Thursday, January10, 2019
1 Peter 1:5-7 …through faith [we] are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Through my study the armor of God in Ephesians 6 I have discovered three distinct ways in which the armor accomplishes God’s purpose to make us strong.
- It helps us survive trials;
- It helps us overcome obstacles;
- It nurtures Godliness
For the next three days let’s look at each one through the lens of other Scripture passages.
There are three pieces of armor that specifically protect us from the attack of Satan – the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shield of faith.
- Truth is the foundation of all our beliefs;
- The righteousness of Christ protects our hearts so that the life-giving blood of Jesus can flow continuously through our whole body;
- Our faith in the presence, power, and promises of God protects us from the attacks of Satan against our personal worth and purpose.
With these three pieces of armor in place we are able to survive anything this sinful world throws at us and rejoice in Christ while doing it.
Here’s an analogy that has deep meaning:
Look at that vessel in the midst of the storm; see how the wild waves show their white teeth as if laughing at all the efforts of the sailors to keep it from sinking. It will weather the storm, say the sailors, if the mast will only hold out. Why should they have such confidence in the mast? Where did it grow? On the very heights of the stormy hills. That mast will weather the storm, for it is itself the child of storms.
That’s how God prepares His heroes on the heights, among storms and winter, and in much suffering. But they have grown strong and resistant as the result of it, and they will never fail, however fierce the fight. They have endured hardness in the beginning and shall now prove they are “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
Today’s Scripture passage from First Peter is one of my favorites because of the hope and joy that it gives. The hope is found in the statement that the trials will most assuredly prove the genuineness of our faith which will result in praise, honor, and glory to Jesus. The joy is experienced even during the trials because we are assured of the outcome. Every trial and test makes us stronger to stand against the storms yet to come.
Li Cha Mi, a Chinese preacher, was nearly killed in 1872 by robbers during the violence against foreigners. At a subsequent conference, he said: “You have all heard of my sufferings during the past few months. I wish to say that these sufferings were very slight. It was easy to endure pain when I could feel that I bore it for Christ. It is wonderful—I cannot explain it. When attacked by the robbers and beaten almost to death, I felt no pain. Their blows did not seem to hurt me at all. Everything was bright and glorious. Heaven seemed to open, and I thought I saw Jesus waiting to receive me. It was beautiful. I have no words to describe it. Since that time I seem to be a new man. I now know what it is to ‘love not the world.’ My affections are set on things above. Persecutions trouble me not. I forget all my sorrows when I think of Jesus. I call nothing on earth my own. I find that times of trial are best for me. When all is quiet and prosperous, I grow careless and yield to temptation, but when persecutions come, then I fly to Christ. The fiercer the trial, the better it is for my soul.”
When our perspective is correctly focused on the hope of glory, the joy of the Lord is our strength and we will not only survive trials, but they will make us stronger. Rejoice in the Lord – you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.