Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kung Fu Fighting - Our Defenses

Kung Fu Fighting
Our Defenses

Too often we feel defenseless. Too often we cower at the feet of the enemy and resign ourselves to the position of the victim. Too often we are just ignorant of the defenses God designed specifically for us to use. He has prepared an arsenal of defense weapons that cannot fail us. The weapons of our warfare are not for God to use for us, they are for us to use against our common enemy.
Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shall be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
We act unwisely when we ignore the rule book for any game. Rule books are filled with not only the rules of the game, but also the benefits of playing the game correctly. Rule books allow us to see the easiest way to accomplish getting from point A to point B, as well as options to pick up as many winning points along the way as possible and strategies to prevent our opponents from triumphing over us or taking away from our winnings. Thinking of a popular board game such as Parcheesi, you can easily see how you would lose your place on the board if you didn’t know your opponents can boot you back to your starting place. But by planning strategies based on the rules, it’s easier for you to make it around the board and safely home. If you choose not to pay attention to the game and move carelessly around the board, an opponent playing to win will easily defeat you.
Our game is actually not a game at all, but the most costly adventures of life and death. The rule book is all the more important. But, sadly, too often we ignore it, or choose to try to win life without knowing much at all about the Way to get there. We cannot just depend solely on what others tell us. Remember the old game called Gossip? How quickly a message can be altered before it gets to you!
If thinking of the Bible as a book of rules turns you off, think of it as a book of possibilities and benefits you can’t afford to ignore. A wise old woman once told me a story about a young couple who traveled to another country for a vacation. A rule, or “possibility” for entering this country was that any one wearing red shoes when crossing the border was given $500 to spend in the country however they chose. The young couple thought they knew enough about traveling to enjoy their vacation without reading any materials they were given about this obscure vacation area. Upon entering the country, they were thrilled to see cash being given out to all the people who entered just before them, hearing the excited exclamations of their fellow travelers. With anticipation, they had their passports stamped, but proceeded without receiving any money at all. They weren’t disappointed, no, they were angry. Why were all the other vacationing travelers getting something they weren’t? Much to their frustration, they soon learned that had they read the materials they were given, and worn red shoes across the border, they too would have an extra $500 to enjoy spending for little to no effort on their part.
Too often we find ourselves wondering why we didn’t get the bonus. But just as in the case of the young vacationers, it’s our fault. Not because we’re bad people, but like the young couple, we haven’t read the information we were given. Not only did the couple not wear red shoes across the border, they didn’t even know they’d receive a bonus if they did. In our own lives, there are blessings that God wants to pour out on us, but we’re “not wearing the red shoes.” I don’t know any more about the young couple, but perhaps the information they were given would also have warned them about predators in the country or traps and pit falls that were commonly found where vacationers frequent there. Perhaps they’d have learned of ways to protect themselves from those who would take advantage of them and their foreign ways. Maybe they’d even end up in jail for breaking a silly law they were unaware of, paying the penalty for not knowing.
Is that what we Christians are doing? Are we paying or suffering simply for not knowing, lack of knowledge? The knowledge is there. God hasn’t cruelly left us in this world without defenses. He has lovingly provided us with everything we need and more. He grieves as He watches us put ourselves through torment, needlessly. He saves the tears we cry as we go through situations without His readily accessible help. He reaches out to us as we turn away from Him. That’s the price we both pay because He has allowed us to choose. He hasn’t forced His Way on any of us, but allows us to choose which way we will go, or how we will use what He’s given us to finish the race.
Our weapons are not of this world. They are supernatural and more powerful than even fiction writers can put to paper. In your own time with God, private or with friends, explore our arsenal.
Some of the things satan sends to beat us down are things we chalk up to everyday things that everyone goes through. But we can defeat them. Things like depression, and anger, bitterness, jealously and resentment. We can defeat the big things too, like disease and even death. You wouldn’t take your toddler into a busy place and just leave them there to fend for themselves. Neither would our Heavenly Father.
Look through the Bible for your own weaponry. Do words searches. Some of our weapons and defenses include the armor of God described in Ephesians 6:10-18, which includes the shield of faith, the sword of the Word, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, sandals of peace and good news - complete covering.
Prayer (1 Kings 9:3) and fasting (Matthew 6:17-18) are limitless treasures of strength and dignity for the battle.
Submission as used in James 4:6-7 is particularly powerful. When I submit to God, I'm crawling under the covers with Him, I'm safe, I've knowingly and willingly placed myself under His authority and rule, as well as His protection.
Submit: 1. To give in to the authority, power, or desires of another. 2. To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.
Our strongest defense is a great offense-don’t perish for lack of knowledge that’s already freely been given to you.
Scripture References

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God,I also will ignore your children.

The Armor of God
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

1 Kings 9:3 The LORD said to him: "I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there."

Matthew 6:17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Wherefore He says, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 comment:

  1. Right on, Helen. Loved the picture of "knowing the rules."