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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

No Knight in Shining Armor...

For the past week, I have been on tour in Washington with Dannah’s tween ministry, Secret Keeper Girl. We've had four events thus far for 8-12 year-old girls and their moms; over 3,000 in attendance, and close to 100 salvation's.  It is humbling each night to step on stage knowing that I get to play a small role in the biggest decision that some of these girls will ever make.

Each night after a Secret Keeper Girl LIVE show, we head out into the audience to sign autographs and take pictures with the girls. This particular night it was well past 10pm, I was starving and exhausted, and yet a woman named Holly waited for me. She just wanted to talk. I heard her heart and her struggles and the Lord led me to tell her of my broken engagement. She hugged me and encouraged me as best she could. Then she told me, “Quit looking for a knight in shining armor.”

I was quite taken back by the statement thinking maybe she misspoke. “Excuse me?” I asked.  “I said, you need to quit looking for a knight in shining armor.” I certainly needed clarification! She continued by giving me the most beautiful word I have received in a while:

“Don’t look for shining armor. It is for fairy tales and not reality. A man who’s armor is bright and shining has never been in battle before. You need a man who will fight for you. Who will lay down his life for you. Look for a man with scuffs and dents in his armor. Not only does it prove that he has experienced battle before, but that he has come out victorious. That, my dear, is what you deserve.”

My tough exterior crumbled and I collapsed into the arms of this stranger, crying. She prayed a blessing over me and I thanked her as best I could. This woman didn’t know me from Eve, nor did she have an earthly clue as to how many times I asked that young man, “Why won’t you fight for me?!” I have battled the thought that I'm not worth fighting for... 

Holly’s words filled me with hope and redirected my prayers and my vision for my future husband. As a result of her great wisdom and encouragement I have been studying the armor of God this week and I would like to share with you what the Lord has shown me:

First, Isaiah 59 scared the jeebers out of me. (Read this in the Message if you can!) The first half of the chapter speaks of the evil and oppression that the world is experiencing. Verse 15 says that the Lord saw what was happening, it displeased him because there was no justice. My bones chilled at the next verse, “He saw that there was no man and wondered why there was no one to intercede…”

So, the rest of the chapter describes the Lord putting on the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation – and garments of vengeance. Eeeeek! The Lord stepped in to fight because there was no man… I don’t ever want the Lord to look around and not see me ready to battle, ready to pray, ready to serve.

Paul was likely in a Roman prison, bound in chains when he wrote the book of Ephesians. He was guarded by soldiers each day who were probably wearing some sort of armor and carrying swords. The irony is that in chapter six, he describes the armor we ought to wear… I am sure he knew the scripture in Isaiah – Paul calls the people to dress for war. To stand. To be ready, so when the Lord looks around, He sees someone.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Describes the armor we must put on in order to stand firm against the Devil’s schemes. Nowhere does it say that the armor is bright or shiny, so let’s leave that for the fairy tales.

(Note that not everyone’s armor will look the same. Each piece will be intact, but it might look different. The battle clothes one would wear to invade the frozen tundra would be different than the ones used to carry out a special ops mission in the torrid desert.  Don’t look at someone else’s armor and wish it were yours – your mission is likely different than theirs.)

Belt of Truth: In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” Jesus is truth. We must fasten and secure the knowledge of Jesus as Lord to our hearts as well as our minds. We must know how to release the lies of the enemy and replace them with the truth of Jesus. Sometimes this will involve a heart or mind adjustment on our part. Once a belt is fastened, it takes and intentional act to remove it. Truth doesn’t just fall off.

Breastplate of Righteousness: Righteousness means to be free from guilt or sin; to be morally right. This breastplate protects the integrity of your heart. It is critical protection. Can one wear this essential piece of armor while secretly viewing pornography or slandering friends? Doubtful. Without this piece of armor, your vital organs are exposed. Get Righteous!

Shoes of Peace: These are the wonderful shoes that you will use to walk out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19). Everywhere we go, we should be walking the Gospel; by our living, by our language, by the way we dress… Don’t covet other’s shoes (the way they carry the Gospel). Again, some are trained to walk the gospel around the beach – they wear flip-flops. Others walk the gospel up the side of Mt. Everest and they need huge, heavy, waterproof hiking boots. Just put your shoes on. They will help you handle the elements.

Shield of Faith:  I love talking about faith! (The scripture according to Heather’s humorous interpretation.) In Luke 17:6, Jesus says that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we could move mountains. Ummmm, I want my shield to be bigger than a mustard seed! Our faith needs to enlarge! The bigger our faith, the greater the protection we have against the flaming arrows of the enemy. Many Christians in the army of the Lord become casualties because their shield isn’t big enough. They get hit with a flaming arrow. Build your faith! Your shield should have burn marks on it – Satan throws fiery darts on a daily basis.

Helmet of Salvation: The enemy likes to take cheap shots. Have you seen a football game in which the running back gets hit so hard that his helmet flies off? That is what the Devil wants to do to you. If he can hit you hard enough that your helmet flies off, he wins. He is out for your soul and if he can steal your salvation or get you to “take it off” even for a second…. Strap it down people! Cinch up the straps. Get your head in the game. Brace for a cheap shot from the backfield.

Sword of the Spirit:  Ephesians 6 explains to us that the sword is the Word! Own it. Pick it up. Develop strength and agility to use it. Know it. You will need to draw it out. Operate in the Holy Spirit – so many Christian are afraid of the Holy Spirit. You are missing out on a life of power and miracles when you resist the things of the Spirit – Pray in tongues at all times. Persevere through the grace given by the Spirit. Walking in the Word and in the Spirit makes you a terrifying target to the Devil. He can see the size of your sword  (he can also see if you aren't carrying one) and he knows you will WAAA-PAAAA him if he gets close. I want to scare the devil.

I have been so blessed by Holly’s words and the revelation given to me this week. It has helped me adjust my prayers for my future husband. He will be a warrior with a few battle scars – not a pretty boy with shiny armor and good hair. Ephesians 6 has also helped me learn the areas of my own armor which are weak or lacking. I have been challenged!

I do want the Prince that the Lord sends into my life to be a seasoned Veteran of the God-of-Heaven Armies. Victorious in battle. Full of stories of triumph, as well as marks of affliction. He will be strong. He will fight for me – better yet, he will fight with all he has for the Lord our God.

May I challenge you this week to look in the mirror and see if every piece of armor is in place. If you have been under attack lately, feeling the darts of the enemy, is your shield up? Is it big enough to protect you? Is your breastplate on?

Are your feet moving with the Gospel? If you stand in one place too long, they will either burn with blisters or freeze – get moving and take off your fuzzy slippers.

Get in the Spirit – the power you will find waiting for you there surpasses all your understanding. Don’t take your belt off…. That is a scary thing to do. Your pants might fall down – that would make you the laughing stock of the army.

Live victoriously, Mighty Warrior! I pray the Lord not look around and find either of us unready. He will gladly do it Himself… It’s like Moms – when you don’t do the chore the right way the first time and then Mom has to come behind you and do it again…. Ehhhh, that’s never good. Be ready – do it right. 

Don't go in to battle naked. You will die quickly and be a distraction to the rest of us. 
Put your armor on and Fight.... we win. 

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