When Times are Tough, Rejoice!

Are you going through a difficult time right now? Does you life seem to be nearly falling apart? Have you have a hard experience lately?

Everyone suffers.

I read somewhere once that “all people suffer.” This life is hard at times, sometimes really hard. Don’t we all ask at times, “Why me? Why, God? Why this? Why now?”

Peter wrote to people who were suffering.

The Apostle Peter wrote to Christians who were undergoing severe persecution. They must have asked those questions too. They were undergoing “fiery trials.” They were being slandered. There was the real possibility of fearful persecution from the Roman Empire. Christians were being martyred by Nero in Rome.

Peter’s epistles are a good read for tough times.

In the following verses Peter wrote some remarkable things…

1 Peter 4:12-14:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (NASB)

Rejoice!

He advises us to rejoice! Seems crazy, doesn’t it–certainly from a this-world perspective. We’ve heard the verse so many times, “All things work together for good…” (Romans 8:29), but at times that can be hard to believe.

But Peter counsels us: Don’t be surprised when difficulties come. Instead rejoice, be rejoicing even in the midst of it. Why? So on that glorious day in the future when Jesus is fully revealed, you will be able to rejoice a lot and with exaltation in the victory you obtained by your God-pleasing attitude. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12, NASB).

Believe God now.

You see, then we will be with the Lord, and we experience the blessings of those many trials, especially the ones we endured with a good attitude and with faith in God.  In fact, with Peter we will consider them precious…

More valuable than gold

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”  (1 Peter 1:6-9, NASB)

More precious than gold refined by fire. That’s a strong statement. How would you like to have a chest full of pure gold coins in your possession right now? That would be exciting, right?  Yet Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says those troubles we hate and all too often fear, are that precious.

Fit for Ministry

One last point: Just like Jesus, who went through the terrible suffering of His cross, can be touched by our troubles and weaknesses and is so able to help us (Heb. 2:18; 4:15), just like the Apostle Paul suffered a lot and yet, it fitted him for such an abundant ministry to believers then and now (Col. 1:24), so our troubles when we endure them with the best attitude (the rejoicing of faith) fit us to be a blessing to others.

And isn’t that a good definition of ministry: being a blessing to others?

I also read once that we should not “waste our sorrows.” How true. So let’s, you and I, remember that God is indeed in control, that we can indeed trust  Him, and set our hearts to do that. (1 Peter 4:19; Heb. 12:4-11.)

 

Believe in God, Daily Trust in Him

Ever wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep? Or, maybe it’s late and night and troublesome thoughts make it hard for you do dose off? That happens to me, and it happened the other night.

Something was disturbing about a dream, and I woke up. My pulse was throbbing, and I knew I would be awake for a while. Pondering that dream quickly lead me to fearful thinking.

So I sought the Lord, and He brought a small section of Scripture verse to my memory:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. “Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.
(Matthew 10:29-31, NASB)

And I thought, everything about us is important to God, so much so that the hairs of our heads are numbered. That’s detail.  God even takes note when a sparrow dies. And we are much more valuable to Him than sparrows.

My next thought was that many things happen in our lives. At times I am convinced that God has a program of events for us to live through, a trouble here, something to worry about there (along with plenty of good times thrown in). But challenges for us to overcome in faith. But the key is this: God is in control.  He’s not asleep at the switch. He knows what is going on. And if He allows trouble to come, it comes only because He allows it and it is for our own good.

Whether or not trouble and events are programmed for us, scheduled to come to our attention day after day–I can’t say for sure. But I know one thing we can control: our attitude and reaction to these circumstances and thoughts.

We need to practice trusting Him in the midst of anything we experience. There may be discomfort and some suffering at times, But nothing can harm us ultimately. Our blessed future with Jesus is guaranteed. As long as we believe in Him, He has saved us, is saving us right now, and will save us in the future. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6, NASB).

We can choose to trust God. In this, our willpower, our personal freedom of choice is vital. When fears attack us, we can say “NO!” to them and reaffirm to ourselves that God is indeed there and on our side and in control. We can choose faith and believe that.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32, NASB.)

So I’m committed to fight fear, stand up to it, and choose to trust God and His Word whenever the need arises.

 

Ephesians Chapter 4: How to Grow to be like Jesus Christ

This continues my “paraphrased Summaries” based on indepth study of Ephesians.

4:1-3  I, Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beg you to walk in a way that is worthy of the calling with which you have been called, that means with all humility and meekness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being eager to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4:4-6  There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

4:7-10  But to each one of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,

“Having ascended into the heights,
  He led captivity  captive,
  He gave gifts to men.”

