The word of God is the steadfast truth that has stood the test of time. The ancient words still ring true with the power of God’s love and goodness towards us after all these years. There is no situation, no day, no trouble that does not change when the truth of God’s word is released upon it.
Hebrews 5:14 says Solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have trained their senses to discern good and evil. To wield the truth of the word of God as a weapon and a powerful instrument requires dedicated practice in not only feeding on God’s word but also in allowing it to impact your senses i.e. your perception and thoughts. Practice speaking it over your adversities, over the stagnant areas of life. When situations try to tell you of your defeat convince your situation with the scriptures.
We are a favoured people. We live in the grace of God with the joy of salvation in our hearts. We have been made righteous in Christ and Psalms 5:12 says that the Lord surely will bless the righteous and surround them with the shield of favour. How blessed are we to be surrounded and shielded by the favour of the Almighty God!
This is the year for us to walk in the revelation of the truth of God’s word and in the realization of His unending favour over our lives. Isaiah 61 says that the Spirit of God declared favourable year of the Lord over the Israelites. The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. And instead of humiliation, they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion of their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs.
We who have been made righteous, adopted into the family of God through Christ and gifted with the infilling of the Holy Spirit have been called to live in the favourable year of God always. Let’s enjoy the months ahead and train our senses to perceive the favour of God upon our lives as we walk victoriously together with Christ
The armor of God is described by Paul in Ephesians 6 as the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet of peace, shield of faith, sword of the Spirit and the helmet of salvation. Salvation is described in terms of a helmet because knowing who has saved us, how He preserved and keeps us is crucial to protect the mind of the battle ready warrior that each of us is. The helmet of salvation is the protective gear and mind set, that defeats death and brings life to any situation that stands lifeless. Our salvation has been sealed and guaranteed by God, through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). When the enemy attacks our minds with his barrage of blows such as fear, lies, disappointment, discouragement, anxiety and deceit, the revelation of this great salvation will sustain us.
In 2 Kings 4:18-37, we find the story of the once barren Shunamite woman whose kindness to Elisha the prophet helped her find favour with God and be blessed with a son. As the child grew, he went out to the field to harvest with his father. But the story turns sordid as the child shouts “my head, my head” and soon dies in his mother’s lap. Even as her son’s corpse lay on Prophet Elisah’s bed in the upper room, she prepared for him, the woman holds herself together and says “it is well”. When you wear the helmet of salvation, even as your heart breaks and all the hope you had for tomorrow lies cold and dead, your mind will not get dragged under the current. Her response to death was to seek out Elisah and pour out her complaint and insist on the seemingly impossible outcome – resurrection.
Elisha goes to the dead lad, spreads himself over the child, eyes over eyes, mouth over mouth, hands over hands and God brings the child to life. Elisha is the shadow of what Christ did for us. He stretched himself on the cross, covering us completely in Him, taking on each blow, beating and nail in our stead and breathed resurrection power into our dead selves. The bible says as He is, so are we (1 John 4:17). We, the saved, carry Christ in us and carry out the works He began in this world. So go out there to those dead bodies, the dead areas, the dead ends and breathe the resurrection life over it. Breathe the promise of salvation over the dire diagnosis, the empty accounts, the corrupt nation, the unfruitful marriages, the heavy losses, the unbearably shattered minds, the rotting dregs of society that none but Christ can save. Love never fails, hope does not disappoint and His word is forever.
Sometimes faith in God calls you into the last place you want to go. It compels you to challenge the trajectory you have set for yourself. In 1 Kings 17, God sents Elijah the prophet to famine hit Zarephat, to find a widow who would feed him. This same woman who is slowly walking towards certain death and down to her last morsel. However, Elijah was willing to take the last morsel from the woman and her dying son because he submitted his logic to God’s will. The woman too did the most astounding thing by giving up what little she had before hunger stole all her life away. Through this unwavering faith, God steadily pulls her and Elijah into abundance for many days.
Faith is not positive thinking. Faith is the expectation of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). The only tangible evidence of things that are inconceivable. This interaction between God, HIS prophet and this hungry hopeless woman teaches us one thing; don’t let your life be about that piece of bread. But live by the word of God that says the just shall live by faith! (Hebrews 10:38, Romans 1:17)
When we live, trusting in what God has said we will surely eat of His supernatural provision for all our days (1 Kings 17:1-16). Faith is not doing that which is within Human logic but it goes beyond our minds and into the territory of God’s good will for us.
