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Dressing For Intercession
How to Avoid Holes In Your Armor
The Belt of Truth
In the first four lessons, we discovered that we need the armor of God because the battle is real. The enemy does NOT want us effective in prayer and intercession because it tears down his kingdom as we build God's kingdom. So Satan comes against us and does all he can to stop us. But God does not intend that we be vulnerable to Satan's attacks. That is why He gives us the spiritual armor to put on. Each piece is especially designed to protect us from a specific form of attack from the enemy.
It is important that we understand what each piece is, the type of attack that it protects against and how to put that piece of armor on. Then we will be fully clothed and able to stand firmly in the battle. God does not want us to become casualties of war, He wants us to be overcomers in Christ. He wants us to walk in His victory. That is why He has given us this armor. So let's be sure to put it on.
The belt of truth is knowing God's reality and not allowing the enemy to substitute his lies for it. There are three areas in which this is particularly important:
He is our king, ruler, holy, righteous, all powerful, all loving, just, good, pure. The list goes on and on. He is truly awesome, and we are to be in a close and intimate relationship with this awesome God.
If you want to know TRUTH, then you must turn to Jesus for He is the way, the truth and the light (John 14:6). And again, if you want to know God the Father, you must go through Jesus, for Jesus said that no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6-11). If you want to know who God is, you need to be deeply seated in Christ, because it is Jesus who reveals the Father to us.
Once we are in Jesus, we are in relationship with God the Father (John 1:12-13) and the Holy Spirit dwells in us (John 15:26, John 14:25-27) and reveals God and God's truth to us. You see, the whole Trinity is active in revealing Himself to us. We are to know who He is, both through His written word and through God Himself revealing Himself to us as we are in relationship with Him through Christ.
As we get to know who God is, we can have confidence in Him because we find that He is a good Father, He is loving and He gives good gifts to His children. We find that He meets our needs, that He empowers us and that He gives us His victory. We find that He is wonderful and that it is good to be with Him and to serve Him. We find that He is mighty and that He is sovereign and that He is trustworthy.
We must turn our eyes to Him and to know who God is. But it does not stop there. We must also know the truth of who we are in Christ.
The area where the enemy most wants to attack us is in knowing just who we are in Christ. Satan desires to pervert that understanding and to try and make us ineffective for the kingdom.
The truth of who we are in Christ is both awesome and encouraging. We are God's beloved children. We have been made righteous and holy and pure. We are now co-laborers with Christ, soldiers in His army. He has made us victorious overcomers, filled with His power and authority and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. God Himself resides in us and transforms us to be like Him. We are desired and we are accepted in the beloved.
From God's written word, we know that it is not His will that any should perish. We know that we are commissioned to share the Good News about Jesus. And we know that it is His will for His kingdom to advance. We know that God desires that we give Him Lordship in our lives and be committed to obeying Him, and that as we commit ourselves to Him, He will allow us to work together with Him to further His kingdom. In short, God has an awesome plan for each of our lives, and He will empower us to walk effectively in this plan.
We are in deception any time that we substitute a lie of the enemy for the truth of God. It can be in regards to an area that seems positive or in regards to an area that seems negative. But if what we believe is contrary to the truth of God, it is deception, and it leads to death instead of to God's life.
Let's look at one of the enemy's most common lies:
The lie sounds attractive: that anyone can get to God (a good goal). It has an element of truth in it because Jesus has indeed made a way for ALL men to be saved. But the deception is that you can do it on your own terms instead of on God's terms. Satan's strategy is to take a truth about God and to twist it so that it is no longer true, but so that it sounds desirable to our carnal natures. Deception (Satan's lie) leads to death, but God's truth leads to life.
So how do we fight deception? It is not that hard:
A PERSONAL STORY OF HOW THE ENEMY TRIED TO DECEIVE ME
It seems that I often get to "live" my teachings as I write them. This series has been NO exception. And the enemy just got the better of me on deception the day I began working on this lesson. I had been away on ministry trips most of the month and had not seen much of my husband. He seemed to be away on business trips the times I was home from my ministry trips; we could not align our schedules. Ed finally got home the day after me. We had not seen each other for a few weeks. I called him from work to say hi. He was in a bad mood and said a lot of negative things to me, which made me feel very small and bad about myself. (Fortunately, he does not do that often.) This conversation really hurt my heart and I began to feel very discouraged. The next day I called a friend to share my heart with her but she was too busy to talk to me, which again made me feel bad. The enemy came in with a lie that I was unlovable. It was subtle, practically on an unconscious level.
The next night, I ran into a prophet friend of mine that I had not talked to for several months. I told her I felt a bit discouraged and asked her to please press into the Lord for a word for me. The word she had for me was so simple and so basic. The theme was: God loves you very much and He is pleased with you and you are dear to Him.
For some reason I had trouble receiving that (can you imagine having problems receiving a word like that!!) The enemy had been playing tricks with my mind, telling me that if my husband had said something negative about me, I must be messing up somehow. If I was messing up, how could God love me and be pleased with me? The deception of the enemy had taken root in my heart, and I was having trouble receiving the Lord's love.
The Lord dealt with that by taking me back to scripture and pointing out how I was made clean and pure by the blood of the lamb, how I had been adopted into God's family and how He loves me. As the truth of the scripture began to settle into my heart, I realized that I had fallen prey to a deception of the enemy. Sigh... but GLORY to GOD, He lifted me out of it with His truth. I purposed in my heart to embrace God's truth instead of the enemy's lie. Then I went back and reread that prophetic word about God's love for me, and the glow of His warmth and His acceptance flooded my being. The sense of discouragement lifted right off me and I have been fine since then. At first I was a bit embarrassed falling prey to this deception, but now I see that it makes a great object lesson for this teaching <sheepish grin>.
