Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Armor of God | Faith

The armor of God has been a topic that has been difficult to get our minds wrapped around. What it is and how we put it on, has seemed to be a bit mysterious. So maybe by looking at the effect of the armor we can get a better understanding of how to put the armor on.

The effect of faith is destroying the works of Satan, the world and the flesh.

We previously looked at The Preparation of the Gospel of Peace, so let's take the next piece. We're leaving in, The Effect of Armor, section here for continuity.

The Effect of Armor

The most prominent place the armor of God is listed is in Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJVEach piece of armor has an effect. Since it is spiritual armor, and we are physically oriented, it can be difficult to understand what is happening when we have it on.

One of the things we know about armor is that once we are in the battle, we shouldn't have to think about the armor. It will passively protect us and we shouldn't have to give it another thought. We inspect, test and repair the armor on a regular basis and ensure it is fitted correctly on us.

Now, there are probably many effects that we can identify but this study is simply to start the process. For our purposes, we are focusing on one effect but be sure to seek out more. If you find more than what is listed here, please add them to the comment section below.

So, let's continue to look at the effect of each piece. Today we are tackling the Shield of Faith.

The Shield of Faith

Above all, taking the shield of faith... - Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV

The Shield of Faith has an effect. The effect is, destroying the works of Satan, the world and the flesh.

Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. - Ephesians 6:16 NKJV
For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. - 1 John 5:4 NLT
Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. ... For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, - Ephesians 2:3, 8 NKJV 

This piece of armor gives a clear description of what it does right away. To get an even more clear understanding of the Shield of Faith, let look at how faith works.

There are many ways to come at faith and there are some obstacles to understanding faith. We'll begin with a quick definition to help frame our thinking and overcome the first obstacle... a critical misunderstanding. Let's start with a solid, easy to understand definition.

Faith is the trust we have in someone 
based on what we know about their character.

God's Character

With this definition we naturally will want to look at God's character and attributes to determine if He is worthy of our trust. So what do we know about His Character?
He hears me.
He has made wonderful promises.
He keeps His promises.
He wants to keep His promises.
He is able to keep His promises.
He does not Lie
He does not change.

There are many more characteristics that describe the attributes and character of God. All of them tell a story of how God is eagerly attentive to every detail of our lives. He is not "too busy." He is not overwhelmed. He is not distracted and not just waiting for the big stuff. He is intimitially giving you 24/7 of His focus, love and attention.

The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade. ... The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. - Psalm 121:5, 8 NLT

The Process of Faith

We will look at a couple very interesting aspects of the process of faith. As we look at faith from as many sides as possible, a deep understand develops in our thinking.

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

Faith does not grow by hearing the Word of God. Ok, who's mad at me now? :-) Think about someone in church that knows a lot of scripture but hasn't changed a bit. That is because faith came when they received the Word but they did not obey... which takes us to the solution...

Faith grows through obedience.

Specifically, godly faith is action taken in obedience to God's commands. If we volunteer at church because we want to help, that isn't faith and there is no growth.

If we know and obey the command to consider our brothers and sisters better than ourselves and we respond to the scripture that tells us the greatest among us is the one who serves, then we are volunteering based on a command and not just because it's a nice thing to do. That is great faith. That is growing faith.

Now let's look at the, trust based on character, aspect.

Let's say I give my friend an assignment to take care of for me.

My faith in him is based on what I know about his character. If he has been a flake and is known to be irresponsible and unreliable, then my faith in him will be small. I don't trust him because of what I know about his character and reputation.

However, if he has completed complex assignments in multiple stressful situations and done them well, then my faith in him will be great. I trust him because of what I know about his character and reputation.

It's the same with our Lord and Savior. It's not, just believing that something can happen because God loves us. It's understanding that God's character, reputation and attributes, are worthy of trusting Him explicitly... and it doesn't take much for great things to happen.

And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to Him, "Yes, Lord." Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you." - Matthew 9:28-29 NKJV

When we do that, we have great faith in Him!

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Take Action!

How do grow in my faith? 

Discover God's character. Then learn to obey His commands. Your faith will surely grow.
  1. Make a list of God's character and attributes and let this list grow as you learn about Him.
  2. What command is on your heart? 
    • Learn about that command.
    • Is it Prayer? Service? Giving? Other?
    • Pick one and master it!
  3. Hold your obedience up in prayer.
    • Even if prayer isn't your focus, give your area of focus to the Lord.
  4. Connect with a fellow Christian and think through the aspects of the command.
    • Fellowship is great but discipleship is taking it to the next level.
    • Find a discipleship relationship.
    • Discover a new way of thinking. We are transformed by the renewing of our mind.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven's Armies will make this happen! - Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT

Helpful Hints

God reserves the timing of when He will do His work... and that's a very good thing, even if it doesn't match our urgency. If you're wondering what God is doing when you pray take a quick read of, Prerequisites: Building Fortitude.

Do not try to obey every command on day one. First, get understanding of a specific command and then grow into it. Become the expert!

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God... but it grows through obedience to the Word.

Here are additional resources to help develop your strategy: 

Please, add your thoughts in the comment section.

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Concept

“Our faith conquerors.”


In The Cool Zone concept. Think like Jesus thinks. Deliver the Gospel. Teach what you have learned.

In The Cool Zone and More Life in My Day are sister websites dedicated to discipleship. They work in tandem, providing the teaching and coaching for growing in the Lord and becoming effective in our walk with the Lord. 

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