But the (quotation) “He ascended,” what does it mean if not that He also descended into the lower part of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended above all the heavens, in order that He might fill all things.

4:11-16  And He Himself gave the apostles, and the prophets, and the evangelists, and the shepherds and teachers, for strengthening, preparing fully  the saints (you and me) for the work of service for the building of the body of Christ; until we all grow and come into the unity of the faith, and of the full-knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect-complete-mature man, to the measure of the stature (as in a maturity of the same degree) which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 

But speaking the truth in love, we may  be growing into Him in everything who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted together through the supply of every joint, according to the working of each individual part, causing the growth of the body resulting the building of itself in love.

4:17-19  This, therefore, I say and solemnly affirm together in the Lord, that you  no longer walk just as the Gentiles are walking, in the futility  of their mind. After they became darkened in their mind’s understanding and also have been alienated, left out of the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, through the hardness of their hearts, which became callous, He (God) gave them over to wanton excess (indecency, shameless conduct) and they–again, having become callous–which resulted in their greadily working all kinds of uncleanliness.

4:20-24  But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus. You have been taught to put off  the old self which is determined by your former life-style, the one according to the lusts of deceitfulness. instead, be renewed by the spirit of your mind, and put on the your new self, that which has been created according to God’s life-style, that is in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

4:25-32   Therefore, having put off from you falsehood, you are each to speak truth with your neighbor, because we are members of one another. Allow yourself to become angry, and yet stop sinning. Do not let the sun go down on your irritation. and stop giving place to the devil.

The one who steals, steal no longer, but much more so work hard with his own hands what is good so that he might have something to give to one who has need. Stop letting every worthless, rotten word come out of your mouth, but instead speak some good words needed for edification in order that your words might give grace to those who hear you.

And stop grieving the Holy Spirit of God, within whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness and hot anger and wrath and yelling and putting others down —let them be removed from you, along with all wickedness, becoming yourselves kind to one another, soft-hearted , showing grace (forgiving) to each other, just as God in Christ also has given grace (forgiveness) to you.

 

 

 

Chapter 3 God’s Master Plan, Part 2

NOTE: reading my paraphrased summary below can give you an indepth knowledge of the content of this profound chapter of Ephesians.

Think about these things, ponder them, be blessed by them!

(Continuing here with God’s Master Plan:)

3:1-5  Because of this (which I have been writing to you), I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus–If indeed you had heard about the household-management of God’s grace which was given to me for your benefit. That is, I’m writing according to the revelation that was make known to me by the Lord, the mystery, which I have described to you before, and since you are reading them, you can again recognize my understanding of the mystery of Christ that fits together like pieces of a puzzle. This wisdom wasn’t known before to people, but now it has been make plain by his holy apostles and prophets functioning with the help of the Holy Spirit.

3:6-7   (And this is the mystery:) That the people of the nations, the Gentiles, are to be joint-heirs,  joined together in one body, joint-sharers in the promise of Christ Jesus through the Gospel–which I became a minister of, according o the gift of the grace of God given to me by the working of His power.

3:8-9  To me, the least of all saints was given this grace (gift of enablement) to preach to the nations the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what has been hidden from the ages in God–all the things created…

3:10-11  In order that the rich multifaced wisdom of God–according to the purpose of the ages which He made within Christ Jesus our Lord–might be  made know to the rules and authorities in the heavenly realm…

3:12  In Whom (being in Jesus Christ) we have boldness and access (to God the Father) with confidence through His faith.

3:13  Therefore, I ask you not to be discouraged by my tribulations, which are for you, on your behalf–which is your glory (that is, it shows how much God cares for you that he allows me to go through such suffering on your behalf).

3:14-15  Because of this grace (this knowledge given to me by God freely so that I can minister it to you), I am continually bending my knees to the Father in prayer, Who is the father-source of every family named, whether now in  heaven or on earth…

3:16-18 [And this is my prayer for you...]  that He might give you, according to the measure of the riches of HIs glory, the gift of ongoing strengthening with (His) power poured by His  Spirit into your inner man, so that Christ may thoroughly  settle down comfortably without your hearts throuigh your ecercise of faith–and so that His love then established as a lasting foundation there–and in turn, so that you may be strong enough to understand with all the saints with is the breadth and length and height and depth [of God's love and His wonderous plan for you and all believers]…

3:19 and as a result [of my answsered prayer for you] that you come to know in your experience the love of Christ which transcends, goes beyond all knowledge, in order that you may be filled up with all the fullness of God. [Awesome thought!]

