Don't Believe Everything You Think


When 2nd Corinthians 10:5 says to "take every thought captive" it really means it. Don't believe everything you think. Many Christians debate whether Satan has the ability to enter our minds, control our minds, or read our minds. I don't wish to get into any of those debates here, but one thing is certain... Satan does have the ability from outside of our mind, to place unwanted thoughts into our mind. Paul called these unwanted thoughts, "fiery darts" in Ephesians 6:16 and plainly identified the source of those attacks to be from "The Wicked One".

Despite Biblical evidence from Genesis to Revelation of Satanic bombardment upon the human mind, many Christians don't even believe Satan can place thoughts into our minds. But I can prove it to you that he can and he does it all the time. How many of you have ever gone somewhere alone with a Bible to pray, got away from all the noises and distractions, started praying a totally selfless, God-centered prayer and then out of nowhere, all of a sudden, you find yourself thinking some twisted, evil, wicked thought while right in the middle of talking to God? It happens to me all the time. Sometimes they're hateful thoughts. Other times, they're pornographic. In the communications sciences, that's known as hostile interference or hostile jamming. The last thing Satan wants is a Christian praying. Well, if that can happen while you're praying, then it can happen anywhere, under any circumstances, at any given time. It's a subtle tactic of disinformation from the enemy that's camouflaged as our own thoughts.

Satan knows that we'll believe our own thoughts before we believe his, so we get his lies disguised as our own thoughts. This is why Paul tells us in 2nd Corinthians 10:5 to take every thought captive and lead it into the obedience of Christ, because if you don't take your thoughts captive, then your thoughts may take you captive. Don't believe everything you think. Those aren't always your thoughts. File this under "Shield Of Faith" in "The Armor Of God".


SHARE:

A New Upcoming Study On The Armor Of God




"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the strategies of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but rather against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against spiritual forces of evil in the supernatural sphere. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, keeping alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints." Ephesians 6:10-18

Inventory:
1. Girdle of Truth. (or Belt of Truth).
2. Breastplate Of Righteousness.
3. Shoes Of Peace.
4. Shield Of Faith.
5. Helmet Of Salvation.
6. Sword Of The Spirit: The Word Of God.
7. Intercessory Prayer.

The first time I ever came across this inventory of Spiritual Armor was back when I was speeding thru the Bible from Genesis to Revelation for my very first time back around 1996 or so. I found it to be poetic as Paul idiomized truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation as Spiritual Armor but I didn't recognize it's implications. I would have been just as impressed if Paul had said, Girdle of Salvation, Breastplate of Peace, Shoes Of Truth, or Shield of Righteousness, instead of Girdle of Truth, Breastplate of Righteousness, Shoes of Peace and Shield of Faith. Any imagery or order of these verses would have sounded just as powerful and poetic to me. My impression was that we needed all these things for Spiritual protection and I went no further with it.

It wasn't until around 1999 or so when I first heard Chuck Missler's Briefing titled "Armor For The Age Of Deceit" that I began to realize the importance of these verses in Ephesians. While most of Chuck's briefing focused primarily on the height and depth of deception in politics and media, he also spent a moderate amount of time explaining the importance of recognizing that the armor of God isn't idiomatic, but literal pieces of Spiritual Armor that must be consciously put on in order to stand against Satan's strategies in these deceptive times. It was shortly after listening to that briefing that I began noticing when re-reading Ephesians 6:10-18 that each piece of armor as Paul described it, it actually tells us something about what it is that Satan is attacking us with and where, and then why each piece of armor given must be used to protect that part of our spiritual body!

For example, if we're supposed to put on the girdle of truth around our loins, then it must be because Satan on a spiritual level is attacking our loins with deception. Only truth can defend against deception. Why our loins? Because as in any battle, if the loins are exposed, one kick to the groin can take you down regardless of your skills as a boxer or swordsman. If Satan can convince you to believe his lies, then he doesn't need to do anything else. He's already won.

If we're supposed to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness to cover our heart, then it must be because Satan attacks our heart with shame and guilt.

If we're supposed to shod our shoes with the Gospel of Peace, then if must be because Satan attacks our feet with fears and anxieties. But why our feet? To alter our footsteps?

That's when it hit me that Ephesians 6:10-18 isn't poetry. These are literal pieces of supernatural armor designed specifically to defend Christians against all supernatural attacks. So I began doing a more exhaustive study on The Armor Of God and finally brought it together around 2001 or 2002 and created an hour-long MP3 file discussing the notes. I never published it online because as much as it helped me, I was still missing something. I had discovered a great deal of Satan's tactics against all of us, how he attacks, what he attacks us with, where he attacks, and our defenses against them all. And yet, something was missing. While it seemed that I had a complete grasp of the Armor of God, I didn't feel like I had a good grasp on specifically HOW we put these pieces of armor on. Some pastors say we're to ask God every day to put on us His armor and to go thru the list of each piece. But why would we have to ask for that? That's like having to ask God for oxygen every morning, then ask that our skin doesn't fall off, then ask that our eyes continue to work, that our ears continue to hear, etc... What an ordeal to have to ask God to completely cover me when I'd rather just put it all on and keep it on. Why do I have to keep putting it on over and over? Who's taking it off after I put it on? Am I really putting it on to begin with? And besides, Paul doesn't say anywhere in Ephesians 6 that we're to ask God to clothe us with this armor, rather Paul tells us that WE are to PUT ON the Armor of God. God may supply us with the armor, but we are the ones who have to put it on. How?

