The Counterfeit Helmet - PRIDE

This week we will look at the counterfeit helmet. In Ephesians 6 we are instructed to put on our head a helmet of salvation. Ephesians 2:9 reminds us that our salvation is not because of works lest any man should boast or be proud. Our salvation is a free gift because of God's grace. So, what does Satan want us to wear on our head? You guessed it, a helmet of pride. It just fits doesn't it? Unfortunately it does. I believe this piece of counterfeit armor is Satan's crowning glory and it is no accident that it is worn right on top of our head. Why is pride so dangerous? Because it is a heart condition that molds a mindset. Pride will affect the way you think, the way you make decisions, and the way you feel. Think about it. What gets the biggest emotional response from you? What makes you the angriest? the most annoyed? hot under the collar? What motivates you to gossip? What embarasses you? intimidates you? humiliates you? I believe if you will search your heart on these issues you will find some pride lurking. When someone speaks against your family how do you respond? When a juicy piece of gossip lands in your lap, what do you do with it? Anger, jealousy, gossip, bitterness, revenge, self-pity, conceit, vanity, slander, self-justification, defensiveness - all of these things grow on the tree of pride. The fruit of pride is poison - that's why Satan revels in it. Here is how C.S. Lewis put it, "The essential vice, the utmost evil is pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison. It was through pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice; it is the complete anti-God state of mind." That is why pride is such a huge issue with God. It goes completely against everything that He represents. Every sin can find its root in evil pride. Every sinner who refuses to confess and repent chooses to do so out of pride. Usually pride is hardest to see in ourselves - it is every person's blind spot. What we can see so easily in someone else, we are somehow blind to in our own life. It is time to do some serious soul searching for ourselves and stop trying to "fix" everyone else. I heard a TV preacher put it this way. "The problem is not out the window, it's in the mirror." Pride in our heart leads to pride in our mind, which leads to pride in the way we talk and walk this Christian life. Philippians 2 reminds us "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he HUMBLED Himself...." The cure for pride is humility, and humility is found on our knees. While pride stands tall, humility knows to fall. Proverbs 11:2 tells us, "When pride comes then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." If there was ever a time when God's people needed wisdom it is now, but Ezekiel 28 tells us that pride corrupts wisdom. Pride is that molded piece of fruit that sits in the fruit basket and slowly but surely contaminates and rots everything else. God's Word has so much to say on this issue, and I encourage you to do some searching and reading. Get God's perspective on selfish pride and let His word begin to renew your mind so that the proud mindset can be overcome by the mindset of Christ. I encourage you to read Philippians 2:1-15 everyday and then be a doer of the word not a hearer only. Then and only then will you be able to put off the helmet of pride and put on a helmet of salvation!


The Counterfeit Shield

In addition to all this, take up the sheild of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
We have looked at Satan's counterfeit belt, breastplate, and shoes and now we are at another important piece of armor - the shield of faith. So what is Satan's counterfeit shield? A shield of fear. I believe that Satan would rather us cower under a shield of fear than stand firm with a shield of faith. Specifically Satan wants us to focus on self-preservation rather than faith. Self-preservation is defined as "preservation of oneself from danger, injury, or death, the urge to preserve oneself, regarded as an instinct." Self-preservation is instinctual. When we encounter things to be afraid of our first instinct is to protect ourselves. In the spiritual sense, self-preservation can keep us from stepping out into our destiny. In Beth Moore's study of Esther, she says this, "We can protect ourselves right out of our calling." Isn't that what Satan wants? YES! To accomplish that goal, he will tempt us to take up a shield of self-preservation rather than a shield of faith. Does Scripture back this up? Absolutely. You don't have to look any further than Numbers 13 & 14. The children of Israel have been delivered out of slavery. God has performed miracles in order to bring them into the land He promised to give them. Camping right at the edge of Canaan, Moses sent in twelve spies to scout out the land. Ten of those spies came back with the report that while the land was indeed flowing with milk and honey it was also filled with powerful people, fortified walls, and strong cities. Because of their evil report, the people were afraid to go forward and enter the Promised Land even though God had promised it to them. In Numbers 14:33 God tells them, "Your children will be shepherds here for forty years, suffering for your unfaithfulness, until the last of your bodies lies in the desert." An entire nation of people protected themselves right out of their calling because they feared their enemy more than they believed their God. They never got to experience all that God had for them because they chose self-preservation over faith. Are you doing the same thing? Do you look around and see so much to fear that you step back, cower down, and doubt? Is self-preservation more important to you than your God-ordained destiny? Is protecting your image, your ego, and your feelings worth missing out on your calling? God forbid. Self-preservation leads to isolation, discouragement, and depression.
2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that "we live by faith not by sight." Fear says, "we live by sight, not by faith." The enemy is cunning and he knows that all your attempts at self-preservation are in vain. When the battle rages the shield of fear is easily penetrated. I Peter 5:9 says, "Resist him (the devil) steadfast in the faith." Your first line of defense against the flaming arrows of the evil one is your faith. Don't just read God's Word, believe God's Word. When the enemy comes in like a flood with his arrows of doubt, fear, worry, and deafeat, you can raise up the shield of faith and extinguish each and every one. Isaiah 7:9 says, "...if you do not stand firm in the faith, you will not stand at all." Your calling is waiting - don't back down in fear, but stand firm in faith and be all that God has ordained you to be.


