WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR?

By now, you have heard about Ravi Zacharias’s sexual sins. How could a famous icon of the Christian faith have fallen into this kind of sin? Sadly, he is not alone. Many well-known Christian leaders have fallen to temptation. We all suffer temptations; it’s what you do with the tempting thoughts that entice you to sin. The mistake most of us make is to dwell on them, which leads to desire, and when we act on our passion, we sin (James 1:14-16). Victory in the battle of temptations is why we need to suit up with God’s armor every day. Which piece of armor do you think Ravi did not put on that would have protected him from sinning?

When you think of spiritual warfare, what do you think of? One thing is for sure, we all face assaults from unseen demonic spirits. Spiritual assaults can be deception, temptation, doubt, accusations, condemnation, and so on, which is why we need to know how to put on the armor of God. If you only have some armor on but not all of it, then Satan can readily defeat you. For example:

  • Believing the truth is your spiritual belt. But if you don’t trust God’s Word is the truth, then you will be tempted to believe all kinds of false teachings and philosophies. Being devoid of truth leaves you feeling empty and despairing. Learning and applying the truth in the Bible is crucial for victory. We quickly forget, so meditate on His Word day and night.
  • Being righteous through faith in Jesus Christ is your spiritual breastplate. If your belt is on, and you believe Scripture is the truth. But if you haven’t asked Jesus to forgive your sins and save you, then make Him Lord; you leave yourself open to give in to your fleshly desires. Jesus’s righteousness protects you when you make Him Lord of your life, and you fear God by shunning evil and doing what is pleasing to Him.
  • Being sure of your salvation is our spiritual helmet. Suppose you believe the truth and rely on Jesus to be righteous, but you forget your redemption from sin and continue to live a worldly life. In that case, you will be tempted to doubt your salvation. Worldly living keeps you from bearing the fruit of the Spirit because you are not abiding in the word and life of Jesus Christ.
  • Having faith in God to keep His promises is your spiritual shield. Suppose you believe the truth, have Jesus’ righteousness, and are sure of your salvation, yet do not practice God’s truth by faith. In that case, you will stumble when you face trials and tribulations. Satan’s fiery arrows of doubt, temptations, accusations, and condemnation will destroy your faith.
  • Being ready to share the peace of Christ is your spiritual shoes. If you don’t live in peace with others and don’t share the gospel of Christ Jesus, your Christian witness will be useless. Without the gospel of peace, you will appear as a hypocrite because you will be tempted to be angry, contentious, argumentative, divisive, etc.
  • Applying God’s Word is your spiritual sword against all demonic attacks. But, if you don’t read the Bible or know God’s Word, you will suffer many oppressive blows from the enemy, and he will spiritually and emotionally cripple you.

Let’s look at Christ’s example. When the devil tempted Jesus, He immediately said, “It is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). If you don’t know God’s Word, how can you overcome tempting thoughts? Ravi appeared to know God’s Word very well. It seems that Ravi did not put on the breastplate of righteousness. If he made Jesus Lord of his life and feared God, then he could have called on God to help him. Hebrews 2:18 states, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 4:12-16 explains the role of God’s Word and Jesus Christ.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature (NIV: nothing in creation) is hidden from his [God’s] sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need

The Word of God exposes our sinful thoughts and we can go to God with confidence in Jesus Christ to help us take our thoughts captive in prayer (2Cor. 10:5). We need to make it our aim to please God. 2Corinthians 5:9b-10 states, “We make it our aim to please him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”.

Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” God does not tempt us, but we are enticed through our sinful nature as explained in James 1:13-15, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” When we fear God, we will shun evil and practice righteousness. More on that in another post.

One more thought, Luke 22:40 states, “And when he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’” This verse explains why we need to pray at all times. Ephesians 6:18 explains how we are to pray after putting on the armor of God, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” How is your prayer life? When you pray, submit your concerns to God and seek His divine power to live a godly life. 2Peter 1:3 states, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”

Grace and peace to you.

Also Read: HOW TO PUT ON THE ARMOR OF GOD AND DEFEAT THE ENEMY

Is the End Close? Part One―What does the Bible Say?

Why did the Apostles tell everyone the end was near over 2000 years ago? Do you believe Christ’s return is nearer today? James 5:8 states, “You also be patient, establish (strengthen) your hearts, for the coming of your Lord draws near.” Even the Apostle John said in his first letter that we are in the last hour (1John 2:18). Jesus said in Revelations 22:12, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense (reward) with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” The writer of Hebrews, who they think is the Apostle Luke said in Hebrews 1:2, “but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, ….” And the Apostle Peter said in 1Peter 4:7 (NIV), “The end of all things is near.” If the Apostles believed they were in the last days 2000 years ago, we are much closer to the end of the age. Are you waiting and ready?

What are the signs that Christ will soon come?

The Scriptures compare the end of times to Noah’s time and Sodom and Gomorrah because the people living in the world were ungodly and wicked. God wanted to destroy them because of their evil and unrepentant hearts. Noah warned the people of God’s judgment if they did not repent. You know the story of how Noah obeyed God and built an ark to prepare for the flood while the people mocked and ridiculed him. Matthew 24:39 states, “and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Do your friends and neighbors know of the coming of Christ and the wrath of God on ungodly, sinful people? Have you warned them of the coming judgment and how they can be saved?

God rescued Lot and his family out of Sodom and Gomorrah before He destroyed it with fire and brimstone because they indulged in fleshly lusts. 2Peter 2:6 states, “if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked….” God will rescue the righteous before He executes His wrath on the ungodly. 1Thessalonians 5:9-10 states, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

Timothy wrote about the conduct of people in the last days. As you read this passage, think about the present time. Do they sound similar? 2Timothy 3:1-7,

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

― For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

― heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,

― treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

― having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

― For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,

― always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Does 2Timothy chapter three sound like our world, over 2000 years later? Jesus told his disciples the signs of the end of the age in Matthew 24:10-14. “And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Is your love cold toward God and the people of God? If it is, there is hope when you humbly turn to God in prayer.

Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? Peter explains why Christ has delayed His coming in 2Peter 3:3-4, “knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’” Verses 89, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

Are you ready for Christ’s return? Have you repented of your sin? 2Corinthians 5:10 states, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” Look at your life and pretend you are standing before the judgment seat of Christ. What will He say to you about how you are conducting your life while in the body? How does your life line up with this post: Living a Victorious Life.

To learn more about the end of time, read Matthew 24; Luke 17:22-37; 1Thessalonians 5:1-11; 2Thessalonians 2:1-12; and 2Peter 3.

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