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Tag Archives: spiritual armor

The Spiritual Battle – Pressing In

Do you know where you are in the history of the church?  This question isn’t about a place, but time.

I’m posting about the spiritual battle that’s going on around us.  It’s vital that we know the times we live in.

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Romans 13:11

We need to know where we are on God’s timetable. I don’t like saying it, but the truth is that past generations of believers could “sleep” through their Christian walk. Not us. We live in dangerous times.

The Apostle Paul continues talking about this.

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Romans 13:12-14

In this generation, we need to lay aside the things that are a part of the darkness. In their place, we must put on the armor of God.

We must live carefully and clothe ourselves with Christ. And as I focused on in my last post, we need to watch and pray. That’s how we keep alert spiritually.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18

This verse literally says that we must keep watch with all persistency. That word persistency means to be strong toward, to be diligent. We must be diligent in the battle zone.

When we say that we need to be strong toward something, it speaks about a goal, a direction. We sometimes use the term “press in.”

In battle, there are places that are hard to get to. There are houses you can’t enter until you bind the strong man. It isn’t easy to press into the miraculous. If it was – everyone, every church would have it.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
Acts 2:42-43

Was it any easier back then, in the early church? Did those believers have all the time in the world to do all these things? I don’t think they were any different from us. It was as hard for them as it is for this generation.

If we want God’s best, it takes diligence. It will cause us to leave our comfort zone. But the spiritual rewards will be worth it.

Question: What do you find to be the most difficult about pressing into God’s presence?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Bootcamp – Armed and Ready

I’ve been talking about the spiritual battle that we’re involved in.  The problems we face and the people who annoy us are not the issues.  The real fight is with the unseen world around us.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Ephesians 6:11

We’re told to put on the armor.  I’ve heard many believers talk about it, but do we understand what this means?  Do we even know what the armor really is?

First and foremost we need to realize that this is the armor of God.  It’s not my armor; it belongs to God.  Actually, it’s God’s personal suit of armor.  It was talked about back in the Old Testament.

At one point Isaiah got a prophetic picture of God getting himself ready for battle.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 59:17

Because of the Lord’s outer garments of vengeance and zeal, Isaiah could only see the helmet and breastplate.  But that’s enough to know who the armor belongs to.  The point is this – it’s not made to fit us, but God.  That’s why being found in Christ is so important.

The fact is that we’re told to put on the full armor of God.  If I have to put it on, then I’m not automatically fully clothed.  Putting on the armor is something I need to do.

I also believe that “confessing the armor on” or “praying it on” is not enough.  While I do believe in confessing and praying the Word of God, there’s more involved here.

For instance, if you’re not walking in faith, you haven’t picked up your shield no matter how many times you confess that you’re holding it.  It’s the same with truth.  If you’re not walking in the truth of the Word of God, then no amount of praying will put the belt on you.

In order to be protected, we need to be using the armor daily.  We need to be walking in truth, righteousness, the Gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God.  Only through practice can a warrior get good at using his armor and weaponry.

There are no overnight successes.  We either use it or there’s no victory for us.  The devil is playing for keeps.  He’s not going to back down simply because we claim to have armor.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8-9

The enemy’s looking for an easy victim.  It’s not his first choice to mess with someone who’s fully armed.  This verse literally says that he’s looking for someone he can gulp down in one bite.

Given the choice, do you think he’d rather take on a naked believer who thinks that their armed or a spiritual warrior fully clothed and trained for battle?  The answer is clear.  Don’t be a meal for the enemy’s kingdom.

My prayer is that the church of Jesus Christ once again rises up in the Lord’s strength.  Not just a few little groups here and there, but a majority of God’s people.  That’s why this blog exists.

Don’t be the enemy’s next victim.  Take your stand in the full armor of God.

Question: What’s the greatest challenge that you’re facing right now?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Faith + Love = Righteousness (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to do some hiking and praying off in the woods.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

At one time I did a series of posts about the parable of the Ten Virgins from Matthew 21.  To see that original series, click here.

In that series, I showed that the light is our righteousness shining into the darkness around us.  If righteousness is our light, then what constitutes the oil and the lamp? It’s the combination of the two that brings light. The relationship between them is what’s important.

Both must be present to produce light. You could have 100 lamps, yet with no oil, there’s no light. Conversely, you could have barrels of oil, yet with no lamp to burn it, there would still be no light. It’s only the combination of lamp and oil that will produce light.

You could say that the light is the oil expressing itself through the lamp. If the light is the manifestation of our righteousness, then we need to discover what the Scripture says about the source.

First, we must see how righteousness is described in the Word of God.

The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
Isaiah 59:15b-17

Here we see God Himself putting on the breastplate of righteousness. Most Christians don’t know that this armor was first seen in the Old Testament. It was not something that the Apostle Paul came up.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…
Ephesians 6:14

So we can know for a certainty that righteousness is our breastplate. This is important because Paul also described it to the Thessalonian church.

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
I Thessalonians 5:8

In this verse, Paul is clearly referring to our spiritual armor. He even makes mention of the helmet of salvation. But instead of assigning righteousness as the breastplate, he says that faith and love are used in that role. Paul is telling us that it’s the combination of our faith and our love working together that completes our righteousness.

I believe that the lamp and the oil represent the operation of love and faith in our spiritual walk. If you go to my original series by clicking the above link, you’ll see a more detailed teaching about how they work together.

Question: How does the absence of either faith or love affect our walk with Christ?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Are We Lion Tamers?

As we continue our walk through Mark’s Gospel, we now come to chapter 5.  It begins with Jesus encountering a demon-possessed man who lived in the tombs.  Because of the length of the passage, I can’t show it all here.  I suggest that you read Mark 5:1-17 before proceeding.

