"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Eph 6:10-13).
Deception and condemnation are dangerous potholes in our walk of faith. Until the Last Day, the Devil will not stop trying to deceive us out of our reward. If the Devil cannot deceive us, he will try to burden us again with guilt and shame (condemnation), so that we will fall away. But his first tactic is deception, often through self-righteousness.
As we are going along the way, he will seek to introduce pride into our walk. This often starts by us looking at ourselves, and commending ourselves for how far we have come or how good we are. We set targets and goals for ourselves, which are right and good, but they can become the focus and not God. They can slowly take us out of the place of grace and reliance on God to self-reliance and self-righteousness. And we will grow distant from God and having forgotten our need for grace, we will become ungracious to others.
At this stage, deception is strong because, to all observers, we are righteous. We are good. We are right. But not with God, because our dependency is not on Him, and our joy is not in Him, but in ourselves. We are right where the Devil wants us, separated from God, where he can continue to feed us lies that look like truth, until we can't discern one from the other. At the worst, we are not only entrapped, but we make ourselves available to the Devil to entrap others, through our false witness (whether knowingly or unknowingly).
The narrow path we must walk is the path of righteousness, where our gaze is stayed on Jesus (the Author and Finisher of our Faith (Heb 12:2)) and Him alone... We need always to be mindful of and THIRSTING for the grace of God to be able to stay on this narrow path, without turning to the right or to the left. One of the most humbling truths we must meditate on is that our salvation is and was never our doing, but God's alone!
It was and is by His grace that we are saved (Eph 2:8-9). When we retain this knowledge, we will not fall for pride nor condemnation.
It was and is by His grace that we are saved (Eph 2:8-9). When we retain this knowledge, we will not fall for pride nor condemnation. We will continually, humbly look to Him to complete the good work He has begun in us, and surrender ourselves to be moulded and used in His hands and for His Kingdom.
So Paul taught us: "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness" (verse 14).
This is the truth; that without Christ, we can do nothing! Gird yourself with this truth. The breastplate of righteousness will keep you from condemnation, for it is a reminder that YOU ARE ALREADY RIGHTEOUS through the blood of Jesus Christ. You only need to put on Christ daily. When you lose sight of this truth, pride and condemnation can take hold.
"And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (verse 15).
Do the work of the Ministry. Preach the good news unto others, so that they too can be delivered from sin and condemnation. And it is refreshing and a joy to do His work and His will. Be found faithful in this vocation when He comes.
"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (verse 16).
Our greatest defense is indeed our faith. It is what caused us to know the truth and enter into His grace. This ability to hear and see, to trust and obey God is a gift from God to keep us and bring us into His Kingdom. Don't give it up by the cunning of wicked men, but use it rather to overcome!
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (verse 17).
There's an ongoing battle for the mind. Shield your mind with the helmet of salvation, which is your shield against deception. It protects and serves as a reminder of God's gracious love that you needed and need. Renew your mind each day with the Word of God, which is "...quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart..." (Heb 4:12). Use it to deliver others from bondage and cut asunder the arguments of deceivers.
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (verse 18).
When you have done all, remember to watch and pray (Matt 26:41; Luke 21:36). Do not be discouraged because of the abundance of evil, but know that as long as God lives in you, there is good in the world and there is hope for tomorrow. Be a light and spread this hope to others.
The Lord will soon come, and when He does, will He find faith in the world (Luke 18:8)? Let that be a "yes" where you are concerned! By His grace, it is a YES for me!
Next week's episode will wrap up the series! God bless you. Please share the blessing.