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Spiritual Bootcamp – Warned and Prepared

I’m continuing to post about spiritual warfare.  The Apostle Paul had a lot of insight in this area.  Of course, not everything he wrote sounds good to me.

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

This is one of those Scriptures that I have to embrace whether I like it or not.  I’m told under the authority of the Holy Spirit to always be prepared to stand my ground.

This is a great lesson that the church needs to hear.  So many people give up when things get hard.  Some of us are under the impression that working for God should be all hearts and flowers.

Why then does Paul use the analogy of a warrior, fully armed, and dressed for battle?  The fact is that there are spiritual forces that don’t want us to succeed in our service to the Lord.  The victory comes from knowing that it’s the Holy Spirit giving you strength, and not giving up.

We need to learn how to stand in the center of opposition.  The ancient Romans knew how to do this.  It was the secret to the success of their army.  Each of the Roman soldiers was taught how to defend a 3-foot square of ground from an invading army.  When they fought side by side, there was no way to break through their lines.

We need to get it into our heads that the only way to victory is to move forward in the Lord.  Backing up WILL NOT get you out of the battle.  It only means that you’ll have to fight to regain that ground later.

Of course, the thing about this verse that gives me the most trouble is Paul saying when the day of evil comes.  Not “if”, not “there might come a time when problems arise”.  He tells us in a straight forward way that this day is coming whether you’re ready or not.  So the best thing to do is prepare now.

The word that Paul uses for stand literally means to stand in opposition to.  This word is used elsewhere in the Bible.

Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

The word, resist, in this verse is the same word as stand that Paul used.  We need to stand our ground and resist the devil.  We’re told that if we do this, in submission to the Lord, the enemy will flee.  It’s the time frame between the resisting and the fleeing that gives us the most problem.

Why would the devil ever flee from us?  After all, we’re not that strong compared to him.  The answer is back in the verse from Ephesians.

The phrase, after you have done everything, actually translates after you have fully accomplished your work.  When you’ve done everything you were assigned to do by the Lord, then it’s time for the Holy Spirit to take over.  One thing I’m certain about.  The enemy is no match for the God I serve!

So, being forewarned with the knowledge that the day of evil is coming, we need to be ready.  We must be fully armed and prepared to stand our ground in Christ.  Then we’ll see the victory of God manifest in our situation.

In my next post, I’ll start talking about what it takes to be fully armed and dangerous to the enemy’s kingdom.

Question: What are you going through right now that will require you to stand your ground?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Bootcamp – The Unseen Enemy

I’m continuing to post about the spiritual battle we’re in.  I think that the church gets in trouble when it loses sight of this.  If we don’t understand the battle, then we’ll never walk in victory.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

The Scripture is clear.  The battle takes place in the unseen world.  My fight is not against people or even the issues that I can see with my eyes.

The people around me are the casualties – prisoners of war held captive in unseen detention centers.  Sometimes they don’t even want to be set free because the deception feels so good at the moment.  My job is not to try and convince them to join me.

The role of the church is to fight the unseen enemy.  Tear down the invisible walls.  Then turn the light on in the prison cells so that the captives can see the truth of their situation.  Only then will they run to Christ the Savior.

But this seems to be the hardest thing to get believers to understand.  Our struggle is not in the physical world, but the spiritual.  It’s not us vs. the world.  I’m not trying to get them to change sides.  That will never bring about the desired results.

I want the same mindset that Jesus had when He walked the earth.

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

We need to know that there’s a spiritual world, and that’s where our battle is being fought right now.  But how many of us really understand what that means?  While many believers can quote 2 Corinthians 10:4the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world – we don’t seem to get the whole picture.

We don’t use physical weapons, but does that mean that the war itself is any different than a natural war?  The enemy’s kingdom is very organized.  The verse I started with talked about many levels of authority in their ranks.  It’s time that the church gets organized for battle as well.

Do you realize that Satan has never personally attacked you?  He has probably never even planned anything to come against you.  We only face the lower levels of the dark forces; the rulers and authorities.

That’s why when you step up in ministry there’s a shift to a more intense battle.  You find yourself moving up the ranks and facing tougher opponents in the spirit.

That’s also why I started this series.  In one of the first posts, I said that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years.  Here’s what I meant.  In all that time there’s been no organized attack by the church on the territory of the enemy, especially in the USA.

It’s time for the church to wake up.  Not just a few local congregations here and there who are making a little headway.

We need a revival.

Question: What needs to take place for the church as a whole to wake up?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2019 in Revival, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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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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Spiritual Bootcamp – Strength for the Battle

I’ve been posting about the spiritual battles that we find ourselves in.  We need to be prepared for them.  We’re going to face hardships whether we’re ready or not.

It’s unfortunate that many Christians wait until they’re in the middle of a spiritual firefight to learn how to be victorious.  You can’t wait for a fight and download the Karate program.  It doesn’t work like that.

How do we prepare for the challenges ahead?  The same way a soldier does.  Bootcamp consists of two aspects – knowledge and work.

For us, it’s knowledge of the Scripture and God’s voice.  Then we have to work at implementing what we know to do.

You may be thinking, “That’s not an easy thing to do.”  You’re right.  In most cases, it turns out to be beyond our ability.  But that’s why understanding the spiritual battle is so important.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10

I’m glad that we’re not told to psych ourselves up and power our way through the challenges.  I don’t want to have to rely on my willpower.  I’ve got an advantage that the world doesn’t have.

I’m told to be strong in the Lord.  Sometimes this goes against our nature.  We want the ability to brag about our accomplishments.  We want to say that our intelligence or strength was what it took to overcome the obstacles before us.

That’s why so often we make our plans then ask God to bless them.  Wouldn’t we be much better off if we asked the Lord for His plan right at the start?

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.  If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.
1 Peter 4:11

The fact is that it’s not about my glory, but His.  If I were able to lay hold of my own destiny, why would I need Christ?  The work before me is too much for me by myself.

When we finally learn to admit this truth, life gets so much more enjoyable.  Not that I can sit back and let God do all the work, but I know He’s there to cover my weaknesses.  I don’t have to worry about whether I can handle the problem or not.

If I’ll draw on His strength and listen to the Holy Spirit, then there’s nothing that can stop me.  We need to rest in God’s ability and not our own.

For a few posts, I’ll be going through the section of Ephesians, chapter 6, which talks about the armor of God.  The Apostle Paul understands what it takes to walk in victory.  We need to apply these principles to our lives.

We know that we’re going to face struggles.  The time to prepare is now.  Don’t let life take you by surprise and knock you down.  Do what it takes to get yourself ready for the road ahead.

Question: What are you going through right now that’s too big for you to handle?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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