If your life is being lived on the fuel of our limited rationality then it’s time you picked up the shield of Faith. The shield that Apostle Paul talks of is the roman shield that could withstand and deflect fiery arrows. The shield was a massive thing and it had to be wielded unwaveringly. A Christian will face threat. Often the path of faith God sets us on will cause conflict. Many of us will come under pressure to make a move or act within reason. But if God’s word for you is to wait then wait for what He wants to reveal. God never disappoints. God has no deadline only perfectly intricately laid plans for His ransomed children.
The point of having a shield is to step out of fear of missiles and into the promised victory. So what are you afraid of? The righteous will not lack bread. What’s holding you back from picking up the shield? The righteous will not be moved. When faith takes you into conflict, hold on. The faith of the Son of God was to walk into a house of mourning and to call death just sleep (Matthew 9:24).
Look beyond the fears that you are facing today. Look beyond your logic and ability. Look at the goodness of God and His promises over you in Christ. Wield your shield everyday.
Old Testament has detailed instructions on what Israel has to follow, to be separate from all the pagans around them. In Leviticus 11:11 God clearly explains that certain creatures are not to be consumed. Lines separating clean and unclean animals were drawn based on cloven feet, the wrong kind of claws, lack of scales or fins. These lines dictated the difference between what was good for food and what was to be seen as an abomination. Carcasses were an abomination as was anything that touched the carcass. If a dead bug fell into a water pot, the pot had to be broken. If an Israelite touched a carcass, he was unclean till evening. “He who is unclean shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp (Leviticus 13:46).
Aeneas of Lydda had been paralysed and bedridden for eight long years and Tabitha or Dorcas of Joppa had died of illness. When Peter said “Arise” both the paralysed and the dead rose.(ACTS 9). Continuing his journey, Peter found himself hungry and he fell into a trance. He saw a great sheet filled with wild beasts, creeping things and birds in it, and he heard a voice saying “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” Taken aback, Peter confidently exclaims “Not so Lord. I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” The voice said “What God has cleaned you must not call common..”(Acts 10:10-16). As we read ahead we see that the vision was God’s way of explaining to Peter that the gospel is for the gentiles as well. Peter the Jew, who religiously kept himself in the right side of the “clean-unclean” line had to go into the house of a Gentile and splendidly announces “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Then he finds out that the Gospel is for the gentiles as well. The messiah was for the whole world, for all people on either side of that ancient line drawn between clean and unclean.
After raising the dead and healing the paralysed, Peter must have been highly respected or accepted among his Jewish peers. Almost at the height of this fame, God demands Peter to do this scandalous thing. His Jewish peers were incredulous “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them!?” Poor Peter replies almost helplessly “If God gives them the same Gift He gave us who believed in Christ… Who was I, that I could withstand God?(Acts 11:17)” The outcome of Peter following the direction of the Holy Spirit, instead of the long established culture, was that we too could have Life in Christ.
Culture can be defined as the way of life, general customs and beliefs of a particular people at a particular time. It encompasses how we treat each other, how we behave, what we believe is conventional. But our God refuses to be confined by the culture that was born as a result of the fall.
In Mathew 100:34-39 we see Jesus declaring, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” This is because what He offered was a free gift, not purchased by our works, but by His blood. That message was so challenging even John the Baptist asked-“Should we wait for another?” The Ministry of Christ was, for sure contrary, to common expectations.
Everything we have been conditioned to believe in or behave as – God will challenge that. He is an Almighty and fearsome God who chose to be called “Abba, Father.” He is an unconventional God who gives unconditional love. He created the planets and stars but He chose to put His glory in Adam, His image in Man.
If we want to walk with God it will cost us everything. Everything the world counts as valuable, valid and required, will no longer be important. To be remade by God requires an unmaking of our mind sets, our ways of life and behaviour.
In Mathew 15 we witness Christ saying “And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men… Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
In verse 15, Peter asks Jesus to explain. Jesus explains that it is when out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies that people are defiled. It took Peter a long time to finally understand what Jesus meant.
Christianity is not a culture or a religion that follows man-made parameters. It’s not about fitting in or compromising truth to be accepted by the world. It is not about making friends and getting attention. It is about being ready to step across hypocritical lines when God calls for it. It is about being ready to trust in Him even when it may seem foolish to your friends and family. It is about challenging the religious status quo that says “I am better than you because of what I have accomplished.” It is a walk with God where the only way is Christ.