Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Whose weapon?

Like the belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness, the gospel is not about us but about someone else: Christ and his proclamation, “It is finished!”
     ~ MICHAEL S. HORTONarmor

I don’t like war movies.

Especially the kind that show blood and guts. I know such injuries and deaths happen in real life, but I’d rather not be exposed to the imagery of their reality.

Perhaps God knows I can’t handle seeing the reality of spiritual warfare either.

So he usually keeps it invisible, hidden from visual sight.

Except when it bleeds over into the physical realm. And vice-versa.

There is an “interconnectedness of body and soul, and therefore of physical and spiritual battle.”

In A Place for Weakness, author Michael Horton points out that “life’s crises, whether they start out as physical or spiritual, end up involving the whole person in any case.”

Both the physical and spiritual battles are real,
whether we see them or not.

And the weapons we fight with are real, too,
whether we see them or not.

The beauty of our spiritual weapons—the most effective ones—are that they come from outside us. Not made by our own hands or human intelligence, they come straight from Christ and his righteousness.

Of our weapons listed in Ephesians 6:10-18,

None of these defenses mentioned are our own.

We do not read here about our marvelous Christian experience, our love for the saints, our progress in obedience, our passion for God.

…To be sure, we find calls to obedience in Scripture, and heeding these is an unmistakable mark of a Christian. But they are not the Christian’s defenses in wartime.

Every item mentioned in Paul’s list is external to us. Donning someone else’s armor, we are standing in someone else’s strength.

The testimony that prevails in this battle is not about us and what we have done or how we have improved, but a witness to God and what he has done in Christ.

Living a Christ-centered life means we’re privileged to fight
with Christ-centered weaponry,
using his strength, not our own—
     when we see it and when we don’t.

* * *

How do you succeed in living a Christ-centered life?

This is our last week to discuss A Place for Weakness at Elizabeth’s.

14 comments:

Diana Lovegrove said...

So you want to know how I succeed in living a Christ-centred life? By turning turtle when it all goes wrong, diving inward, looking to my own resources, flailing around, realising I don't have any answers myself, give up, and THEN look to Christ, and THEN see that He is the Answer :) I do think there is an easier solution ;)

Lisa notes... said...

Diana,
I found that turtle imagery very apropos for me too. So I guess that means we’re slow learners? :-)

I liked how Horton concluded the thought:

“But as counterintuitive as it is for us, we must turn outward at precisely these times and hope only in the Lord, whatever our conscience threatens, whatever blandishments Satan offers, whatever our experience tells us is the obvious case.”

So maybe there’s hope for us yet? ;-)

tinuviel said...

What a comforting and encouraging reminder! Once again, well-chosen quotes. This book gets another star in my to-read queue. :)

Thanks for sharing this! Grace and peace to you in Christ.

Lisa notes... said...

I don’t think you’d be disappointed in this book. He rambled just a tad (in my opinion) from time to time, but that’s just a pet peeve of mine. ;-) Overall it is an excellent book with much value in scriptural truths. If you read it let me know what you think.

Brian Miller said...

nice...will check out the book...and spiritual warfare...i think the biggest thing for me in this battle is just not getting lazy...when life gets to those comfortable moments it is easy to cruise and when that happens you are really going back even if you dont realise it and then get blindsided...

findingthemotherlode said...

Hi Lisa,

Great "notes" on the book's Spiritual Warfare chapter. I've really enjoyed your "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed" comments every week. It's been a great encouragement to me knowing that you've been strengthened by the discussion.

And it blesses me even more to know that I've gained a friend in the faith.

May all grace abound,
-E

Lisa notes... said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. The blessing has been mine. I appreciate your faithfulness and thoroughness each week to summarize each chapter and provide your own take and favorite quotes. It was very helpful to those of us reading the book. And those not reading the book itself were able to get the main points from it just from your blog.

I thank God for women like you who are theologically-grounded and have a thirst for the Truth. If you do another book study, count me in!

Nancy said...

I was involved in a study of Isaiah this year and found deep comfort there in the promise that no weapon forged against God's people will stand. Sometimes they seem so powerful. This piece presented the other side of the battle, the positive, more powerful, victorious one. And, yes, our weapons are real--seen or unseen.

Lisa notes... said...

Nancy,
That reminds me of one of my favorite songs “Desert Song” that has lyrics from there:

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain


I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here


So thankful that He hasn’t left us defenseless or alone!

Lisa T said...

Thanks for this. Though I often try to take the battle on in my own strength, the success is only in His. So amazing that He gives us everything we need!

Kati patrianoceu said...

Wow, I'm kind of taken with the irony of my post in light of your post this week ... Two very different directions from a single starting point. Thanks for broadening my thinking.

Lisa notes... said...

Yes, Lisa T, it is quite amazing that (a) he cares enough to give us everything we need, (b) he has power enough to actually do it, and (c) he lets us know he’s doing it so we don’t have to worry about it. (So why do I??? That’s another blog post…)

Lisa notes... said...

Kati,
I also found it ironic how our two posts this week were kind of eerily connected. Yours made me feel guilty about mine. Ha. I’m trying to stretch more in your direction though; hearing perspectives like yours helps me. Otherwise, I can too easily block it out.

emily wierenga said...

thank you dear lisa... for making me realize my battle today was a spiritual one. (and so often, is...)

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