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Dressing For Intercession
How to Avoid Holes In Your Armor
The Helmet of Salvation
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 for us to be vulnerable to Satan's attacks. That is why He gives us the spiritual armor to put on. Each piece is specially designed to protect us from a specific form of attack of 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.
Salvation is knowing who we are in Christ. It is being assured that our sins are forgiven and that we are adopted into God's family as sons and daughters of God. Salvation is entering into a close and intimate relationship with God, our loving father. It is becoming comfortable in His presence and having that confidence and boldness to approach Him. It is knowing that we are deeply and fully loved by our Father God and that we are accepted in the beloved.
We discussed this thoroughly in lesson 2, so I won't go into much detail here. But disqualifying ourselves is thinking that God can't or won't use us because we have not lived up to some standard or another. It is thinking that we don't deserve to do anything for God's kingdom because of some past shortcoming in our life. It tends to make us give up instead of stepping onto the field of intercession.
This can take on many different forms. We may think that we are not really forgiven, and behave as though we are still separated from God. The most common form of that is feeling that we need to be punished when we sin, even though we have repented. So we put some distance between ourselves and God. We cut ourselves off from intimacy with Him. We, in effect, tell ourselves that the blood of Jesus and forgiveness of sins may work instantly for others, but not in our case. The enemy tries hard to convince us that God's promises are for everyone else but don't really apply to us (e.g., others are forgiven, but "God is mad at me for this particular sin and it will take Him a while to forgive me for it.")
If we don't understand what our salvation really means to us, then we are not properly wearing the helmet of salvation. Without the helmet, we can begin to exclude ourselves from the promises of God. That helmet guards our minds from the attacks that the enemy uses, and the enemy tries to keep us from walking in all that God has called us to walk in. (As you will see in lesson 7, this is closely related to the belt of truth.)
We need to know what our salvation really means, both with our understanding (our minds) and experientially. We need to be confident of who we are in Him and we need to be confident that He does desire intimate relationship with us. Then we need to learn to walk and live in that intimacy with God.
If the helmet of salvation is not firmly in place, we become vulnerable to misconceptions about God and our relationship with Him. This could lead to wrong images of God, such as thinking that He is mad at us or that He wants to punish us. For example, if you have a mental image of God the Father being ready to clobber you any time you make a mistake, then your helmet of salvation needs an adjustment. A few other fallacies of a missing helmet include: thinking that God won't answer our prayers, thinking that God does not want to give us good gifts and being afraid to step out in faith and obedience because God won't meet you as you obey Him.
In my case, I believed that no matter what I did, I could not please God. My own father was demanding and impossible to please, so it is not surprising I saw God that way. I would try so hard, hoping to please Him, but I never believed that I had actually pleased Him. Then one day God spoke to me and said, "Teresa, I am pleased with you."
"Oh yes, God!" I prayed, "I really do want to please you some day! I really do!!!"
"No, Teresa, I did not say some day. I said now. You have made it future tense, but I am talking present tense. Teresa, I want you to stop disbelieving Me in this area. I am pleased with you right now. I want you to know that I am a reasonable God and that I am pleasable."
It was actually quite a struggle for me to accept that. My natural mind kept finding reasons why God could not be pleased with me, despite the desire of my heart to please Him. But the Holy Spirit worked with me to help me get the helmet of salvation firmly in place. Then I was able to have a realistic understanding of my relationship with God, purchased through the blood of Jesus and given freely to me.
The opposite of lack of confidence is overconfidence. Overconfidence is just as much of a fallacy as lack of confidence. We may think that God's rules and guidelines do not apply to us because we are saved. We may feel that we can keep on deliberately sinning and that it will be okay because Jesus died for our sins. We may think that we don't have to walk in obedience to God and that we can to on living for our own selfish desires and ambitions. But Jesus said in John 14:15 that we must obey Him because we love Him.
If we continually break God's rules and guidelines, we will suffer the consequences. For instance, if we walk in unforgiveness and bitterness, the Lord will allow the enemy to torment us. We must not think that because we are God's children we have carte blanche to do whatever we like and that God is obligated to bless us. Instead, we are to live a lifestyle of obedience, giving Him Lordship in every area of our lives.