In this section of Scripture, we see a man tormented by the enemy.  Night and day he would be crying out in agony and cutting himself with rocks.  When people tried to bring him into custody, the demons would give him the strength to break any form of shackles.

The description that Mark gives is very interesting.  Look at what verse 4 tells us.

For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet.  No one was strong enough to subdue him.
Mark 5:4

The word, subdue, in this verse literally means to tame, like a wild animal.  Many people enjoy going to a zoo or a circus to see a wild animal show.  They watch as the lion tamers guide their huge cats around the ring.

I think this is how we get into trouble sometimes.  This man was under the control of the devil’s power.  Yet there were people trying to tame him.

They were just like many Christians today who are trying to tame the enemy’s kingdom.  They want it to work for them.  They think that they can receive all of the benefits of the world, with none of the hurts.  I wish that were true.

The Bible teaches that the enemy is not to be played with.

Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

The goal of the enemy is to destroy your life.  But he can’t do it with a frontal assault because we’re protected by the power of God at work in us.

However, if he can get us to lay down our spiritual armor, then we’re open to his attack.  If it suits his purpose, the enemy can pretend to be tamed long enough for us to feel secure in playing with him.  Yet, we don’t realize that we’re walking right into his trap.

The principles of the kingdom of God and seeking to be a friend of the world don’t mix.  You have to choose one or the other.  Straddling the fence will bring your life to ruin.

The Lord understood how to handle the work of the devil.

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8b

Our goal should be the same as that of Christ.  We should live to set the captives free.  All the while we must watch ourselves so that we’re not captivated by the world.

The power of God did more than just tame the demon-possessed man.  He was set free and his life was totally renewed by the power of God.  That’s the type of victory we should be seeking in our generation.

But it will require us to spend time in the Father’s presence just as Jesus did.

Question: What are some areas that you see the need for Christ to set people free?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Prepared in the Evil Day

 

ClockI want to see revival in the church. It’s obvious from what’s happening around us that we need it. The real question is; do we want it? And more than that, are we willing to do what it takes to lay hold of it?

Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16

I used to teach that inanimate things couldn’t be evil or good. After spending some time studying this verse, I realized that I was wrong. Things like days and money can be evil. It’s actually talked about throughout the New Testament.

Maybe you might think that not all days are evil. After all, there was intense persecution of the church back then. That was Paul’s day he was talking about.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father…
Galatians 1:3-4

One of the reasons that Christ went to the cross was to rescue us from this present evil age. That’s the time we live in.   The age he’s talking about stretched from Paul’s day to the time when Christ returns to establish His Kingdom. If the age is evil, then all the days of that age are evil.

We live in evil days. Paul also talked about this in regard to the armor of God.

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.
Ephesians 6:13

We need to be constantly walking in the spiritual armor. This is our protection from the evil age. This is not an option, or something that only needs to be done once in a while.

Jesus went to the cross to provide us with more than just a one-time salvation. His work is ongoing in our lives. He provided us with the armor we need to rescue us from this present evil age. We don’t need to be affected by it.

When will the evil day come? Every time you wake up in the morning. That’s why God’s armor is so important. The evil day is not on its way, it’s here.

As God’s people we should be prepared for what’s ahead. We are the ones who should be walking in victory over the challenges that face the world around us.

We need to spend time in the presence of the Lord. That’s where our strength is. In Him and in the power of the Holy Spirit, I have everything I need to face the evil days ahead of me.

How else could I walk in victory? If every day is evil, then in Christ every day is a victory through Him who gives me strength.

Question: How does this evil age manifest itself in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2015 in Power of God, Revival, Spiritual Warfare

 

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The Last-Days Mentality

ChristDo you believe that we’re living in the Last Days before the coming of the Lord?  Do you think that His return is close?  If so, then what should our mindset be like?

At one point in His ministry the Lord talked about the importance of being ready.  We’re not to be distracted by all the things the world has to offer.

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
Luke 12:35-36

In this verse Jesus shows us how to live in the last days.  He tells us to be dressed.  For us it means to have our spiritual armor on.  Don’t go around without your protection from the snares of the enemy.

Too many Christians are walking around spiritually naked.  Then they wonder why the enemy has such an easy time messing with them.  The time is now to prepare for the conflict ahead.

The Lord also said to keep your lamps burning.  We must be awake and alert.  The world is in the dark and we’re supposed to be in the light.  That’s the kind of constant preparedness our lives should be equipped with.

We are to be in an attitude of waiting and watching.  The meaning of the word that He uses for waiting is to give access to.

In other words, I’m not living for myself.  I’m at someone else’s disposal.  I’m supposed to be ready at a moment’s notice to do something for somebody else.

The Lord must have 24 hour a day access to our lives.  As soon as the Master knocks we should be at the door, opening it.  Our schedule should not even factor into it.  We live to please the Master.

Sometimes our attitude with the Lord sounds like this; “Oh, I’m sorry.  I was reading a book, and I wanted to finish the paragraph.”  Servants don’t have that luxury.  We live to please Christ.  We must be prepared to serve at a moment’s notice.

In order to fulfill this calling we must have the attitude of a waiting servant.  Christ is coming, and we want to be ready when He appears.  It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, what I’m reading, or what I’m eating – when He arrives on the scene, I’m there to meet Him.  “Lord, I’m ready for you.”  That’s the ready attitude to have.

It’s time for the church to stop living like our wants and desires are the most important thing.  Christ must be given the highest priority of our service.

Question: Does the church appear ready for the return of Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Return of Christ, The Church

 

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