In 2008, when I was still hosting a radio show at BlogTalkRadio, I decided to go over my notes on the Armor Of God with my listeners. We walked through every verse and every companion verse that helped explain each piece of armor and we all greatly benefited from the study. Any wisdom about how the forces of darkness works is helpful in defending ourselves against them. But just as before, I was still missing something.

Around 2010, I got my hands on a wonderful book called, "Spiritual Warfare" and quickly read it as fast as I possibly could. The author spent a great amount of time explaining the reality of spiritual warfare, about it's effects on the mission field, etc... With each chapter, he peeled away the deception of Satan's tactics, how we sometimes unwittingly help Satan deceive us, and the need for arming ourselves with Biblical truth, a righteous lifestyle, the importance of strong faith and prayer, etc... But by the time I got to the end of the book, what I thought was about to be a climax, turned into a huge let-down. Like me, the author seemed to be at a loss concerning how to put on the whole armor of God as it was described by Paul in Ephesians Chapter 6. The author expressed his own exasperation with trying to remember each piece of armor and how to put it on to the point that he eventually came to the conclusion that the best way to put on the whole armor of God, was to simply "put on Christ" and walk in the Spirit. He stopped focusing on each piece of armor as Paul described it and felt that Paul's original premise in Ephesians 6 was meant to be a description of what would happen when someone simply "puts on Christ". I was very disappointed in how the book ended. How can any book written about spiritual warfare, which personally addresses the need for Biblical truth, the need for a righteous lifestyle, the need for strong faith and peace, the need for a rich prayer-life, then turn around and reduce the Armor of God in Ephesians 6 into "just put on Christ and walk in the spirit and you'll be putting on the whole armor of God"? That's like taking a World War II military manual filled with battle tactics and military intelligence and summarizing it by saying, "just put on patriotism and walk in the American spirit and you'll have all the armor you need to fight Nazis and win."

Then last year (2013) a friend of mine told me about a book called "The Full Armor Of God" that she had bought that had excited her. She kept sending me excerpts that were so powerful that I just had to get a copy for myself. The author's insights into the Helmet of Salvation completely blew me away. In the past, I had always assumed that if one was saved, then by default they already had the Helmet Of Salvation. I couldn't have been more wrong. Being saved isn't what the Helmet of Salvation is about. Paul is speaking to a group of people who are already saved so why would he tell them to PUT ON the Helmet of Salvation? It turns out that the Helmet of Salvation is dealing with our new identity in Christ once we have become saved! In other words, the Helmet Of Salvation is about protecting our mind from lies concerning who we are. It's about renewing our mind, so that our view of ourselves lines up with our new identity in Christ. We're no longer defendants in God's court, we are now His children. We are no longer objects of God's judgment, but objects of God's love and affection. Satan tries to steal away from us the powerful privileges that come with this new identity. This fresh insight also made me realize that with this identity in Christ comes the authority we have in Christ. It's because of that authority that we can then pick up the Sword of the Spirit (listed next in Paul's list of armor) and use it offensively against spiritual attackers. Is that why Paul mentions the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit in almost the same breath?

I was disappointed however, in the author's explanation for the Shoes of Peace. He seemed to single out anger and bitterness as the only thing that prevents Christians from having true peace. He expressed how the repairing of damaged relationships was what the Shoes of Peace were all about. As beautiful as that may sound, there is much more to peace than forgiveness. Walking in the Spirit produces the fruit of inner peace, which is why FEET are the focus in this piece of armor. There are many other things besides anger and bitterness that can steal your peace such as fear, loneliness, uncertainty, confusion, restlessness, discomfort, grief, etc...

I was also disappointed in the author's decision to explore each piece of armor in reverse order. It was his opinion that Paul meant for us to study each piece of armor starting with the last because that's how he believes Paul addressed it starting in Ephesians Chapter 1. The author believes that Paul explained the full armor of God starting with the Helmet of Salvation in Ephesians 1:1-23, the Shield of Faith in Ephesians 2:1-10, the Sandals of Peace in Ephesians 2:11-4:16, the Breastplate of Righteousness in Ephesians 4:17-5:7 and the Belt of Truth in Ephesians 5:8-6:9. While I noticed some patterns in themes and subjects that supports the author's theory, I don't believe it's complete. There are too many subjects that Paul addressed within his letter to the Ephesians that clouds the issue of the Armor of God in chapter 6 if you're going to try to cram everything in to support this theory. But with this disagreement of mine, I discovered something that I had never noticed before and I don't think I would have noticed it now if it hadn't been for my irritation with the author's re-ordering of the pieces of armor.