3:20 Now to the One who is constandly able to do all things super-abundantly beyond what we are asking or even thinking, according to His power that is itself working within us–to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations of the ages of the ages. Amen.

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Now that’s a strong prayer, made perfectly within the context of the mystery Paul has made plain above. How can we walk in light of all of that? In joy, and fellowship with God and His Son, and in service.

 

Chapter 2 Stuck in Sin then but Made God’s Temple now

Here’s a “paraphrased-content-summary” of Ephesians chapter 2.

Use it, if you like, to review the contents and teaching re this chapter quickly.

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(2:1-4)  And you were dead, living in your wrong doings, your sins, walking in them, obeying the standards of this world’s culture, that is the standards of the ruler of the authority of the air (the devil), the spirit who is now actively working in the sons born of disobedience (the unsaved). That means obeying the lusts of your flesh and its decisions and thoughts and intentions–being children of anger in your very nature, like all the rest.

(2:5-9)  But even in that terrible situation, living in a state of death, ongoing wrong deeds, God made us spiritually alive together with Christ–by grace you are now saved, an ongoing condition. And, not only that, but He raised us up together with Christ and made us sit down with Him in heaven, in order that he might display in all the ages, all the time to come, the transcending riches of His grace–the kindness and goodness He showered upon us because we are now in Christ Jesus: For by grace you are saved right now–an accomplished fact. And that was through faith–not for something you did or deserved: you’re not the source; God’s gift is. Again, the source of your salvation is not works, anything you can do. This is so that no one can brag.

(2:10-12)  For we are His creation; we were created with Jesus Christ with the intent that we do good works (our salvation is God’s “doing,” not ours). Good works were prepared beforehand so that we could do them and live in them. So constantly remember this: before you were Gentiles by birth and separated from Christ, and that means excluded from God’s people, foreigners when it came to God’s promises to His people, and that also means you were without hope, without God in this world.

(2:13-16)  But now, even though you were a long way off, God brought you near by seeing to it that you were placed within Christ Jesus, within His blood. For being in Him is what matters–He is our ongoing peace with God. God has broken down the wall that was between Jew and Gentile and has made us one. There is no need for hostility now. He set aside the ritual requirements of the Mosaic law so that He could create One New composite Man, who is very different. Thus He made peace.

So this means he reconciled Jew and Gentile in one mega-body through the cross of Jesus Christ, and that means killing that hostility.

(2:17-22)  So when Jesus came, He announced the good news of peace to you who were far off and peace to the ones nearby. Consequently, through Him we both, Jew and Gentile, have and are continuing to have access in the one Holy Spirit to God the Father. Therefore, you are no longer foreigners and sojourners. Rather you are fellow-members among the holy ones (saints) and part of God’s family. God’s household was built on the teaching foundation of the apostles and prophets, but Christ Jesus is Himself the key part of that foundation, the essential foundation. And in Him the whole “building” is currently being  put together and is growing into a holy temple in the Lord. This means too that you are His temple, the very dwelling of God–once again, in Him.

 

 

Ephesians: Eternal Life, Daily Life

How well do you know your salvation?

How well do you know the book of Ephesans?

Know Ephesians and you know plenty–and basically all you need to live the life God wants you to live in this world. Course that depends on how well you know Ephesians.

Toward that end, I have begun to write a summary of the content I have described in past weeks, starting below with Chapter 1. If you have be reading this blog and have found the ideas and advice helpful, the summaries to follow can help you remember those ideas and that advice, even apply them to your daily life.

I call these summaries paraphrased-content-summaries. They are not literal translations, but with them I seek to accurately reflect the content inherent in the verses of Ephesians.

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Chapter 1

To all faithful believers in Jesus Christ, saints:

May you continueally receive His grace and Peace. And may God be blessed, for He has given us all spiritual blessings in the heavens, the spirit world, that is in Christ.

More specifically, He called us and chose us in Him before the world was made and set us all on an unfailing journey–with a destination that includes our being holy, and that means there will be nothing wrong with us before Him. And He did this in love. It was for His good pleasure that he decreed beforehand that we would be adopted through Jesus Christ to be actual Children of God.

And all this has, does, and will bring praise to God for the awesome glory of His grace, which He has given us and is ours permanently within his Beloved Son. So we are experiencing redemption through Jesus’ blood and full pardon for all our wrongs–and that pardon is measured by the extent of God’s riches of grace.

And not only all that, but He has also filled us to overflowing, with more than enough wisdom and understanding because He made us know the mystery of His will, His purpose in Jesus Christ, because it pleased Him.

So what’s the result? It’s the management of the fullness of the times. In other words the culminatioj of His grand plan, to gather up all things within Christ, all things in the heavens and on the eath, within Him.

