A Wardrobe from the King
Preparing for Battle
God's promised salvation has three parts: past, present, and future. In a special moment of time, when I received Jesus Christ as my Savior, I was born into His kingdom. This step has become history; it remains an accomplished fact whether or not I choose to wear the helmet of salvation.
At the cross, Jesus also won for me continual saving grace which enables me to "reign" with Him today and forever (Romans 5:17). This part of my salvation depends on my daily choice to wear the whole armor. Then, dressed in the King's clothes, I can look forward to unbroken fellowship and communion with Him for all eternity.
The final salvation occurs when Jesus Himself returns to receive me as His bride. In the bright light of His countenance, I will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. What a day that will be when I will be like Him!
Your own precious life. Then make me an extension of Your saving Power to others. Let nothing destroy the joy and peace of Your victory nor mar the image Of Your triumphant life in me. Thank You.
Precious King, show me how to wear Your salvation - the durable covering of
Read Ephesians 6:17.
1. What does God remind you to do?
Read Ephesians 1: 18-23. This beautiful prayer shows God's authority and power to keep you safe in Him every moment of your life here on earth.
2. As you pray these words with Paul, notice the three heavenly resources available to you. What is God showing you about each?
Look at Ephesians 2:6.
3. When Jesus initially saved you, what did He do for you? How does this divine action keep you safe in Him today?
Read I Thessalonians 5:8-11. This passage will give you a deeper understanding of God's message in Ephesians 6:17.
4. What does the helmet represent?
5. Paul encourages you to "be alert and sober" (I Thessalonians 5:6). What does this mean to you in the context of this passage?
6. In verse 10, what does God promise you? Why is this significant?
7. Define hope and explain how Biblical hope differs from the world's hope.
Read Romans 8:16-25. Paul counted on God's salvation for each day. Yet, during his lifetime, he waited expectantly for something infinitely greater.
8. Describe the hope Paul expressed in verses 18-23?
9. What do you learn about hope in verses 24-25?
Read Romans 13:10-14. Notice how the approaching time of salvation motivates Paul to action.
10. Do God's words through Paul encourage you? Why or why not?
11. Hope is an essential choice for those who would live a life of victory. What do the following exhortations tell you about hope?
Read Hebrews 11:8-10. Notice the motivating force in Abraham which caused him to obey God and follow Him no matter what the cost.
12. What did Abraham seek? Can you identify with him? In what ways?
Read I Peter 1:3-13. Look at the joy and praise of Peter's heart as he remembered all the magnificent heavenly treasures awaiting him.
13. What does "living hope" mean to you? (v. 3)
14. Describe your inheritance (v. 4).
15. Write the beautiful promise in verse 5, making it your own. Which stage(s) of salvation do you see here?
16. In the light of God's eternal perspective, what is your attitude toward the present trials in your life? (vv. 6-7)
17. What does the "helmet of the hope of salvation" protect you against? Explain.
How do you "put on" and wear the helmet of salvation? (v. 13)
Read 1 John 3:1-3.
18. Summarize the exhortation and promise given here?
19. Write a "thank-You note" to your King for all that He has given you in the helmet of salvation.
Putting On His Word
Jesus saved me the moment I believed and received Him. He saves me daily as I trust and follow Him. He will save me from the final traces of earthly pain and imperfections on that great day when I meet Him face-to-face.
By faith, I receive both past and present salvation, undeserved gifts bought with His blood. Any attempt to earn His approval or pay Him back insults the Giver, whose gift is worth far more than anything I could ever offer.
Can a child pay her parents for their love and care? Would a father want payment? No, for love delights to give. Our Father gladly shares His riches, asking only that the gift be received and treasured. The response He seeks is not pay or performance but worship and obedience.
Daily salvation. With each day's challenge, I face a choice: Will I live and walk by sight and self or by faith and Spirit? My answer comes from deep within:
"As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me, for they are many who strive with me." (Psalm 55:16-18)
"God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid." (Isaiah 12:2)
"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord Who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1-2)
I know that "my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26). Therefore, I yield my finite life and futile efforts to Him, trusting Him to take over and win the battle. He asks only that I trust Him, wear my helmet, and cooperate with His plan for victory.
How do I do this? I put on the helmet of salvation when I affirm and apply the promises of His strength, sufficiency, and sovereignty. Whatever the conflict, He has provided a truth that fits and wins. Do I fear? He assures me of His power and availability. Am I tempted to worry? He reminds me of His kind wisdom and eternal plan. Too little time? My time is in His hands.
When my heart is slow to absorb these truths, I speak them out loud. Sometimes I hear the spoken word more clearly than my silent thoughts. When "I confess with my mouth" the saving truths stored in my mind, the enemy loosens his grip and the battle abates.
Power to save. When you and I wear His salvation, Jesus not only keeps us safe, He also makes us living extensions of His saving life to others. He has given us authority and power to make His eternal triumphs effective in our everyday lives. Listen to Jesus' words: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:19). Covered with His garments of salvation we may wield His authority over all hindrances. We may release His peace and freedom to those held captive to fear, anger, hopelessness, and futility.
Just as eternal salvation becomes effective only when we believe and receive Jesus, so this daily salvation requires our faith and appropriation. We must believe in His heavenly victories, apply them to our lives today, then watch salvation become an ongoing, transforming force.
