Showing posts from January, 2016

Spiritual Arsenal #5: Prayer

Why do we pray? Does praying actually change anything? Is prayer merely a psycho-therapeutic aid to calm our anxious spirits?
The fact that I’m including prayer in this series hopefully conveys my belief that prayer is a vital part of our spiritual warfare. When Paul depicts the "whole armor of God" in Eph 6:13-17, he wraps it up with this: "Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me."
What does it mean to pray? For starters, prayer requires you to inquire what God’s true priorities are. You probably understand what it's like to request something from a powerful person, perhaps a boss, principal or community leader. You can't just get whatever you want simply because you request it. If your request doesn't align with the priorities of that powerful person, then your odds of success are slim to none.

Now imagine coming in prayer before …

Spiritual Arsenal #4: Fasting

Are you one of those Christians who believe that you don't need to fast? Some have never done it and have no desire to do so. Maybe they think it belongs to the pre-Christian era rather than to the life of the church. Or perhaps they just don't want to give up food for even a few hours. Regardless, many Christians don't ever fast. What about you? What's your take on fasting?
There is some truth to these misgivings about fasting. Jesus and his followers were known more for eating than fasting. His critics considered him to be "a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners" (Luke 7:33) because of his willingness to dine with just about anyone. The Pharisees were suspicious of Jesus because he and his followers didn't "fast and pray regularly" in the expected, visible manner of other religious leaders (Luke 5:33-34).

In the book of Acts, the Christian gatherings were often described as "breaking bread" together, clearl…

Spiritual Arsenal #3: Walk Right

As we start the new year, I'm trying to arm you for the good fight of faith. The world doesn't adequately equip you for this. Even churches sometimes do a poor job of getting you ready. You need the right tools in your arsenal.
Over the past two weeks, we've looked at having the right mind and the right attitude. This week, I want you to think about another important piece of your spiritual toolkit: your walk.
One of the first things to learn when you enter the military is how to walk. Now that might seem an odd thing. Why would the military accept people who don’t know how to walk?
Truth is, folks who go into the armed services obviously know how to walk. They just don’t know how to "walk right" as a soldier. As a new Christian, you have been newly conscripted for service in the military—you belong to God’s army. Your enemies are spiritual in nature, not "blood and flesh," but you still need a spiritual boot camp. It starts by learning to walk right. …

Spiritual Arsenal #2: The Right Attitude

In my effort to arm you for the good fight of faith, I'm pointing to the real tools needed for your spiritual battle. Today I want you to consider taking on the right attitude as an important tool in fighting the forces of darkness.
I recognize there are many "fights" we face in life. Folks struggle with finances. They face conflict in the workplace or family. People fight to lose weight, to break free from addictions, or to earn a degree. Some feel as if life is one never-ending battle—and that they’re losing. On top of all that, it's tough to ignore the latent hostility in our country and in the world—people are fighting for various ideals and against one another. All these fights can makes us feel battle-weary. They may leave you unwilling to enter any new conflict.
As a Christian, however, your primary battle is not against any one of these particular things. Rather, as Paul's words reveal in Ephesians 6:12, "our struggle is not against enemies of blood…