Thursday, August 15, 2013

Track 6 Devotional - Learning To Fight

Track 6 Devotional - Learning To Fight

About the Song and the Album
When we decided to name our new album “Learning to Fight” it was basically just a “cool idea.” However, in the time it took to get the album written and recorded, “Learning to Fight” became the story of how we had to fight to get this project off the ground.
Honestly, we probably came dangerously close to losing this ministry that God so richly blessed us with. One of our members had to face a life threatening illness, which put us in limbo for a while. We were faced with internal issues, which could have destroyed us. Some of us were dealing with serious personal struggles.
The devil has been fighting us from day one. Despite his efforts, “Learning to Fight” is finished and, in the name of Jesus, is about to give the devil a big fat black eye. The most important thing about learning to fight is learning that you can. The serpent has no dominion over us.
The song “Learning to Fight” is pretty personal to me. The devil definitely knows our weaknesses, and he certainly knew the best way he could get to me. Every time it felt like I was making progress in my relationship with Christ, the devil would attack with full force.
I’m sure many of you deal with this on a regular basis, just as I have. We can fight. We don’t have to take it. As I was growing up, my parents always taught me to stand up for myself. We are children of God, and as our heavenly father, he also wishes for us to stand up for ourselves.

Stand Strong
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his great power. Put on the full armor of God so that YOU CAN FIGHT against the devil’s evil tricks. Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.”
Ephesians 6:10-12 (NCV)
Okay, let’s break this down. The first part of the scripture says, “Be strong in the Lord and in his great power.” When it comes to spiritual warfare, we have to be strong in Christ. It all begins with Jesus. We can’t stand against the devil and his tricks on our own. We need Jesus. In Acts 19 we’re told a story of some people going into a spiritual battle a little unprepared….wait did I say a little. I meant A LOT.
“But some people also were traveling around and making evil spirits go out of people. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to force the evil spirits out. They would say, ‘By the same Jesus that Paul talks about, I order you to come out!’ Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest were doing this. But one time an evil spirit said to them, ‘I know Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them. Because he was so much stronger than all of them, they ran away from the house naked and hurt.” Acts 19:13-16
First of all, these guys weren’t followers of Christ. Notice that they said, “By the same Jesus that Paul talks about.” They didn’t claim Jesus as Lord. Instead they referred to Jesus as that guy that Paul preaches about. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be strong in the Lord. These guys were just hoping that throwing a big name out there was going to do something. Think of it like this, if someone much stronger than me was trying to pick a fight, saying Hulk Hogan’s name isn’t going to help me. However, if the Hulkster was my friend and was there with me, it would be a different story. For Jesus to help us during spiritual warfare, we must know him as Lord. Those guys in Acts 19 didn’t, and they got owned. We must STAND STRONG IN THE LORD.

The Enemy
The passage from Ephesians 6 also says to put on the full armor of God, which I’ll get to in a minute, but for now lets focus on that last part. Our fight is not against people on earth, but the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places. Here’s my twenty-first century translation for that passage, “My problem is not the punk that cut me off in traffic this morning, but the little devil on my shoulder that convinced me that it would be okay to flip the dude off.” In other words, other people are not our enemies, satan and his minions are.
In John 10:10 Jesus said, “A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” Jesus came to bring us life. However, there is opposition. The thief, satan, is determined to get in between us and that abundant life. If we let the devil have his way, he will steal, kill, and destroy that abundance. WE CAN FIGHT BACK, but how?

The Armor of God
“Stand therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.”
Ephesians 6:14-17(HCSB)

I absolutely love this scripture. I could write a whole book on this, so I’m going to try my best to keep it brief. The armor of God consists of, the belt of truth, chest plate of righteousness, shoes for the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. I believe with all my heart, that this passage of scripture is vital to every believer.
First, there is the belt of truth. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life.” Remember, it all begins with Jesus. He is the truth. The belt is the part of the armor that holds everything to together. Jesus is the central piece of God’s armor.
Next, there is the chest plate of righteousness. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” The chest plate is to protect your vital organs. In a spiritual sense, your heart is the source of your life. Only righteousness can protect our heart from corruption. Our righteousness is only possible through Christ. It’s all about Jesus.
Then the there is the shoes for the gospel of peace. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” As followers of Christ, we have been given a mission. Shoes are made for walking. “Gospel” means good news. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, so that there could be peace between God and man. As Christians, we should be ready to move in order to accomplish the mission at hand. Keep your eye on the objective. The objective is the gospel of Jesus.
Next, we have the shield of faith. The scripture says, “In EVERY situation, take up the shield of faith.” We live in a world at war. Attack is inevitable. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.  We must take up the shield of faith in every situation, because we never know when the evil one is going to attack. The shield is always a soldier’s first line of defense. Our first line of defense is our faith in Jesus.
The helmet of salvation protects our mind. Through the salvation that Jesus offers us, our minds can be set free from the lies the devil tries to convince us of. If you feel like you’re worthless and unloved, it’s not true. Jesus died for you. That is how much you are loved. You can’t be worthless, because to Jesus you’re worth dying for. In order to shield our minds, we must put on the helmet of salvation.
Lastly, there is the sword of the Spirit. This is our only offensive weapon, and it’s all we need. The scripture says that it is God’s word. That’s right, the B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the sword for me. The word of God is more powerful than all of the nukes in the world put together. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Jesus was the Word! In verse 14 John continues, “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.” Jesus is the Word of God, the Bible, in the flesh. The armor of God begins and ends with Jesus, because He is the Word, the Alpha and the Omega. He is God.
WE CAN FIGHT BACK! Jesus is the way. If you choose to follow Christ, you are a soldier in God’s army. Your objective is the Gospel of peace. Stand strong in the armor of God, which begins and ends with Jesus Christ. As a child of God, you are a threat to the devil, so LEARN TO FIGHT. Live Heroically.

Food For Thought

1. What was the last spiritual battle that you walked away from wounded? Why?

2. Boxers have strengths and weaknesses; what areas of your life stand in need of strengthening?

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