This Spirit-directed power is strictly limited to what He has already accomplished at the cross. Look at these marvelous triumphs that show what we can claim for ourselves and extend to one another:
·At the cross, Jesus "disarmed principalities and powers... triumphing over them"; cast out "the ruler of this world"; and put Satan in submission under His feet. In God's eternity, Satan is a defeated foe, so when we call his bluff and proclaim God's already accomplished victory, he must flee (Col. 2:15; Eph. 1:20-23; John 12:31; Matt. 12:29; 1 Cor. 15:56).
·On the cross, Jesus bore our griefs (the Hebrew word also means sickness); became the guilt offering for all our sins-past, present and future; offered total forgiveness; freed us from our selfish sin nature; released us into a life of peace, wholeness, and love (Isa. 53:4; Rom. 4:7; 6:3-7; 8:1; Eph. 1).
No longer need anyone be held captive to destructive guilt, habits, cravings, thoughts, and feelings. Our King has commissioned us to make His spiritual triumphs effective in our circumstances today.
Freed from bondage. Not long ago, a young woman named Ann asked me to pray that her intimacy with Jesus be restored. A few questions revealed a weight of guilt. Although the young woman could give mental assent to Christ's atonement, her offenses seemed too great to be so readily forgiven. Something was blocking the restorative power of God's Word.
We prayed for insight, and God showed us that a temporary involvement in a Hindu cult had opened the door to Satanic oppression. His strongholds had to be torn down and her mind unveiled - a spiritual battle which implicates every part of the armor.
We began by proclaiming the truths of Christ's victories on the cross and applying them to Ann. We declared Satan a defeated foe, having no power over or access to Ann. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we commanded Satan's forces of unbelief, deception, idolatry, and self-condemnation to leave her. We then tore down any strongholds raised against the knowledge of God, His character, and His power to forgive and cleanse (2 Cor. 10:3-5). We released God's freedom, righteousness, love, and peace into Ann and thanked God.
Now Ann could freely receive God's life. As she read aloud about God's forgiveness in Luke 15:11-24, she sobbed. God was cleansing and restoring her soul by the "washing of water with the Word" (Ephesians 5:26). When Ann lifted her head, her eyes sparkled with the joy of God's presence, and her heart was filled with praise and thanks for God's marvelous victory.
Authority in Him. By God's authority, Ann was set free to receive God's riches. This same authority is available to all God's people when they wear His armor. To His people who are willing to share His death and resurrection life, Jesus offers authority to release the powers of the kingdom. Joined to Him in heart, life, and purpose, we may apply the realities of Christ's spiritual victories to our own needs and battles.
At the same time, we cannot refuse the sword of the Word and the cutting of the cross which releases us from the flesh. Saving power only flows from willing surrender to the dying process that releases His resurrection life.
Jesus walked and lived in total oneness with the heart and will of His Father. He only did what He saw the Father doing. Likewise, I can wield heavenly authority and power only according to the direction of my King. He alone knows the perfect time and place for loosing and binding, for training in endurance, and for release from a trial.
The triumph of hope. God's hope opens my ears to hear His direction
and my heart to trust His timing. In the Old Testament, hope is referred to as waiting on God - patient, confident expectation that God will indeed accomplish all that He has promised.
My hope of salvation has prepared me to live in the full saving power of the kingdom. It has protected me against discouragement, futility, and despair. No matter how dark my day, I can count on bright light ahead.
My hope of salvation is for today. Like a pilot guiding his plane by radar through the night, so my Shepherd leads me through present temptation, danger, and darkness by His all-knowing wisdom, power, and love.
My hope of salvation is for tomorrow. No matter how difficult or painful my circumstances may be, I have a future more wonderful than anything imaginable. While I "wait on Him", Christ frees me from all forms of corruption. One day, He will present me as a holy and beautiful bride for all eternity.
The helmet of the hope of salvation sets our minds on the things above (Colossians 3:2). Therefore, like blinders on a horse, it guards us from distractions that would draw us off His course and away from the protection of His armor. While it keeps our eyes focused on our King, it transforms us into the likeness of the One we behold. In Him we are safe.
Wearing His Wardrobe
You put on the helmet of salvation when you affirm and apply the saving promises of God's strength, sufficiency, and sovereignty to your present circumstances. Follow these four steps each day.
1. As David treasured the memories of God's past triumphs (See Psalm 103), you also will be encouraged by reviewing God's victories in your life. Begin your day by remembering His personal love and care. What did He accomplish for you last year? Last week? Yesterday? Praise Him for His saving power.
2. Ask God to alert you to potential battles. What challenges do you face today? What enemy is stalking you? What weakness has brought recurrent defeat and discouragement in the past? Tell God your need. Ask Him for a Scripture that will assure you of His sufficiency and salvation in your circumstance. Meditate on the Scriptures below:
I Thessalonians 5:8-11
Psalm 25:1, 4-5, or 16-21
3. Write God a love letter describing your victory. He already knows, but He loves to listen to your heart speaking to Him and giving Him thanks. These documented triumphs will continue to bring encouragement in future battles.
4. Some of your victories may be private, while others have power to build faith and hope in people around you. Tell someone what God is doing for you. Your testimony will enlarge your faith 'and encourage your friend to trust God as you do.
Next:Chapter 7- Clothed with the Word