Thanks for taking time to read this series of posts “55 for 55: Passages of Scripture that mean a lot to me.” Below are the passages that continue in this series. Thanks again and may God bless you as He has done so with me by conveying His love and wisdom to me through the Bible.
16. Ephesians 6: 11-16: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Theres far too much to reap from this passage than we have time, but there are two points that I’d like to mention here.
First, is that in v.11, the word for “schemes” is “Methodeia.” We obtain our English word “Method” from this word but the takeaway here is that the Devil’s method is exposed for us. Methodeia is a compound word as “Metha” means “With” + “Hodos” means “A Road.” Stay with me here.
Dr. Spiros Zodhiates and his team of researchers provided great insight in the describing of the Devil’s method here: “Method, the following or pursuing of an orderly and technical procedure in the handling of a subject, where evil doing, craft or wile is connected.”
So what does this look like practically? Think about having a person observe you from the day you were born, walking and traveling with you every step of the way, taking copious notes about every experience you’ve had in life (good, bad and ugly) as he’s lying in wait with the intent to traumatize, kill or destroy you at the opportune moment. Thats the Devil’s method or scheme. And I don’t think he takes a day off, which speaks to the need for us to put on the Armor of God on a daily basis.
Second, my research (and I apologize I don’t have the citation) revealed that some Roman shields (v.16) during the time of Christ had their hand straps located off center on the shield, which meant the shield covered 2/3 or your body and 1/3 of your comrade’s body. This strategy was created so that the soldier would be more inclined to march together toward the enemy versus separate (or desert) from his fellow soldier during battle. To desert meant part of your body was exposed to the “flaming arrow” of the enemy, so it was in their best interest to stick together.
My takeaway? Its better to have “battle tested” friends (and Sponsors, Guides, Pastors, Therapists or other supportive people) with you during times of attack to be successful against the accusative and merciless barrages from the Enemy of Humanity.
17. Romans 7:14-8:2: “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
I wish I could say that by arming myself with the Armor of God, that I’ve been successful in every battle against the Enemy. I wish I could say that I’ve taken every thought and made it submissive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), but I’ve fallen short of that intention as well.
I wish I could say that I’ve thought before speaking, listened without rebuttal, or acted without ill-will, but I can’t say that here. What I can say is that I resonate with Paul’s words here about having the best intent in mind but I’ve wound up being ineffectual in my actions, and have caused too much hurt in those encounters with others. Can I blame it on the Enemy? I could, but I take full responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions. They’re mine and at times in my life, they haven’t been too good. As I consider my actions, I’m thankful that my conscience feels regret and that my actions have also demonstrated amends to others.
But I also connect with the hope that Paul speaks about in the last few verses here. I know that on my own power, the changes in my life that I seek to live by won’t occur consistently nor with the quality that I purpose if change depended solely on me. Like Paul, I realize its Jesus who releases the cords of sin that bind my heart and mind, so that the Holy Spirit could help to make me someone different and someone victorious. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory!
18. Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I love this passage of scripture because Jesus describes and provides a unique form of rest for us. The Greek word for Rest is “Anapausis,” from which our English word “Pause” comes from. The word picture here is to “relax the strings that have been drawn tight.”
I’m not a musician, however, I’d imagine that if the strings of a guitar were drawn too tight, it would be pretty difficult to play a beautiful or melodious song on that instrument. If the strings were loosened, its possible that harmony and sweet music could be played and heard by all.
Perhaps thats what Jesus had in mind when He asked us to come to Him to receive this precious gift; He wants to relax the strings of anxiety, guilt, shame, embarrassment, perfectionism, addiction, sin, etc., that’s choking us like a noose around our neck, so that by regaining our strength we could purpose to learn a new way of living. Thank you Jesus for your love and mercy and for relaxing the strings and removing the noose that have bound me tight!
19: Romans 12:1-2: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
This was one of the first scriptures that I memorized! It was when I was a young Christian and realized that my response to the incredible gift that God had given to me was to offer up my body and life to be given over to Him in service. Again, I’m thankful for the call that Jesus, via Paul and the Holy Spirit imparted to me!
Keep in mind that “perfect” (Telios) does not mean the absence of error. Perfect means for everything to be “completely organized into its place.”
Think about it like puzzle pieces that are to be put together with the help of God and others in your life. This means that the dark, ugly and regretful pieces are also joined with the beautiful, graceful and transcendent pieces to depict a story, as any puzzle thats assembled does. Thats my life and yours; not pretty at times, but hopefully the outcome of our life puzzle, “when its all done,” will be something breathtaking and beautiful to behold! Thankfully, we get to “co-create” beautiful and meaningful pieces each day that resemble the person God has always wanted us to become!
20. Matthew 5:23-24: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
The Greek word for “First” is Protos, from which we get our English word Prototype. As I consider the practical application of what Jesus said here in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7), if we know someone is irritated with us, it might blow their mind for us to take the initiative to approach them and inquire about how to solve the impasse between us.
This may be a “prototypical problem solving model” that they’ve never seen implemented before and your behavior might just “wow” them if you walk down the hall, pick up the phone and call, or show up on their doorstep to implement behavior that creates reconciliation.
It also reduces the possibility of a resentment being created within you, as a resentment, per the French definition of Resentir, means to “re-feel the feeling,” which could be pain, hurt, sadness, self-pity or angry feelings that we could be tempted to hold against them.
You could find the next 5 passages of scripture (#21-25) in this “55 for 55” series by clicking here.
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