Shoes of Peace

Last week we talked about putting on the shoes of peace and how Satan's counterfeit shoes are preoccupation. (See earlier post if you missed it.) Today, I want to give you some Scriptural encouragement to help you keep your peace in the midst of a world of troubles and trials.

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you: not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
1 Peter 1:2

I just have to share this devotion by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest because he says it so beautifully. Enjoy!!
"Are you painfully disturbed just now, distracted by the waves and billows of God's providential permission, and having, as it were, turned over the boulders of your belief, are you still finding no well of peace or joy or comfort; is all barren? Then look up and receive the undisturbedness of the Lord Jesus. Reflected peace is the proof that you are right with God because you are at liberty to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. If you allow anything to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you, you are either disturbed or you have a false security. Are you looking unto Jesus now, in the immediate matter that is pressing and receiving from Him peace? If so, He will be a gracious benediction of peace in and through you. But if you try to worry it out, you obliterate Him and deserve all you get. We get disturbed because we have not been considering Him. When one confers with Jesus Christ the perplexity goes, because he has no perplexity, and our only concern is to abide in Him. Lay it all out before Him, and in the face of difficulty, bereavement, and sorrow, hear Him say, "Let not your heart be troubled."


The Counterfeit Armor - Part III

The third piece of armor that Paul instructs us to put on is shoes of peace. Why do we put on shoes? Because we are going somewhere. As Christians we must walk our faith out everyday, so Satan will try to keep us from walking the path of peace by occupying our time with other things. That's Satan's counterfeit shoes - preoccupation. When I looked up the word preoccupation in the dictionary here is what I found, "completely engrossed in thought; absorbed; previously occupied; taken; filled." The enemy wants to keep you engrossed in thought and absorbed in things other than the will of the Father. He wants to fill your day, your thoughts, your attitude with his thoughts and attitudes. Think about that definition, "previously occupied" he wants to get you distracted with the routine and the mundane before you fill up with the word of God. If he can start you on the path of preoccupation at the beginning of your day, he knows he is well on his way to stealing your peace before the day is over. Psalms 119:165 says, "Great peace have they who love your law and nothing can make them stumble." I just love that verse. It gives me hope that if I keep myself immersed in the word of God and OBEY it then nothing can make me stumble. If we love the word of God then we will want to obey it and when we obey it we will have great peace. I am convinced that most Christians have Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder. For some reason we cannot keep our focus fixed on Christ. We tend to burn hot or cold according to our circumstances and feelings. That is not the path to peace. Scripture tells us that a double-minded (wo)man is unstable in all her ways, so it stands to reason that we won't be able to walk the path of peace with regularity when we are constantly diverting our attention away from Christ. Many things can set us on a path of preoccupation - our job, our family, our struggles, our finances, our circumstances, but ONE thing will keep us on the path of peace - fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Ephesians 2:14 says, "for He (Jesus) Himself is our peace." Peace is attainable in this crazy world! It's attainable through a person - Jesus. As He increases in your life so will your peace. The cure for spiritual ADD is the word of God. Remember Psalms 119:165. It's the key to not just peace but great peace. Could you use some great peace today? Then spend some time with the Prince of Peace reading his Word to you.