'A Year with Jesus' for 10/24/2014
Head-to-Toe in the Full Armor of God
Note from Jesus
Dear Faithful Follower,
Some of your churches are really good at drawing a big audience. Unfortunately, not many large or small churches appear to be raising up much of an army even though it's a war out there. I've got the marks on My body to prove it. Hell has a way of insidiously seeping into politics, government, religion, and personal relationships. When it does, well then "it's hell on earth"... literally. Look at the book of Revelation in your Bible and you will see war. War in heaven. War on earth. War with religion. War with government. War with false teaching. War with weakness. War that has casualties and cost.
That's why I need real followers. I don't need Twitter® followers or Facebook® friends. I'm looking for genuine disciple followers. I'm looking for friends who won't run out on you even when hell breaks loose against you. That's why I've never been very excited just to get a big audience. If you don't believe me, go ask those 5,000-plus folks I fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish and who wanted a sardine-sandwich Messiah (John 6:1-29). When I wouldn't be their kind of Messiah, these "followers" flaked out on Me (John 6:41-71). My audience dropped to way below 5,000 pretty quickly!
Paul got it. He knew it was war. He had smelled the breath of hell's fury in the form of religious haters and government lackeys. He had lost to people he loved to hell's fury — people into whom he had poured his heart, his hopes, and his time. He also knew faithful friends who were so committed to My cause and his mission that they voluntarily shared his imprisonments and shipwrecks. Paul knew the difference between an audience and an army! His army was willing to pay the price to prepare for the battle, to stand alongside him in the battle, and to give their lives with him in battle if it was required.
Why? Why would they pay such a high price? Why would they take such risks to share Paul's worst moments? Simple. They were called to be part of the army. They never considered settling for being Paul's Twitter® followers or Facebook® friends — they enlisted in the army to fight a war.
Read Paul's words in the verses below. He wrote them to the brothers and sisters in Ephesus along with other believers throughout Asia Minor. He was preparing them for spiritual warfare. More specifically, he was telling them to prepare themselves for the warfare that had already begun.
They lived in the place where religions collided in the Roman Empire. Wealth and power came with many of those religions. Superstition and black magic went with others. Dark clouds were gathering on the horizon and would flower into the Emperor cult in Asia Minor — a pseudo-religion that thrived in the same cities that received Paul's words about spiritual warfare. This force would propel the persecution of My followers and would lead to the Revelation that John received and recorded. Paul wasn't looking for just an audience; he was trying to awaken an army.
Today, as you read Paul's words, please know that the Holy Spirit is working to use these same words of Paul to awaken an army in your day. I don't want just more audience; I'm looking for a committed army. I don't need more Twitter® followers; I need more disciples. I don't need Facebook® friends; I'm looking for real friends. I am looking for friends who do what I ask them to do even if they don't get all I am about in the world right now (John 15:9-15)!
It's a war out there. Follow Me. But don't come unprepared. Pick up the weapons and the armor that win the war and be ready — because it's a war out there.
Verses to Live
Paul's words about those who see you as their enemies are powerfully descriptive and one hundred percent true. You don't need to be afraid though; you just need to be prepared for the battle. Your ultimate victory is assured.
Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. We're not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.
And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. Yes, stand — truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. Don't forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God's people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed. And please pray for me. Pray that truth will be with me before I even open my mouth. Ask the Spirit to guide me while I boldly defend the mystery that is the good news — for which I am an ambassador in chains — so pray that I can bravely pronounce the truth, as I should do.
Response in Prayer
Father, forgive me for not praying with the urgency with which I would have prayed if I had fully recognized the spiritual warfare in my city, at my doorstep, and over the throne of my heart. Please bless all who lovingly and courageously share Your truth in dangerous places. Give them supernatural strength to stand. Deliver them from harm's way. And for us who complain about life in churchland because things aren't going quite the way we would like, forgive us... awaken us... move us from just being in the audience to being part of Your army on a mission. I ask for my own courage and strength in Jesus' name. Amen.
For more information about this devotional as well as archives of the material please visit the 'A Year with Jesus' website.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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