Sunday, February 22, 2015

Be Clothed And Ready!

Be Clothed And Ready!
By:  Min. Angela Lee Price

 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 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. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”  Ephesians 6:10-18.

Ephesians 6:10-18, is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. No matter what anyone says about how to dress for success, this is what successful dressing looks like. I don't dispute the need to look your best, to put your best foot forward for that important interview and important meeting. You should do that!   We should make it a habit of being well-groomed because you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.   Some young people make the mistake of going on job interviews clothed but not ready.  They lack the education, skills, and training to meet the job requirements.  Further, they cannot articulate why it is that they are the best candidate for the job.  Still, others make the mistake of being ready but not clothed.  The men go in with pants sagging, no belt, no tie, tennis shoes; The sisters go in wearing mini-skirts, halter tops, and showing too much cleavage.  This is okay if you’re applying to be a lifeguard by the pool, but in a professional environment, we should dress professionally.

In February here in the Ohio Valley, we had to get creative, add on layers of clothing, and leave early in order to get to work on time because a lot of inclement weather came our way -- snow, ice, sleet, rain and sub-zero, frigid temperatures. But if you really want to be clothed and ready for whatever comes your way, you must put your armor on, and no, I don’t mean Under Armor, the fitness line. I am talking about putting on the full Armor of God!  
We have an enemy, Satan.  Satan wants to throw much more at you than a little bad weather.  He wants to throw much more than a foot or two of snow.  He wants to steal, kill, and destroy you!.  He wants get you kicked out the choir.  He wants to see you kicked off the basketball team. You can be all dressed up, swanky and pretty on the outside, but if Satan has his hands on you that’s not how you look on the inside.  The Bible tells us man looks at outward appearance but God looks at the heart. Ephesians 6: 12 states,  "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."  

I want to remind you to be clothed and ready, not in Under Armor, but in the full armor of God.  Some people think wearing Under Armor and working out will keep them one step ahead of the devil.  They think being physically fit will protect them from the schemes, the tricks of the enemy. We should be physically fit, yes!  I say all the time, how can you reach your purpose, if you can’t reach your toes?  Former University of Louisville point guard Chris Jones worked out!  He was physically fit!  He was one of the best players on the basketball team!  And yet, he is no longer on the team.  While being physically fit is good, it is more important to be spiritually fit!  Draw close to God in times of trial, heartache, difficulty. Draw close to God when all hell breaks loose! Draw close to God in the sunshine and He'll have your back in the rain! Draw close to God when you feel like it and when you don’t!  Draw close to God and He will draw close to you! 

What does it mean to be clothed and ready?  

First, recognize that you are in a spiritual battle. We lose the battle because we fail to realize we are in a spiritual battle in the first place. Ephesians 2:1 says this world is controlled by “…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” This prince’s power extends not only to the air, but also the air waves, television, radio, and the internet. 

History tells us that the great preacher and Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr was in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in April 1963 when he wrote "Letters from A Birmingham Jail" an open letter defending non-violent resistance as a strategy against racism.  Later, he said it was the longest letter he had ever written. The apostle Paul, too, was in a jail cell near the end of his life around AD 60-61, most likely in Rome when he wrote this letter in defense of Christianity. It is believed he wrote Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians at that time.   Even in jail cells these men were clothed and ready to speak out against injustice and defend the faith!

Each day and every day, put on the full armor of God, the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  Be ready to speak the truth!  Be ready to do what is right!  Be ready to testify about how good God is to you!  Be ready to walk by faith and not by sight!  Be ready to hope for tomorrow assured of your salvation because Jesus has the keys to death, hell, and the grave!  It was not Don Cornelius, but Jesus Christ himself who was the originator of Soul Train.  He led captivity captive in His train and gave gifts to men (Ephesians 4:8). Be ready to quote the Word and use the Word as your offensive and defensive weapon!  Be clothed and ready!  I said be clothed and ready!

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, more valuable than Under Armor is the full armor. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. This is how we dress for success. Are you clothed and ready?


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