Lately my mind has been on the scripture in Ephesians 6:10-18 where it talks about the importance of putting on your FULL armor of God, so that we can be ready to battle against the darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness. Then I turn over to Philippians 4:8 where it says to let our minds dwell on these things: whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, filled with excellence and worthy of praise. We can not keep our armor on if our minds, hearts, and bodies are drifting into all of the opposites of the above mentioned qualities.
We need others to help us keep accountable with these scriptures. God did not create us to be a "lone wolf" we need others in our daily life. We need to surround ourselves with those who can encourage and motivate us towards focusing on the things in life that are true, honorable, right, and pure (i.e. keeping our armor on). Especially when we are weak, we need those who are stronger to help hold us up (and accountable).
Part of putting (and keeping) our armor on and staying focused is the need to stop settling for sin and shame...stop accepting the negative thoughts and feelings. The mind is a powerful thing. If we constantly think we are a "loser" we will be a loser. If we think we are unworthy, we will be unworthy. If we think we will fail, we will fail. If we think we have crossed the line one to many times, we begin to believe that lie. Every time we focus on a lie or negativity it hinders our relationship with God. It stops our spiritual growth.
Another part of putting on the full armor of God is taking those lies and negativity captive and replacing them, slowly but steadily with the truth. Something you can choose to do to combat those lies (it’s a daily choice and a daily battle for every Christian) is to put specific scriptures or quotes on index cards and post them all over: on mirrors, in closets, in your car, inside your wallet, in drawers, wherever you will see them. That old saying “garbage in-garbage out" the same goes for the opposite. What is the opposite of garbage? TREASURE, so "treasure in –treasure out". Ask yourself, who am I choosing to surround myself with? What am I listening to on the radio or CD’s? What am I watching on TV? What magazines or books am I reading?
Ask yourself, is this pure? Is this lovely? Is this of good repute? In all honesty, I may ask myself those questions after the fact but, then it moves me towards confession and repentance. We can not be afraid of a healthy balance of guilt. We have to look at it as the Holy Spirit in us, moving us towards confession and repentance. Putting that “check” so to speak, in our hearts. We are always going to struggle because this is not Heaven (but remember even in our struggles we do have a choice). God also knows we are never going to be 100% perfect. He knows our flaws and weakness, what He wants is for us to come to Him with them.
For any relationship to be meaningful you must spend time together. You get to know each other, your likes, dislikes, your habits, your passions, etc. That is also true with our relationship with God (part of the armor and focus). God is not interested in a one sided relationship. Obviously we will never be equal with God, as He IS God and we are not but, He still wants a relationship with us. This is will keep your armor securely on.
This week challenge yourself to stop allowing "garbage" in and remember...treasure in treasure out!