If we know the TRUTH of who God is, we cannot help but worship Him, for He is worthy of all worship. God deserves to be worshipped simply because of who He is (Ps 29:2, Is 44:23). Jesus said that God the Father expects us to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). Think about that. Who is the Truth? It is Jesus Himself (John 14:6). And the Spirit, of course, is the Holy Spirit. As we worship God the Father, both Jesus and the Holy Spirit become involved with us. We enter into communion with the Triune God through worship, and as we draw nearer to Him the enemy's attacks become less and less effective against us. Many other good things happen as we enter into the truth of who God is through our worship:
There is a very important principle here: we will tend to dwell where we focus our attention. A friend of mine once said something that really stuck with me:
We have a choice. We can dwell in the "sad lands" by focusing on our problems, or we can dwell in the "promised land" by focusing on God and worshipping Him.
Sometimes we fall into a trap as intercessors by focusing too much on the devil and his strategies instead of on God and His strategies. If we focus too much on Satan and what he is doing, we might lose sight of the Glory and power and majesty and sovereignty of God. Then we will tend to become depressed or discouraged.
We must be careful not to fall into the "big devil, little God" mindset, where the enemy and his strategies become more important to us than God and His strategies. Worship helps us keep our focus on God and who He is, and that is where it needs to remain.
The Gospel is supposed to be good news:
God loves you, He wants to be intimate with you. At His own great personal expense, He has provided a way for you to be in right relationship with Himself. He wants to give you life, He wants to give you joy, He wants to heal you, He wants to transform your nature, He wants to give you victory over sin and make you an overcoming one.
As you can see, that is VERY good news! Yet sometimes we tend to complicate or obscure this good news with all sorts of other things. We may start to preach our convictions (how we think we are to walk out our relationship with God) instead of the Good News. This can come out sounding like a bunch of death-producing rules and regulations instead of a life-producing relationship with God.
We are called to live holy. We are called to live pure. And the Holy Spirit convicts us differently on how to walk this out. We must not try to "lead" people to our convictions, (dos and don'ts of how to walk out our Christian life) but to God. There is a much better way. We should live our convictions (e.g., be living epistles). Then we can stick to preaching the Good News, and when we do God empowers His words.
Let me share an example:
The Lord brought me in touch with a lesbian woman. Let's call her Pat for the sake of this example, even though that is not her real name. Pat expected me to hate and detest her when I found out that she was a lesbian. Instead God had me apologize to her on behalf of the Christians who misrepresented Him to the homosexual community as someone who hated them and wanted to destroy them. The truth was that God loves them and wants to heal them and restore them. Then the Lord had me prophetically tell Pat several things about her past, to demonstrate that He really did know who she was and that He was stretching out His hand to her right then, and it was her choice as to whether or not she would take His hand. He would meet her right where she was and lead her by the hand to where she knew she needed to be.
Pat wanted to take God's hand, but she intuitively understood that this would mean leaving the homosexual lifestyle and she was not sure she was ready to do that. God said to tell her she had 2 weeks to decide. She marked the two weeks off on her calendar and each day she pondered whether or not to take God's hand. On the last day she accepted Jesus as her savior and Lord. Now I never told her what to do, I just helped her press into the Lord's love. But the Holy Spirit spoke to her and told her to move out of the apartment she shared with two other lesbians. So, she rented a room from a Christian couple. God continued to meet her and pretty soon the Holy Spirit told her that she had to give up drugs, so she quit. Cold turkey.
Understand that I never told her to do this, and the people at the church she started attending never told her to do that. We simply told her the good news of God's love for her, of how she could be in intimate relationship with Him and we helped her learn to pray and to know his voice. We presented the good news to her. We did not try to load her down with a bunch of rules and regulations. The Holy Spirit worked His transforming miracle in her and she cleaned up her act. She stopped sinning and began to walk in holiness. He convicted her heart and He empowered her to walk it out. We modeled personal holiness for her in our own lives, but we did not preach it to her. Instead we preached the love of God to her. And in less than 6 short months she was straight and drug free, for God himself had transformed her.
Has someone corrupted the good news to you? Go back to the simplicity and good news of it.
Here is God's part:
Your part is simple:
The Bible says that knowing the truth is being in relationship with God:
- John 4:23-24 (Jesus says)
- Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
- 1 John 5:20
- We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true--even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
The belt of truth is an area where you can be proactive with God. Become familiar with the truth of God's word. Read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, and invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you about it as you read your Bible. The more firmly we are rooted in God's truth (as clearly revealed in the Bible), the harder it is for Satan to deceive us.
Then be careful about where you put your focus. Choose to keep your attention on God and worship Him instead of dwelling on the problems. Make a conscious decision to worship God and remind yourself constantly of who He is and how wonderful and glorious He is. Choose not to dwell in the sad-lands by concentrating on the problems, instead choose to dwell in the promised land by turning from the problems to God and worshipping Him.
And if your walk with God has gotten complicated by a bunch of rules and regulations, by "dos and don'ts", turn back to the simplicity of the Gospel: that He loves you and that the Holy Spirit will transform you as you commit to obey Him. Just bow your head and pray this simple prayer, "Lord, I choose your truth and I renounce the lies of the enemy. I choose to make you Lord of every area of my life. Please teach me how to walk this out in my day-to-day life. Please reveal yourself and your truth to me. Amen."