Did you know that rejection issues are not just a sickness to be healed of? It is also a sin to turn away from!
When we walk in self-rejection, we call God a liar. He said that we are accepted in the beloved (Eph 1:6) and that we are no longer under condemnation (Rom 8:1). So when we reject ourselves, we disagree with God and tell Him that He is wrong about us.
I suffered a lot from rejection issues for a number of years. I think I became an expert on it from living it for so long. I was very unhappy and I was always on my guard. The rejection issues tended to surface when I did not want them to and caused me all sorts of interpersonal relationship problems. It affected my behavior. I did not consciously intend to do this, but over and over I would behave poorly (e.g. sin). I would be defensive, unloving, hostile, critical of others, etc. I virtually made it impossible for others to like me and get close to me. I did not understand it at the time, but the unconscious underlying mechanism was that I was so sure that they were going to reject me for who I was that I wanted to make them reject me for some other reason instead. I would unconsciously try to make it impossible for them to like me, and I usually succeeded. Many people suffering from rejection have similar patterns. The good news is that God can help you to overcome them! You don't have to be a slave to them any more.
Did you know that God commands us to love ourselves? He really does. He commands us to "love one another as we love ourselves" which means that there is an implied command to love ourselves. Let's look at a few verses:
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.
Matt 22:37-39 (and Mark 12:31 and Luke 10:27)
- Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
- This is the first and greatest commandment.
- And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
When we reject ourselves, we disobey God's command to love ourselves. We also call God a liar and walk in disbelief of what He has said about us that we are accepted in the beloved and no longer under condemnation. Rejection issues are lies from the enemy, designed to keep us from walking in the fullness of what God has called us to walk in.
If you struggle with these issues, it is time to make a conscious choice to turn from them, and to begin to embrace what God has said about you. Repent and turn to God and be restored into the fullness of all He has for you. Believe God. He is on your side and He loves you. He desires that you be whole and complete in every way and He is capable of doing this in your life starting right now, this very minute.
Let's fill ourselves with the truth of what our salvation really means. Here is just a small set of the good things that happen to us because we are saved:
- 1 Corinthians 6:20 (Bought with a price)
- you were bought at a price...
- 1 Peter 2:4-5 (precious, acceptable to God)
- As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
- 1 Thessalonians 1:4 (we are chosen by God)
- For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
- Ephesians 1:5 (Adopted into His family)
- He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will..
- Romans 8:1 (no longer condemned)
- Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
- Luke 12:27-31 (God takes care of our needs)
- "Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
- If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!
- And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.
- For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.
- But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
- Matt 7:7-11 (God likes to give us good gifts)
- "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
- For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
- "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
- Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?
- If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
- Romans 8:17 (Joint heirs with Christ)
- And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
- Romans 6:22 (free from sin, eternal life)
- But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.
- Ephesians 1:17 (intimacy with God, or knowing Him better)
- I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
- Ephesians 3:19 (we are filled with His fullness)
- and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
We need to fill our mind with these truths of who we are in Christ and what our relationship to God is. We need to know and understand what God did for us when He saved us. Then when the enemy tries to come along with his lies, we pull out God's truth and throw it in his face. We say, "Satan, you are a liar and your lie has no more power over me. Here is what God says about this..." Then put your faith in what God says instead of in what Satan is trying to tell you.
Do any of these issues apply to you? Have you been operating under negative misconceptions of who God is and what your relationship to Him is? Do you lack confidence? Or do you suffer from some rejection issues?
The Holy Spirit is present right now. He wants to help you place the helmet of salvation firmly on your head. He wants you to enter into a full understanding (both mentally and experientially) of all the wonderful things Jesus did for you when He saved you. It is yours, and He intends for you to walk in it.
Bow your head right now and talk to Him about this. Tell Him the areas you are struggling with and invite Him to come in and bring His reality and His truth into those areas. Invite Him to teach you what it means for you to walk in the fullness of your salvation. Commit afresh to His Lordship in your life and invite Him to reveal everything that He has for you as a child of God. Ask Him to make it real to you, to shine in His light and dispel the lies of the enemy. Ask Him to take you deeper into intimacy with Him and to teach you to walk out His Lordship in every area of your life.
He is present to meet you right now, so go talk to Him about this and watch Him work His love and His glory in you right now.