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"The Christian Soldier" Paul talked about

                                     Christian Soldier

                                                                                             By Joyce Webb 2013

Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus. He said the Christian life is like a soldier’s.

A soldier fights a battle. Christians fight a battle against evil and Satan.

Satan wants to make us give up being a Christian. If he can not get us to give up, then he will try to make us weak, discouraged, so we do not go forward in talking to others about becoming Christians.

Christians who are sad, angry, discouraged weak will not be much use to help others to be a Christian.

Satan has many ways of getting Christians to get “off track”. If he can not get us to do “big” sins he will get us to be sad angry discouraged grumpy or lazy. These things make us weak in our spirits.

Soldiers know they are to fight. It is not going to be easy. Battles are hard.

Battles require you to be giving attention be strong ready having courage.

You can not win a battle if you are not giving attention or are weak or have not made yourself ready or you let fear hold you back.

Paul said there are some things we can do as a soldiers for Christ that will help us be a good soldier.

In Ephesians 6:11-18, he talks about this.

Let us start with the head of a soldier. In Paul’s day, he would be thinking about a Roman soldier’s outfit.

Head: covered with a helmet. To protect the brain. The brain runs our whole body. The brain thinks decides feels. The brain keeps us alive. We sometimes talk about people being “brain-dead”. If they are in a coma and do not know what is happening. But if their whole brain was dead----they would be dead.

We speak of loving with our heart. But our thoughts about the one we love are with our brain, not our heart. We talk about our “will” our power to choose this happens in our brain or our mind.

Our soul is more than just our mind to think and understand. It is hard to explain the “spirit” within us. What we think and understand influences our soul. There is a thin line between our mind and our soul. The mind and the spirit or soul is connected.

There are some who say the spirit and the soul are 2 different things. But for what I am talking about here---I will talk about them as one thing and the mind another thing.

So a helmet to protect the head the brain the mind.

Paul says this helmet is “salvation”. When we are saved, we become a new person in Christ Jesus. When we believe in Jesus as our Savor and he forgives our sins, we are made “new” in our minds and spirit.

To be a Christian we must start with “salvation”. We must start with having a new mind and spirit in Christ.

To stay a Christian, we must keep our minds and spirits in faith and believing and obeying Christ’s teachings.

Satan is very smart and clever he is always trying to work on our minds to get us to give up believing in Jesus, the Bible, or in what Jesus taught or promised.

Temptation to do wrong comes to our mind.

We understand temptation to do sins such as stealing, killing, adultery, lying, etc. are wrong. Those kinds of sins may not tempt us. We may have been a Christian long enough that those things seem so bad to us we would not do them.

We may have other things that get us “off track”.

Thoughts of anger with others, being angry about things that have happened in life , being angry with God about bad things that have happened, being upset, discouraged, giving up, not caring, feeling weak, not forgiving others, not accepting ourselves, being angry with ourselves, all of these things happen in the mind and spirit.

Thoughts of “I’m no good”, “I can not do what is right” “I always mess up and fail” “I can not do it” “I can never be good enough” “I do not have any talent”

On and on go the thoughts. These kinds of thoughts pull us down.

Satan loves to whisper those things in our ear. He does not want us to see how God sees us. God sees a person he has saved. God sees the Holy Spirit in us to help us do all things well. God sees us as succeeding and doing well. God sees us as the child he loves and watches over. God sees the plan and purpose he has for us and he wants to show us how to fill that plan.

Satan always wants to get our mind off of God and onto any thought that would bring discouragement or weakness.

Satan works at getting our minds “off track” every hour of the day and night. He never gives up.

As Christians, we need to teach ourselves how to think.

We need to choose our thoughts carefully. We do not have to think every thought that comes to our mind. Many thoughts that come to our mind need to be stopped right away. Do not let them continue!

It is our responsibility to choose what we will think. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi he told them how to choose their thoughts. Philippians 4:8 “Whatever is true,

honest, just, pure, lovely, of a good report, if they have any virtue (goodness), if they have any praise, think on these things.”

Thoughts against yourself thoughts of anger against others stop those thoughts do not let them go on and on in your mind. Complaining, griping grumbling about things or people, finding fault with things and people, thinking about people’s faults, weakness, short-comings, stop! Do not let those thoughts continue.

Thoughts of sinful doings wrong sexual imaginings, drinking, drugs, stop the thoughts.

Do not watch things on the computer, TV, videos, movies that are sexual, or gross horror, murders, violence what you see will stay in your brain.

What is in your brain will affect/influence your spirit/soul. You will weaken your spirit if your mind is full of “junk”. The Holy Spirit cannot work in you and talk to you when your mind in full of stuff that is evil, or dirty.

