"that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man," (Eph 3:16 NKJV)

We are strengthened by God through the Holy Spirit.  And not just slightly strengthened, but strengthened with might.   Do you realize how much strength God can give you?   According to Webster, might  is defined as follows:

  1. Great or superior strength, power, force or vigor
  2. Strength or power of any degree.

Keep in mind that this is not the physical-I-am-a-great-body-builder kind of strength.  This is internal strength.  The kind that we need to endure the challenges that life throws at us.  The kind that enables us to stand no matter how hard the wind blows in the storms of our lives.

Comprehending all of this takes faith doesn't it? With Christ dwelling in our hearts because of our faith in Him, we can be rooted and grounded in love - God's love.  We can rest in the security of a perfect love from a perfect God that knows no limits with us.  This is the kind of love that casts out fear (1 John 4:18) because if we trust in God's love for us completely, we will trust in His complete sovereignty over our lives.  Consequently, we can have mighty strength.

I wish I could fully comprehend all that God is.  The width, length, depth and height (Eph 3:18) of His majesty is so much more than our small minds can even imagine.  But if we can just understand how much we can't get our arms around, doesn't that help us understand the magnitude of who He is? Shouldn't this help us realize the limitless supply of His power to us to accomplish in us what He pleases?  I think so. 

How can we possess the fullness of God (Eph 3:19) - or be filled with it - if it is too big for us to even comprehend?  Is that "fullness"  the manifestation of joy and peace in our lives?  I doubt that the "fullness" is merely a knowledge of the power to do anything we please because we are so strengthened with might.  That, to me, might lead to a teeny bit of pride.  However, we must have confidence that God can accomplish through us all that He is asking us to do.  That, coupled with understanding God's love, is what I think about having the "fullness" of God. 

I am thankful that God preserved these words of Paul from so long ago.  They give me hope that no matter where I am in this journey of life, that God will help me through it if I let Him.  Thank You, Lord, for providing us with Your power supply!!

The Spirit of the Lord

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; (Isaiah 11:2)

I had such a sweet time in God's word today, such a time as I've not had in awhile.   I sat down outside on my patio this afternoon with no time pressures and just absorbed God's presence in the beautiful summer day around me.  Oh, to have that kind of time with God every day.  As I've been tiring of the old testament of late, I've been reading through Matthew and today's reading led me to the verse above.  I just love it when God takes me on a rabbit trail because something cool always comes of it.

In Matthew 3:16 we see Jesus being baptized and how the Spirit of God landed upon Him.  Did you know that this event was fulfilled Old Testament prophecy?  In Isaiah 11:2 above we see not only the prediction that God's Spirit would rest upon Jesus, but what the Holy Spirit gave to Jesus.

Now here is the good part.  No, the great part!  The same Holy Spirit that gave Jesus the spirit of  wisdom, understanding, counsel, might and knowledge of the fear of the Lord has been given to us too if we are Christians.  It is no wonder the bible says that the Lord is "rich unto all that call upon him." (Romans 10:12).  We have the riches of the Holy Spirit of God living inside us.  As unfathomable as that is to me, I am sure thankful that I don't have to do all of my self-improvements on my own.  I can trust that God is with me to work on me from the inside change my core attitudes and beliefs so that I can live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22)

The riches of the Lord are the fruit that He gives us as we let the Holy Spirit take over our lives more and more each day.  Are you letting God get hold of you or are you resisting His tugs at your heart to spend more time with Him?  I don't know about anyone else, but I want all of the wisdom, understanding, peace, love, joy and faith that I can get.  I want to be rich - rich with the rewards only God can provide.

Have you called upon the Lord Jesus to come into your life?  Do you know that unless you have lived the perfect life (which no one can do) that you will not have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome your obstacles and that you will be forever separated from God?  Do you remember a moment in time when you realized that Jesus - the One who was crucified and died, who was buried but rose again alive - paid the price for your imperfections so you could spend eternity in heaven with Him?  Friends, if you can't remember a specific moment when you asked Jesus to come into your heart, now is the time.  Powerless lives are the only option without Him, and more importantly, a life without Jesus now leads to an eternity in a literal hell forever.   I know this sounds harsh, but I do care about each one  who reads this space in blogland.   Please, if you have any questions about your eternal fate, won't you seek some answers and click here?  And if you made a decision for Christ, please email me and let me know so that I can celebrate with you.