The Sword of the Spirit

The final piece of armor that Paul admonishes us to use in Ephesians 6 is the "sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God". The sword is the only offensive weapon in our arsenal, so what is Satan's counterfeit sword? A sword of the flesh - or to be more specific - cutting, biting words that do not proceed from the mouth of God. Scripture warns us many times that the tongue is a powerful weapon. It is described as a fire, a deadly arrow, a world of evil, untameable, and full of deadly poison. It is my belief that we can do the greatest good or the greatest damage to the body of Christ with the words that we say. Remember the counterfeit armor is also the default armor - it is all about human nature. The armor of God, on the other hand, is all about the divine nature. Speaking out of line, complaining, grumbling, blaming - it all comes easy to the natural, sinful man. Choosing to guard our mouth and our words is choosing the divine nature over human nature. Our words can encourage or discourage, diffuse trouble or stir it up, promote kindness or promote gossip, bring life or bring death. Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Satan knows that our words have power - they can bring life to those who hear them or death. How did Jesus always answer the enemy during the temptation? With the word of God. He knew that the only offensive weapon he had to defeat his enemy was every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Jesus did not use his words to agree with Satan, to debate him, or to try to outwit him. He simply answered every temptation with Scripture. We are told in James that the tongue cannot be tamed, but don't lose heart, we can make progress in this area! We cannot tame our own tongue, we must let God and His Spirit do it in us and through us. When we surrender our mouth to God and His leading, we will probably find that we will speak less. Proverbs 10:19, Proverbs 17:28, and James 1:19 all speak to this issue. I encourage you to spend some time meditating on what these Scriptures teach us. It is time to become women of the WORD and not women of the world. The only sword we should brandish is the word of God - not the cutting words of our own mouth. It is time to build up and encourage others with our words and not mince them into tiny pieces. As Christians we must stop riding the fence on this issue. We cannot talk "spiritual" on Sunday and Wednesday and then talk like the world the rest of the week. In I Timothy Paul warns Timothy to turn away from godless chatter. In our world today, we hear a lot of godless chatter. Profanity, gossip, sarcasm, flattery are just a few examples. As Christians, we should be set apart and the words that come out of our mouths should sound and be different from the world. Our own biting words will come back to bite us - of that you can be sure. It's why your enemy wants to keep you speaking words of death, discouragement, and deception to yourself and those around you because He knows you will eat the fruit of your own words. Be careful what you say to others, about others, and around others. People are watching, your enemy is prowling, and never forget, God is listening. May your heart's cry be the cry of the Psalmist in Psalms 19:14, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."


The Eyes of Pride

We have been talking for a couple of weeks about pride and how it is the counterfeit helmet. Today, we want to look at a specific body part - the eyes and how pride displays itself in the eyes of individuals. Scripture has a name for this type of pride - haughtiness. Haughtiness is pride at its maximum potential. The dictionary defines it as "disdainfully proud and scornfully arrogant". Those are strong words and they illicit a strong response from a holy God. In Proverbs 6, we are given a list of things that God hates. Do you know what tops the list? Haughty Eyes. The King James Version calls it a proud look. We have already said that pride is the root of all sin; it is the ultimate anti-God state of mind. Pride shows itself through our actions but also through our eyes. Haughty eyes look down on others. Haughty eyes rejoice in others failures. Haughty eyes laugh at other's weakness. Haughty eyes don't see their own faults, but zero in on the faults of others. Haughty eyes consider themselves above certain sins. They are spiritually blind, and yet they seek to be spiritually superior. Our eyes are intricate, complex organs. The pupil of the eye can actually reflect your like or dislike for something or someone. The pupil will enlarge when you see something desirable. On the other hand, it will shrink when you see something that disgusts you. Our responses and reactions can often be seen in our eyes. Matthew 6 says that the eye is the lamp of the body. If the eye is full of light then the whole body is also full of light. However, if the eye is dark, then the whole body is full of darkness. Whenever we choose to cooperate with darkness our eyes reflect that darkness, BUT, praise God that when we choose to cooperate with the LIGHT (Jesus) our eyes reflect that light. There is an old saying that says the eyes are the mirror of the soul. There is much truth in that quote. What are your eyes reflecting? Can others see Jesus when they look into your eyes or do they see skepticism, judgment, and blame? Every time that we choose our will above God's will we are reflecting the kingdom of darkness and we are putting on the counterfeit helmet of pride. The eyes of pride focus on self while the eyes of humility focus on Christ. It really does all come down to where we fix our focus. When we fix our focus on Christ, we are choosing to put on a helmet of salvation and we are free to fight the good fight of faith without hindrance. When we fix our focus on ourselves, we are blind to what God wants to do in and through our lives. If you need some help fixing your focus, then read & meditate on the following Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 4:18, Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 12:2. The cure for haughty eyes can be found in God's Holy Word.


The Humble Heart of a Servant

Jesus the humble servant has so much to teach us and I don't know about you but I have so much to learn. I just want to share with you today this passage from Scripture and remind you that the King of all creation left His throne in heaven so that He might serve. How quickly we forget that it's not all about us. How often we have to be reminded that it's all about Him.
It was just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the FULL EXTENT OF HIS LOVE. The evening meal was being served and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel arond his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:1-5)
Can you even imagine? Jesus, the Lord of Lords, the very Son of God down on his hands and knees washing the dusty, dirty feet of those who would run away, betray, and deny Him. Such humility is beyond my comprehension. What an example we have been left from One who wasn't afraid to show the full extent of his love. Those words just pierce my heart. I would think that he showed the full extent of his love on the cross and He most certainly did, but Scripture makes a point to put that phrase in this Scripture passage. Out of the deepest well of love imaginable Jesus dipped fresh water to wash the feet of those closest to Him. I believe that they never forgot that moment - the moment Jesus knelt before them and quietly washed and tenderly dried their feet. Later in that same passage, Jesus says, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done." Jesus may not tell you to literally wash the feet of those around you (however, if he does please obey), but you can figuratively wash other's feet by praying for them or just listening to them. Ask God today to help you develop that kind of humility. Humility like that cannot be manufactured on your own, it is found in the heart of a servant - it's the heart of THE servant, Jesus, and it is a heart that will love without limits. Isn't that what our world is dying to find? Someone who will love in spite of betrayal, denial, and rejection. Someone who will follow the example of Jesus and truly love not in word only but in deed. That kind of love has no pride. That kind of love will humble itself and serve no matter the consequences. I encourage you to follow Jesus' example today. Find someone and wash her feet with kindness, gentleness, meekness, I think you get the picture. Not only will you bless others, but you will be blessed. It's a promise. Jesus himself says so. At the end of this very portion of Scripture Jesus says, "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." (John 13:17) AMEN.