Saturday, February 18, 2017

S.T.A.N.D. On Who You Are in Christ: Spiritual Warfare III

Every week or so, we are going to explore spiritual warfare.  Join me on this journey!
Here are some familiar verses.  How do they fit in to the notion of S.T.A.N.D. (Spiritually Trained And Not Defeated)?  Everything!

3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Eph. 1:3-11)

hese verses summarize who we are in Christ.  Putting on the “whole armor of God” is accepting this identity and surrounding yourself with it.  When your enemy comes, he sees your armor, which is really God’s.  You are immediately identified as a soldier in God’s army.  That makes you a tempting target for Satan.  Without the armor of God on you, you don’t stand a chance.  Satan has never fought fair, and because his days are numbered, he isn’t going to start now.

Verse 3:  You are blessed and dressed because you confess that Christ is Lord.  You now possess “all spiritual blessings.”  Thus, you have a dual citizenship:  You possess all that God has for you in the heavenly realms, but you still walk on this planet.  You are encased in His armor, but underneath you are still in a physical body.  Point?  Don’t take off God’s armor.  To maintain your position in Him, stay arrayed.  Stay in Christ.  Pray, walk and talk with Him. A soldier out of uniform looks no different than a civilian.  A Christian out of armor looks no different than a non-believer.  We know how Satan treats his own.  Don’t look like one of his own.  You are emphatically not when you are in Christ.  So, look that way!

Verse 4:  You are one of His chosen.  God loves you and chose you.  Why?  Ask Him, and He will open His hands and show you His scars: "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands…"
(Is. 49:16) There was nothing you did or said that made Him call you.  There is nothing you can do or say that can make Him let you go.  You are His.  You are holy.  That means you have been set aside for His special use.  You have purpose.  You are without blame.  Why?  Your sins have been washed away by the blood of Christ.  You are clean in His eyes.  He sees you standing in Christ. His Son’s sacrifice is your new life.  You now live as His child.   

Verse 5:  God signed your adoption papers long before the universe was set in motion.  His signature was written in Christ’s blood.  You are Christ’s; you weren’t adopted only to be abandoned.  His will for you to be His gives Him great delight.  He has always been thinking about you.  He will never stop thinking about you.

Verse 6:  His grace shows you He loves you without measure.  His grace is glorious because He is.  He offers Himself to you for no other reason than He loves you.  God sees you standing in His beloved Son.  He loves His Son with an unfathomable love; because you too stand in Him, He loves you equally as much.

Verse 7:  His grace alone—not who you are, what you are doing, or what you have done—is what saves you, forgives you and enables you to walk tall in Him, richly arrayed in the finest armor possible: His Son’s blood.  Where God sees blood, you see a garment white as snow:
These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev. 7:14)

Verse 8:  Jesus is all we need: "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption…" (1 Cor. 1:30) Know Jesus, know Wisdom, for wisdom is not what you obtain, it is Who you know. Righteousness is also Who You know.  You are now in a position to know Him:  He has redeemed you and set you aside for holy use and to fill you with Himself.  It is only by  knowing Him that you will be able to navigate life.

Verse 9:  If you are arrayed in His armor, that is His will:  to be His, fighting the good fight and resting solely on His power and provision.

Verse 10:  We are a gathered people.  First, we are gathered in Him.  Secondly, we are gathered with each other in Him.  We are an army.  We are a body of people set aside to enact His will on this planet:  that all should come to know Him and walk in Him. We are His Body animated by love, for God is love.  His love, embodied in His Son, reached out and died for us.  We must also act in that kind of love.

Verse 11:  We have received an inheritance, which makes us heirs.  We are His family.  Only a family member can be designated as an heir: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Rom. 8:14-17) You have purpose and a calling, which He saw in you long before you were even born.  You are precious to Him.

Verse 12:  Our trusting in Him is the greatest gift we give back to Him.  He gives Himself as the greatest gift to us. Thus, who are we?  We are the children of God, whom He long ago sought out and pursued with love; we are arrayed in white and shine with our praises which brings Him glory. 
Point to His armor lovingly encasing you and say to the enemy, “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine!”

Excerpted from S.T.A.N.D. Spiritually Trained And Not Defeated: Our Position in Christ, Our Mission in Christ A Handbook on Spiritual Warfare.  Buy it on Amazon.

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