I was totally blown away at something I had never considered before. If you are fully successful in putting on the first piece of armor listed, then it will enable you to put on the next piece. If you fail in putting on the first piece of armor listed, then it will be impossible for you to put on the next piece. You have to put on all the pieces of armor in the exact order in which they are listed in Ephesians 6, otherwise they won't work. Here's the order in which Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God.

1. Belt of Truth.
Our search and discovery of truth is the foundation. Without truth, we're in bondage to deception, Satan wins, game over. With the truth, we can then move on to the next piece of armor.

2. Breastplate of Righteousness.
This is about how we respond to the truth we've been given. If we reject the truth, we cannot put on righteousness, we're in bondage to guilt, Satan wins, game over. If we accept and apply the truth we've been given, then it leads first to imputed righteousness via the cross, and then realized righteousness through voluntary obedience and/or confession when necessary. This leads us to...

3. Shoes Shod With The Gospel Of Peace.
We can now begin walking in this life with new goals, new attitudes, new directions, no longer responding to fears, doubts or anxieties. As long as we continue to walk in harmony with God's Will, wearing the Breastplate of Righteousness, we can continue walking in peace. But Satan will attack our footsteps with thoughts of fears, anxieties, all questions that begin with the words "but, what if..." so that you will take off your shoes of peace and begin walking a walk shod with fears and doubts. If that happens, Satan wins, Game Over. But if you continue to walk in shoes shod with the Gospel of Peace, then you can take up the...

4. Shield of Faith.
If we know we have the truth, if we have no guilt, if we're at peace with God and in harmony with His Will, then NOTHING CAN STOP US. Any thoughts of doom or fears sent by Satanic forces can easily be deflected by our faith in God's faithfulness. Without faith in God's faithfulness, then those attacks will begin to wear away at our Shoes of Peace, Satan wins, Game Over. But if we continue to walk forward or stand firm in our faith in God's faithfulness, then we can attack the enemy who's sending those thoughts of doom by taking up the...

5. Helmet of Salvation.
We wear the authority that comes from our adoption as sons and daughters of the living God (Helmet of Salvation) and pick up...

6. The Sword of the Spirit which is The Word Of God
to defend against lies, and oppose demons. Whenever Satan attacked Jesus, even the Lord Himself responded by quoting a passage of Scripture that contradicted Satan's deceptive lies and reaffirmed God's Truth.

7. Effective and Powerful Intercessory Prayer.
NOW!!! NOW!!! We can pray effectively without interference, and with perfect clarity, interceding on behalf of whoever needs it.

This was the missing piece of information that had eluded me all these years concerning the Armor of God. Each piece must be put on in the order it's given, otherwise, the armor cannot be put on successfully. The Roman soldier put those pieces on in the same order that Paul listed them and it's no surprise. Because of these recent discoveries, I'm excited to share with you a new study I'm working on about The Full Armor Of God. I'll be writing further articles on these studies and will most likely sum it all up with a video lecture or two before it's all over. Stay tuned.


SHARE:

The Layers Of The Armor Of God


I've been doing more studying on Ephesians 6:10-18 "The Armor Of God" and I've just discovered something that I had never really noticed before. You have to put on all those pieces of armor in the exact order in which they are listed, otherwise they won't work. Or perhaps a better way of saying it, it's impossible to put on the next piece listed without first putting on the piece listed before it.

You have no authority or understanding concerning how to use the Sword of the Spirit without first taking the Helmet of Salvation.

You can't take the Helmet of Salvation without first taking up The Shield of Faith.

You'll have no Shield of Faith to take up if you don't first shod your shoes with the Gospel of Peace.

And you can have no Peace without first putting on the Breastplate of Righteousness.

And you can't have any of the above without first girding your loins with the Belt (or Girdle) of Truth.

Here's the order in which Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God.

1. Belt of Truth.
2. Breastplate of Righteousness.
3. Shoes Shod With The Gospel Of Peace.
4. Shield of Faith.
5. Helmet of Salvation.
6. The Sword of the Spirit.
7. Effective and Powerful Intercessory Prayer.

Truth is the foundation. Without truth, we're in bondage to deception. With the truth, we have freedom. The application of righteousness, free from guilt comes from the accepted truth of the completed work of the cross. After that we walk a walk of voluntary obedience and/or confession when necessary. With that applied, then comes peace which only a continual walk close with the Lord can supply. Then with that, we can take up the shield of faith against anything that comes toward us! Nothing can stop us! Then, we take up the authority that comes from our adoption as sons and daughters of the living God (Helmet of Salvation) and pick up the Sword of the Spirit which is God's Word to defend against lies, and oppose demons. NOW!!! NOW!!! We can pray effectively without interference, and with perfect clarity, interceding on behalf of whoever needs it.


SHARE: