When Times are Uncertain — Stand Firm

In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to lose focus and be swayed by what seems expedient in the moment.  We’re stressed — we need to make a decision — we give in to worldly pressure even when we know it’s wrong.  That happened to King Saul in the book of 1 Samuel.  In chapter 13, Saul and his army are waiting for the priest, Samuel to arrive and offer a sacrifice to the Lord before going into battle.  Samuel did not arrive in the time expected;  the soldiers were getting restless;  the enemies had mustered;  Saul, in a panic makes the sacrifice himself.  He knew it wasn’t God’s will — but he did it anyway.  He didn’t know what might happen next, so he decided to take control of the situation himself.  In the end, he is punished by losing his kingship.

We’re all capable of making bad decisions like this.  It’s always hard to wait, and waiting when the situation seems volatile is even more difficult.  Those are the times when we need to take a breath, and stand firm.  Maybe that means waiting for God’s direction;  maybe it means doing what seems counterintuitive;  maybe it means going against the way of the world.  Here’s what Paul says in the book of Ephesians:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:10-12

Satan loves to make us uncertain.  He whispered lies in Eve’s ear (“Did God really say, you must not eat of any fruit in the garden?” Genesis 3:1) and he does the same to us.  He sows doubt.

Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17

For more on the armor of God see these posts:

The World, The Flesh and … oh yes, THE DEVIL

A New Suit of Clothes


A New Suit of Clothes

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away;  behold the new has come.” 1 Corinthians 5:17

According to Saint Paul, belief in Christ changes us. In a number of places, the Bible speaks of this change in terms of how we are clothed.  Before Christ’s atonement, even our righteous deeds are described by the prophet Isaiah as “a polluted garment”(Isaiah 64:6).  However, in Christ we are, “… clothed … with the garments of salvation;  … covered … with the robe of righteousness.”(Isaiah 61:10).  We actually “put on Christ”(Romans 13:14)  and stand before God in His suit, not ours.

In addition, our faith in Christ protects us with “the armor of God” which enables us to stand firm in the face of temptation.  You can read about it in Ephesians Chapter 6 verses 14-17.

“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God …”

It’s been said that clothes make the man (or woman).  God has changed you by giving you a whole new wardrobe.  You’re saved;  you’re justified; you’re protected. People will see you in a new way.. Wear that suit as if it makes a difference.


Tools of the Trade

Image result for images of the armor of godWhen it comes to obedience, Satan is our enemy.  His wiles were behind the very first instance of disobedience in the garden, and he continues to lead us astray today.  However God has given us tools to resist the devil.  In Chapter 6 of Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes these tools and calls them “the armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17)

When and how do we receive this armor?  I believe it comes with our baptism.  This is the day God claims us as His own, the day that we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14)  Only in Him do we become righteous and capable of true obedience.

Here’s what the Lutheran Catechism says about baptism:

“It (baptism) signifies that the old Adam in us, together will all sins and evil lusts, should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance and be put to death;  and that the new man should daily come forth and rise, to live before God in righteousness and holiness forever.”

This is based upon Romans 6: 4

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised form the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

So here’s the question Paul poses:

“How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:2)

You and I are new creations.  God gave us righteousness through Christ.  We have the armor of God.  Remembering this can help us to be obedient.