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1. Analyze the enemy - we began this series getting to know Satan and his tactics.
2. Utilize our weaponry - we have now looked at each article of Christian armor.
3. Realize the victory - this happens in our text!
v. 18 Once we are all suited up in our armor, we must realize it's not about us and our skills or tools, but it's all about the Lord...the battle is the Lord's! This is not an excuse to not do our part and utilize the armor...we must work hard at it, like it's up to us, but with the underlying knowledge that it's all up to God!
A sword, a shield, a helmet and such are totally useless if we have no strength to fight with...and the Lord is our strength. We must rely on Him! The arm of flesh will fail us. I CANNOT do all things! Only thru Christ which strengtheneth me!
How old will I be when I finally master this? How many years must I be saved before I stop trying to live the life in my own strength? How many reminders do we need?
Dressing for success in the armor of the Lord is a daily occurrence, and so must be our reminders about where our strength comes from...so must be our battling in prayer a daily habit!
We need spiritual energy, strength, and power with which to fight.
ill.--Little David faced the giant without the armor...but with the Lord!
What good is the Sword in our hand if we don't have the spiritual strength to wield it?
Our feet can look good in the shoes of the gospel, but if we have no spiritual strength to walk the walk then it doesn't matter if we talk the talk. We are to run the race in those shoes, and that takes spiritual strength!
It's one thing to know you have Christ's righteousness found in the breastplate, but the real question is, does anyone else know you have it? They won't if you don't live it...and it takes spiritual strength to live it out loud!
Same thing with the girdle of truth. Knowing and doing are two different things. We know a lot of truth, but do we walk in truth, do we share truth? Not without God's hand helping us!
What good is the helmet of salvation if the noggin inside it isn't actively thinking, or is asleep? Having the mind of Christ takes real discipline that I don't have...I must pray for that kind of power.
Prayer is where we get the strength to fight! The armor is shiny, but it's an empty coat of mail that can only be filled with spiritual strength from the Lord!
Oh that we would put even 5% of the effort that we put into trying to make things happen into praying for things to happen!
In Exodus 17 Joshua and the army is at war with Amalek. Joshua is in the valley with a sword, and Moses is up on the mountain above, interceding in prayer. Both were important, but which was most important? Both are necessary...but which is most necessary?
ill.--prayerlessness is the 'umbrella sin' under which all my other sins stay dry and cozy.
It's really difficult to continue in a sinful habit that I regularly talk to God about! It's not too often that I will fall into a deception of Satan when I'm walking and talking with the Lord! And as for the temptation to do things in my own strength -- why would I do that if I'm daily proving that there's a better way...to pray first, and then work. Pray first, and then serve. Pray first, and then preach. Pray first, and then make a decision.
"Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees."
Prayer not only gives us the energy with which to fight, but it is also the means of communication with our Commander in Heaven. And communications with Central Command is vital in winning a battle.
ill.--the Christian life is much like a football game, because we need armor in this life, and we face a formidable foe, and we are at war. Football is just controlled violence!
The coach isn't in the game, but is vital to it. If he is cut out of the loop, the result will be chaos...but he also needs a leader on the field. He needs someone he can trust. He needs to relay messages back and forth, he needs signals.
Today we get to the line and call a lot of 'audibles,' which is cutting out the coach. How much success will we have in life if we bench our coach?
Communication is vital in the game of life!
In war, if we can undermine communications or knock them out, we can win the victory.