Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sword at my Side

This ladies Bible Study I'm in right now (and probably for a loooong time to come-praise Jesus) has been a game changer for me. And by game changer, I mean it has totally wrecked my former way of life. I was seriously stuck in the common trap of complacency and comfort...and the sad thing was that I didn't mind it there. That's the problem with a lot of Christians these days....we are content to be complacent. But being complacent is actually spiritually draining - which seems ironic if you think about it. You'd think it would be more draining to actively seek the Lord but it's actually energizing, in the spiritual sense.

When you are simply going through life without seeking first the Kingdom, you don't have the proper attire or the proper strength to fight off the enemy, so when his attacks come (and come they will), you are not prepared. You have no defense. Trying to run from the attack drains you more and doing this on your own will eventually cause you to surrender to the wrong side.

In our incredible study of Nehemiah, we have bumped across countless instances where the relevance of this Old Testament story has blown me away. This really shouldn't happen as the Bible has been, is today, and always will be relevant in any culture but you get the point. In Chapter 4, when the enemies of the Jews rebuilding the wall are threatening death, Nehemiah says this: 

"And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people,“Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
15 And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. 16 So it was, from that time onthat half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. 17 Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.18 Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built." 

There is so much in these five verses that I could probably sit here and write for hours and never scratch the surface. So I'll focus on the areas I emphasized in bold italics. First of all, in every trial, whenever you are facing opposition, REMEMBER THE LORD, GREAT AND AWESOME! Before, during, and after the fight - remember the Lord. He is faithful and because He is for us, no one can truly be against us. Because God is for us, He will bring the enemy's plot to nothing. We will overcome in His name. But when you are facing spiritual warfare (as we all are - we just don't see it), life as we live it ceases to exist. We have to have a "from that time on" sort of stance where we decide that we are going to do things differently from now on.

And that brings me to the crucible of this whole passage. 
Notice that the Jews continued to build the wall. They continued doing the work of the Lord despite the enemy's threats and despite the opposition they were facing. They had a job to do. But notice - do not miss it, friends - that "every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built." Isn't that how we should be? Shouldn't we have the sword of the Spirit, that is, the very WORD OF GOD, girded at our side as we go about doing the work of the Lord. It has to be so. The word "girded" as defined on dictionary.com (hey, don't judge me) is this: "to encircle or bind with a belt or band; to surround or enclose; to prepare for action; [and my personal favorite] - to provide or equip with power or strength." The sword of the Spirit, the word of God, equips us with the power we need to defend against the enemy when he comes in the midst of our building and working. 

It's no coincidence that our Pastor spoke on the sword of the Spirit on Sunday and about how the Word does not exist to increase our knowledge but to change our lives. Our very Savior used it to defend against the temptations of Satan in the wilderness and HE WAS THE SON OF GOD. Who are we to think we don't have to have it attached to us at all times. Does it literally mean that you are going to walk around with a Bible hanging from your belt loops, slapping you in the knees as you walk? I mean, you totally could and I will not judge you at all. Maybe you can start a new trend. But it needs to be in our hearts. We need to know it. And when I say, "WE," the first person I'm addressing is myself. In the last few weeks though, I've grown such an affection for the Word and I'm just thirsty for more of it. So as the Lord takes me deeper into relationship with Him, I am keeping His Word, my Sword, at my side. When the enemy comes, I plan to be ready. Who's with me?

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