If your mind in full of thoughts of complaining, or “beating-up” on yourself or finding fault with others or anger or feeling sorry for yourself or worry -------

Then it will be hard for you to hear the Holy Spirit talking to you. Your mind is full of other stuff.

Quiet your mind. Invite the Holy Spirit to wash your mind. Center your thoughts on praise to God. Start saying in your mind praise to God for all the things you can think of. Ask the Holy Spirit to talk to you and help your mind. Ask to have the “mind of Christ”.

 

The next is the front of the soldier, his chest, The breastplate that covers his chest and heart.

We talk about the heart as though it was where we love. But as was said just above we love with our brain. However, we will talk about it here as the heart being the place of where love begins.

We need to protect our hearts we need to protect our hearts from loving the wrong things and for loving the right things.

Some times young people begin dating a person who is not a Christian. Then they “fall in love” with them and want to marry. Paul wrote to the believers at Corinth. He said, “ Do not be yoked (joined together like a yoke on an ox) in an unequal way---a believer and a non-believer. Because there is no fellowship one person is of the light and the other person is of darkness.” II Corinthians 6: 14

God told the people in the Old Testament not to marry those who did not follow God. Deuteronomy 7:3,4

If one person is a believer, and one is not they will not be able to agree about some very important things. How will the children be taught about Jesus? Even if the non-believer says---”You can take them the your church.”. That does not erase the problem. Children learn what they see and hear in the home. Children who grow up in a home where one person is not a believer-----they learn that God is not so important.

The one parent who does not believe makes an influence on the child.

There are many other ways that a believer and non-believer will not agree.

Eternal life and spiritual learning and living are the most important things in a person’s life. Why make it hard for yourself or your children to be a believer?

Why “hang-out” with friends that are not believers? They will pull you away from God. If they do not pull you away so that you give up God-----they will make you a weaker Christian by their influence on you.

You need you have friends who are on the same Christian “path” you are on. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 People of the “light” can not walk with those who are in “darkness”.

You may think you will influence them to become a Christian, but the chances are they will influence you and you will be weaker as a Christian.

You can do some things with people who are not Christians.

You may even have family that are not Christians. But you need a Christian or a couple of Christians to be your best friends.

Protect your heart from loving the wrong person.

Protect your heart from loving the wrong things. Anything that the Holy Spirit would not like to do or see you should not be doing either. As a Christian the Holy Spirit is in you. You are the “temple” of the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 6:19

Ask yourself is this a thing I want to do or see something the Holy Spirit would say “yes” to?

Ask yourself are my thoughts pleasing to the Holy Spirit?

 

The next piece of armor is the “belt” of truth. The King James Bible calls the waist/hip area the loins. The dictionary says the word “loin” means the area between the ribs and the hip bone. The older meaning of the word “loin” that was used in the Bible meant the area of the private parts of a person------the symbol of a man’s power to create new life, the symbol of strength..

The “loin” area----must be covered and protected. Spiritually, Paul says, it is to be covered with truth. If we wish to battle Satan we must be covered with truth.

So we have to know the truth! We have to know what the Bible teaches.

We have to study it. We have to memorize it.

When Satan came to tempt Jesus after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist

Satan spoke to Jesus trying to get him to do some things. Jesus answered Satan by quoting to him a verse from the Bible. Jesus said to the devil: “It is written………”

Then Jesus quoted the verse. God’s word is the word of truth to use against the things Satan would say to us. God’s truth will set you free! John 8:32

Satan will lie to you. Satan will take a Bible verse twist it ant tell it to you

and try to make you think it was right. Yes, Satan knows the Bible very well. He can quote any verse. And he will use the Bible against you if he can twist it and make you believe him.

So if you know the Bible verse yourself----you will know he said it wrong. The truth will keep you free.

In the Garden of Eden, Satan tried to get Eve to doubt what God said. Satan said, “You shall not surely die.” We may say it like this: “Really? You think he means that you will die?”

Satan is very good at putting “doubts” into our minds. That is how it starts----then Satan talks more and more until he gets us to give in.

There are two religious groups that are well known. They call themselves Christians, but when you look deeper into what they believe you find that they do not teach what Jesus taught. They may look like a Christian group to some people. They may sound like a Christian group on the surface “outside” . But when you study what they believe you see they are not teaching what Jesus taught..

Know the truth so you do not get mixed up with groups that seem to be Christian but are not.

Your source “origin, start, beginning” of being a Christian must be on truth.

Your beliefs can not be on a lie.. Where would you end up if what you believed was built on a lie?

Truth is our source of power. Just as the “loins” were thought to be the symbol strength and power to create new life------so “truth” is our source of power and creates new spiritual life.

Use the shield of faith to stop the darts (arrows) of fire from the devil.

The Christian walk from beginning to the end is a walk of “faith”.

