For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome
Practicing the doing of the Word.
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”
Practicing the peace(shoes), the righteousness (breastplate), the salvation (helmet), the faith (shield), the truth (belt), the scripture (sword), praying (the activator) is work. When we speak of salvation it is a gift, not of works, lest anyone should boast; we are not saying there is no work. A misconception that is commonly heard. What is said is simply the truth that we cannot work to attain salvation; but salvation, the gift, comes with a set of instructions so that it may be complete. We do the instructions; following them requires practice. Even in this, God is the enabler, we are not abandoned to a task impossible…
So what does this practice look like? When one decides to learn a new skill, one first researches it; studies it; asks for a ‘master’ of the skill to help. Then one begins to practice that skill. Simply wanting the skill does not make one skilled at it. The celebrities of the world did not go out onto a rink, onto a court, onto a stage and begin their ‘game’ untaught and unpracticed.
How does one practice a skill of the Christ-like lifestyle? Not by following a set of restrictions, but by being freed up from fear to continue the practice. Freedom from fear of failure, fear of inability, fear of inadequacy allows confidence in who one is, the identity in Christ, and what tools are available to use in the quest for an overcoming life full of the blessing found listed in Ephesians. Who one is in Christ and what is available to the believer is found clearly defined in Ephesians 1-3.
Begin with study. We have a study guide full of encouragement and advice directly from God! Follow with coaching from one already skilled. We have teachers of the Word and those walking in faith as well as fellow students at different levels of ability. Pray, asking for that promised enabling that comes from God, keeping the focus on “the ball”, “the light,” the Lord, not on the circumstances.
In conflict, follow Psalm 62: My soul, waits in silence for God alone; my salvation (from the conflict) comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation (not any other source; money, job, etc.) my stronghold; I won’t be greatly moved. ( emotions are recognized but don’t rule my actions). I sit, listen, wait. I’m gathering information about the other person, about the nature of the conflict, and I’m hearing the voice of the spirit in the Word I’ve already placed in my heart and mind. I speak only when given prodding to speak by the spirit, not by the emotion. This is practicing peace(shoes). Dug in and standing firm, unmoved by emotion or fear. It is practicing truth(belt), it is practicing the Word in action ( sword and shield). Activate it all by praying the scripture in the heart and mind; ready for use in deflecting accusations.
Pray – My soul waits in silence for God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and salvation, my stronghold; I won’t be greatly moved. Putting on the helmet of salvation and the shoes of peace.
Repent – I repent for those times I have placed my efforts before your instructions came; Moving out in my own strength without waiting for your commands, without seeking Your commands.
Ask- My soul, wait in silence for God alone, because my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and salvation, my stronghold; I won’t be moved. O God, You are my God, I will seek you eagerly. My heart thirsts for You, my body longs for You…, my lips will worship You.
Yes – Yes, I will bless you as long as I live.
Sources: Psalm 62,63; Ephesians 1, 4, 6