And that includes us too, who have been not only called but also marked beforehand, destined by the God the Father. He works all things by the decided purpose of His will. And the result is that we who have placed our hope in Christ, trusting in Him, believing in Him–once we heard the truth, salvation’s good news–we were sealed as God’s eternal property by the Holy Spirit–He is the seal!

And He is not only our seal, He is also the promise of our inheritance, the downpayment of our redemption, some of which we experience here and now. But that gift and experience also points forward to our totally complete salvation. When that happens we will give praise for His glory.

Knowing all that makes me, Paul, continually mention you in my prayers. And what do I pray? “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,” that is to know Jesus Christ deeply,

But also so that you all might know (in your heads and hearts) His overwhelming power that works in us–that same mighty power that He worked when He raised Christ from the dead and gave Him a seat on His right hand in the highest heaven–way above all rule, authority, power, dominion–and every name named in this age or the one that is coming.

God the Father put everything under Jesus’ feet, and gave Him to us, His church, as our Head. And we are in fact, in reality, His body, His fullness, who fills all.

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And for this we should constantly give thanks and praise God.

 

 

 

Ephesians 6:19-24 Paul’s ending prayer: peace and love with faith

 6:19  and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

Paul, a giant of the faith, asks for prayer. We all need it. And his request is not for himself personally but that he may serve the Lord well.

 6:20  for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Boldness is a good quality for service. Speaking that way is appropriate and approved by God. How often do we shrink back and not speak out for the Lord?

And, how eloquent: Paul is in chains yet still an ambassador, and an effective one. God’s grace is not limited.

 6:21  But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.

 6:22  I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.

Paul doesn’t want his readers to be unnecessarily distressed about him and his circumstances, while at the same time remembering him in prayer.

6:23  Peace be to the brethren, and  love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith is the connection to God’s power to get things done.  Love ensures that what’s done is done rightly, that is done in love and therefore beneficial.

Faith is the connection. Hope is the motivator. Love is the goal.

Let the peace of Jesus Christ rule your heart. Be filled with the Spirit, praising, praying, ministering in the Spirit continually. And let the Holy Spirit guide you into all truth, so that you may be sanctified in that truth and come to know and understand His wisdom– that you know too how to pray rightly. And rejoice that He, the Spirit of Truth, will be with you for all time without end.

6:24  Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

A fitting ending.

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Coming next, a summary of the entire Epistle to the Ephesians. 

 

Ephesians 6:15-18 Do your use your Armor?

What weapons do you and all of us have for fighting the good fight of the faith? And how do we use them?

6:15 and having bound under your feet the foundation of the good news of peace.

Preparation means knowing well the facts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that of peace with God through Christ’s sacrifice is a firm foundation during trials and dangers. How to use this? Know that you are saved by grace though faith; it’s a gift. We do not have to earn God’s favor to get His help. He is ever-ready to help us with our day-to-day battles. We cannot earn that help, no more than we can earn our salvation.

Trying to earn God’s help is not relying on His everlasting love for us, nor is it having faith in God; it is having faith in our qualities and works. And that doesn’t work.  Have faith in God (Mark 11:22).

6:16  in all (every circumstance) having taken up the shield of the faith with which you will be strong to extinguish all the darts of the evil one which have been set on fire,

Satan and all his helpers, demons, will throw at us anything they can, every moment of every day they can manage, and especially when we are seeking to do God’s.  For example, the constant temptations which, if we yield, can so easily sabotage our faith. Only a faith that has been tested and trained under fire and practiced in real-life situations can hold up against the devil’s assaults. Make faith a daily habit. Walk by it.

6:17A  And accept the helmet of salvation,

A helmet covers the head, which is where thought and imagination and perception covers.  It is the basic location of the mind, and through salvation we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:16). Again, this is potential we can experience and through which we can by faith be renewed in our minds.  And that means: do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).  It means walking in the Spirit by setting our minds on the Spirit not on the flesh (Romans 8:6).

In other words thinking, having a mental context in accordance with our salvation, with the will of God, with all holiness and goodness. Like this:  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Phil. 4:8).

How and what we think is always decisive in any battle.

Let your salvation guard your mind and keep your attitude productive.

6:17B  and the sword of the Spirit, which is  the Spoken word of God.

All the armor is defensive, but the sword of the Spirit, God’s inspired Word, doubles as an offensive weapon too. Again, as I have commented before, we are in a very real war. Our victories are achieved through faith and in spiritual battle with unseen enemies, not with the humans around us we often see as the source of our troubles and frustrations.

