Photo Credit: Henry Hustava via Unsplash
When you know that your mind is the battlefield you need a strategy that will not fail. One of the things that I have found for me is that if I am not careful my thoughts will lead me down paths I do not need to be on. Every time my mood takes a serious hit it can often be because I failed to control my thought life.
This past week I have received a challenge in one of my devotions. The challenge to intentionally put on the spiritual armor every day for the next 7 days. I’ll be honest for many years I didn’t understand the spiritual armor. It sounded like a nice concept but I didn’t know how to apply it. No one ever bothered to tell me that the armor was about prayer or that it was applied through prayer. Certainly I was never told that you must apply it daily.
It has been only in the last year that I have come to understand much about this ongoing spiritual battle or how to win it. Let’s look at what the Bible says, my favorite version is the Message:
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
19-20 And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time, telling the mystery to one and all, the Message that I, jailbird preacher that I am, am responsible for getting out.
You can also read it in the Amplified Classic Edition. I love the be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. That spoke to me in the midst of my depression struggles even then I missed the fact that this was a prayer strategy. It is essential to learn to apply what God has given us.
I have said it before and I will say it again there is much that I do not yet know or understand in the Word. There is a lot that I may get with my head that hasn’t become a heart revelation. I have learned over the years though that I love a good challenge. I once did the KLOVE 30 day challenge and the results were amazing. Listen to nothing but KLOVE for 30 days and see it make a difference. Soon after that, I gave away all my secular music as I found I had no use for it anymore. I also did a challenge that said read the 4 gospels 4 times in 30 days to experience a greater revelation of Jesus. The results to that also impacted my life. First I was reading way more scripture in the course of my day. But also the bible was coming alive in ways that it had not before. I try not to do it often because I tend to like to linger slowly and really open up the scriptures. I try to do it at least once a year. So when I saw the challenge to apply the Spiritual Armor for 7 days I was like piece of cake, I’m in. I’ll be honest I didn’t really expect that I would see any big results.
That may be my first mistake. I have this way of saying, God, I’ll do it but thinking it will not show me much. One of the first times I told God I was going to listen to a sermon and leave and it will not impact me. God turned my life upside down. It was a speaker from World Vision about sponsoring children and I had no money to give. So I should know better.
The reality of this is that I’ve not been in the best place lately. There has been a lot going on around me and I’ve been struggling. So I begin the challenge by reading a prayer that I once copied from a book by Charles Stanley on applying the armor. Days 1-2 were good. No real problems with keeping myself grounded in God. Day 3 hits though and before I am out of bed good my imagination is taking off where it will. I get dressed, spend time with God and begin to get on the computer. I’m wondering why my thoughts are so all over the place going where they should not be. I’m starting to check my email and it hits my spirit you never applied the Armor today. Jump up and run back to the bedroom, say the prayer and apologize for forgetting. My thoughts were already going the wrong direction. Thinking thoughts of rejection and other things. Well, it takes me time to quit meditating on something once I allow my mind to go there. But soon I regained control. I may have had to remind myself of Philippians 4:8 because the word is our weapon.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Then began the controlling of the mind mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
The difference in Wednesday from every other day this week stood out like night versus day. I am sure that this will now become a new part of my daily practice. Now that I realize how to apply the armor it no longer confuses me as it did before. Open your bible and pray through the scriptures in Ephesians 6, applying each piece to your life. I love the one I copied from Charles Stanley and I will include it below for anyone who would like to use it.
Now I challenge you to apply it for the next seven days if you do not already and see how it affects your life. Then please come back and share the difference.
Putting on Your Spiritual Armor
By Charles Stanley
Lord, by faith here’s what I am doing right now to prepare myself for the coming day. I’m putting on the belt of truth. I ask you to make it very clear to me what I am to accept into my life and what I am to reject. Help me to see clearly the motives of others as they deal with me and converse with me. Let me walk in Your truth, making decisions and choices according to your plans and purposes for my life.
I am putting on the breastplate of righteousness. Guard my emotions today. Protect my heart. Help me to take into my life only the things that are pure, and nothing that is poison or polluting. Help me to live in integrity and to have a reputation based upon doing, saying, believing, thinking and feeling the right things. Help me to live in right relationship with you every moment of this coming day.
I am putting on my spiritual boots. Help me to stand and walk in Your peace and to move forward in ways that bring Your peace and love to others. Help me to have the full confidence and assurance that come from knowing that I am filled with the peace that only you can give to those who are your children. Help me to be a peacemaker. Show me where to walk and how to walk as you would walk.
I am picking up the shield of faith. Help me to trust you to be my Victor in every area of my life today. Help me to trust you to defend me, provide for me, and keep me in safety, every hour of this day.
I am putting on my helmet of salvation. Guard my mind today. Bring to my remembrance all that you have done for me as my Savior. Let me live in the hope and confidence that You are saving me-rescuing me and delivering me – from evil.
I am picking up my sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Bring to my remembrance today the verses of the Bible that I have read and memorized, and help me to apply them to the situations and circumstances I will face. Let me use Your Word to bring Your light into the darkness of this world and to defeat the devil when he comes to tempt me.
Father, I want to be fully clothed with the identity of Jesus Christ today. I am in Christ. He is in me. Help me to fully realize and accept that He is my Truth, my Righteousness, my Peace, my Savior, the source of my Faith, and the ever-present Lord of my life.
I want to bring glory to Your name today. I ask all of this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
If you would like to download and print a copy for yourself here is a printable one for you.