Strength and Courage

by on December 22, 2013

Philippians 4:13(NKJV)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  
Ephesians 6:10-17(NIV)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Following Jesus in todays world takes strength, courage and perseverance.  We need to stay firmly rooted in his word and be prepared to withstand opposition. We all need his help to persevere walking the life he has called us to live. We are called to abide in him, which seems a whole lot easier when the path is flat and smooth.  When the path becomes more strenuous, rocky and shifting, I need frequent reminders that abiding is what I need to do moment by moment, trusting he will help me shoulder the strain.
God didn’t exactly say following him would be a piece of cake, however Jesus did say,
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30) 
A yoke is used to couple two oxen together so that they can plow together, sharing the load and the weight of the plow, making it easier for them to work in tandem.  The yoke of Jesus is the same for us.  When we are connected with him, He works within us to help us follow His way of life.  Jesus helps us shoulder the load, directing us along the path of righteous living, instilling wisdom, filling us with love and generosity, and he loves us enough to pick us back up again when we fall down. He provides us with grace and mercy. He is the one who helps us follow him, teaching us to abide in him. 
God speaks of his armor in Ephesians.  He provides all we need to live in this world.  We have his strength and we need to remind ourselves to put on his armor of protection when we are moving about our day, to be appropriately dressed for the battle. You wouldn’t leave the house in a snowstorm without hat, mittens, boots and emergency gear would you? We as Christ followers shouldn’t leave the house without being properly prepared for opposition and life challenges. 
I’ve come to realize I need to carry that armor in a way that helps me to abide more closely in him.  To wear my hikers through the strenuous climbs, to dig more deeply into his truth to sustain me, to put up my shield to protect myself from the sharp rocks during the climb, and to carry his sword in front of me in preparation for what may come. For me, the practices of daily Bible reading and journaling helps to keep me in the sweet spot of abiding in Him.
Are you struggling to persevere through your daily life? Do you know Jesus who is ready and able to provide you protection from the storms of life? Won’t you take some time to get to know him and learn of the armor available to you if you would trust and abide in Him. (YouVersion Bible)
Gods Armor:
Belt of Truth-Read my Bible for its truth will support me, hold me up like a belt holds up my jeans.
Breastplate of Righteousness-Protects my heart, my life, from the worlds lies. 
Feet fitted for readiness-My feet are ready to go where God calls me to share the gospel. Ready to flee when attacked or tempted. Sturdy shoes for the climb ahead that is life.
Shield of Faith-Protects my body from attacks. My faith must be nurtured, grown, and firmly rooted so that I can withstand attacks. Growing my faith is no ones job but mine. The Holy Spirit will help me, but I must be the one to read my Bible, to pray, and nurture my faith. 
Helmet of Salvation-protects my mind from outside attacks.  Knowing my Bible and having a relationship with Christ is my protection. For I know my salvation is secure in Him.
Sword of the Spirit-God’s Word. Carry his truth, his words in my heart and I am ready for battle. The Holy Spirit provides the wisdom and courage to persevere. 


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