And how do we battle best? By speaking God’s inspired Word in faith (that word in the original means spoken word).

Memorize His Word. Know it well, and not just the words, but the content well. That means indepth study, meditation–thinking it through thoroughly–until you experience the mind of Christ moment-by-moment.

6:18  Through all prayer and petition, praying at all times in the Spirit, and hence continually staying awake/alert with all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints,

Prayer is always essential.  Ezek. 22:30 ”I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me (to intercede) for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” (NASB, the portion in parentheses was added.)

Prayer expresses our dependence on God.

It gives glory to God. It is one of the most important things we do–if not the most important. This is an eternal relationship that God wants to begin and maintain now.  Prayer is the privilege God’s grants us to serve Him in faith. He insists on it. We are a part of His grand plan for humanity down through the ages. Praying takes faith. Trying to do God’s will on our own, not so much. In doing good we always need God’s help.

Prayer also expresses our interdependence upon each other within the Body of Christ.

Do you have an active, ongoing awareness of these armor-essentials? Do you lay hold of them daily? It is the way of victory and also the way to please God.

Ephesians 6:10-14 God’s armor is better than yours

How do you win battles?  How do you as a Christian come out victorious day after day?

6:10  For the rest (or, finally) be yourselves constantly empowered in the Lord in the realized power of His might.

Not your strength nor mine. We find strength in Him, the only strength that will give us victory in the battles we have to fight in this life.

6:11 Put on, clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be empowered to stand against the crafty methods of the devil,

We need all of God’s armor to be able to stand firm. It is not our armor; it is God’s. Our armor will not work. The reason is simple, though profound…

 6:12  Because our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities,  against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual beings of the evil in the heavenlies.

“Rulers” are powerful evil spirits; “authorities” wield spiritual authority in this present evil age: “world-rulers” manage warfare on a large scale, probably at least continent-wide. We are in a war, a very real war that began in the Garden of Eden, a war against humanity, both believer and unbelievers and continues actively, aggressively, and constantly to this day.

6:13  Because of this take up the full armor of God in order that you will be empowered to stand against (these evil forces) in the evil day.

Hence the reason, the need for God’s armor. These evil forces are powerful and cunning. They are Satan’s army of fallen angels, demonic forces. To a great extent we have God’s protection against them. If not, none of us believers would be alive on this earth right now.

But God expects service from us, and that service always means battle, both small and great–and constant. There are behaviors and attitudes that bring defeat in those battles and others that bring victory.

6:14  Stand, therefore, having girded yourself (literally: loins) for service with truth, and having clothed yourselves with the breastplate of the righteousness (that is the righteousness of Jesus Christ).

Paul begins to detail what is defensive armor of the believer. The goal for the believer is to live a life of victory over God’s enemies. As humans, whenever we do not act and speak and even think with faith in God, we are vulnerable. To stand–the root word in the original occurs three times in these verses–is to avoid being knocked down, being defeated in battle.

This armor Paul writes about is God’s armor. God’s truth, the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that truth is that we stand not by our own righteousness but by the righteousness of Jesus who does not fail. It is an invunerable righteousness.

This is the key to spiritual battle, and by spiritual battle I mean day to day living as a follower of Christ. We dare not depend on our own righteousness, our own merit, our own earning the favor of God, our own will power. The road to victory is an ongoing pathway of trusting in the righteousness of our Lord and His enabling power for doing God’s will. He is our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption (1 Corintians 1:30).

We best not go into spiritual battle depending on any righteousness we claim as our own. That is a guaranteed way not to stand.

But the righteousness of Christ we have by faith–that is our secure foundation, our defensive breastplate. Not just when we were converted and came to a saving faith in Jesus death and resurrection for our salvation. But a life of dependence of Him and all He is, all He is within us, and all He can be through us in service to God the Father.

Nevertheless, at the same time, it is good to experience that righteousness in our own behavior. We can also experience Christ’s righteousness in our daily walk. What we have by faith we can experience in our choices and acts. We can make it real to ourselves and to others. “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NASB)

It is God’s will that the essence of His Old Testament law be fulfilled by us “who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” Romans 8:4.

But, again, we must never depend on any righteousness of our own, real or imagined.

The righteousness of Jesus Christ is our safeguard, our dependable, unfailing guarantee of good standing with God (Philippians 3:9;  Romans 7:25-8:1).

” I can do all things through Him (Jesus Christ) who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Are you covered with God’s armor today? Do you depend on it or on your own devices and willpower?  In these verses we have read the secret of victory.

Rest in Him, trust in Him today, depend on Him today, and act with courage–today.