It starts with our faith in Jesus. We have faith that he is God. We have faith that what Jesus said about himself was true. We have faith that the Bible says the truth. We have faith that if we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, he will. We have faith that if our sins are forgiven we will go to heaven when we die.

We have faith that God will walk with us while we are on earth. We have faith that the Holy Spirit will teach us and help us live for Jesus.

The one thing Satan wants is to get us to lose our faith. Because “faith” is the “key” to all we believe.

Satan’s best “tool” to use against us is doubt and discouragement.

If he can get us to doubt God or get us to feel discouraged he has won a victory just in doing that much. We know that doubt and discouragement leads to getting farther and farther away from God.

When people have bad things happen to them the first thought that comes

is God does not care or he would not have let this happen.

Thoughts that God does not care, God does not see God does not want to help

God does not think I am worth helping God is against me such thoughts begin to wear away our faith. We begin to doubt God. We doubt his love. We doubt his Word that says he loves us and he cares. We doubt that what has happen is for good in our life. We doubt that our faith in God was a good idea.

Doubt is the opposite of faith. Fear is the opposite of faith.

Discouragement is thinking about giving up some of our faith.

Paul says these thoughts that come to us these things that happen are like “darts of fire” to our spirit. And the way to stop them is to put up the shield of faith.

Faith is a choice. You decide to have faith or not. You decide to put up the shield of faith or let the dart in.

A soldier in battle uses his shield all the time. He can not let it go down by his side. He must keep it up in front of his heart and mind.

We also must keep the shield of faith up in front of our hearts and minds all the time.

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. God’s Word the Bible is like a sword. In Hebrews 4:12 , says: “The word of God is quick and powerful like a two-edged sword. It pierces (cuts into) and divides apart the soul, and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and it understands and knows the thoughts and intent of the heart.”

The word of God goes into our heart and mind it shows us what is really in our heart. It shows us when we are wrong. It shows us what is right.

The word of God shows non-Christians what is in their heart.

Then the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to convict us makes us to know we are wrong. We feel guilty.

The Word of God shows us what to do to get rid of our sin and guilt.

Jesus used the word of God to stop Satan’s temptations. We can us God’s word to stop Satan’s temptation, too.

You must learn and know God’s word to use it.

 

Your feet should be covered with the Gospel of Peace so you are prepared (ready).

To be ready to live the Christian life you need the Gospel of Peace. The word gospel means “good news”.

God’s good news is forgiveness for sin, hope for the future forever, peace in your heart and mind knowing you are right with God. Peace because you know God is with you watching over you helping you. You have peace and joy from knowing God as a personal friend and savor. He is not some far away being. He is near to you.

The peace that you have in your heart helps you live with courage and confidence. The peace of God is in your heart not worry, and fear.

No matter what hard things may be part of your life if you have faith in Jesus you have peace. No hard thing in this world can take away your peace.

God’s spirit in you is peace. You can have God’s spirit in you no matter where you are in this world. No one can make you give up God’s spirit in you. If you choose to have faith and God’s peace nothing and no one can take it from you.

Romans 8:38,39

The reason we put on this armor? Paul tells us: Ephesians 6:11 So we can stand against the tricks of the devil.

Vs. 12 We do not battle or fight against things that are physical like flesh and blood people or things but we fight against spirits that are in world, in space , in the heavens. Rulers of this world-----Satan is called the “prince of this world”. His demons are in the world influencing people.

Principalities and powers----could mean spirits and it could mean people who are given over to doing evil. Remember Hitler.

When we “fight” the devil-----we need to remember that the person who seems to be so wicked has been influenced by Satan. We are fighting against the evil in them----- not the person themselves --- but the evil in them. We are fighting the spiritual evil that has made that person so bad.

Spiritual evil is from Satan and evil spirits in the world. They influence people. People who let themselves follow evil have been tricked and lied to. They do not see the lie.

Part of our job as a Christian is to tell them “gospel of peace” “good news” to them so they can see that they have believed a lie and they can turn to the truth of God’s Word.

People who have not believed the truth may not have ever heard the truth.

Some of them have heard but decided not to believe.

It is our job to tell them the truth. It is not our job to change them. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict (show them their guilt). It is the job of the Holy Spirit to bring them to a place in their minds to change and decide to believe.

It is our job to be faithful in our walk with God so we are a good example. It is our job to share the gospel when we can.

We do not need to force people to listen. But we should not be silent if we have an opportunity (chance) to say something for God.

Paul says to take this armor so you can stand. In Paul’s day, a soldier would stand. A soldier that was down, was hurt or dead.

Paul says do all you can and having done all stand. Do not let Satan push you down. Stand! Keep standing! Do all to stand. Be true to God.

Vs. 18 Paul says: Pray always with all your heart! Watch with all carefulness! Stay with Jesus! Stay with faith! Pray for all believers that they will be strong, too.

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