“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.” Romans 12:2
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3: 23-25a
During the Viet Nam War, the Viet Cong guerrilla fighters would sneak up on unaware U.S. troops, attack them, and quickly dissapear. The Vietcong would also pose as citizens or farmers. Then, when least expected, they would launch a surprise attack on U.S. troops.
When you’re in a war, you must be alert. The enemy does not announce his arrival. And he often pretends to be someone he’s not.
Are you prepared to stand against your enemy, Satan? Do you know how to stand?
It is critical that you know God’s Word. Ephesians 6 says,“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (vs. 11) Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist …” (vs. 14)
What is the “belt of truth”?
Jesus said, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17The Belt of Truth is clearly God’s Word, the Bible. It is an essential part of the “Armor of God”.
Do you think it’s possible that Satan could be attacking someone, when they don’t even know it? The Bible says,
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT
That verse tells me a lot. In a battle, it is important for soldiers to be alert. If not, they may walk right into a trap. Can you imagine walking through a jungle during war and not being alert? Of course not!
There is only one place to find truth and that is in the Bible, in God’s Holy Word. We need to know what it says. If you don’t know God’s Word you will be an easy target. Why? The Bible tells us,
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” 2 Timothy 4:3
This can be more subtle than you might think. False teaching may not be that obvious, unless of course, you know God’s Word.
Does it really matter what you believe, as long as you love Jesus?
Yes! False teachers can take Scripture verses out of context and convince people of almost anything. This is how good people are deceived. But verses are not meant to be taken out of context. Instead, we should always study the context to correctly understand every verse.
For example, Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Let’s say I told you, “ All things means all things! You can perform healings and miracles. You can be a great athlete, make a lot of money, whatever you want can be yours – if you believe. If you have faith in God’s Word!”
Well that may sound good, but that’s not what that verse is saying.
Paul wrote these words while in prison, and the full context says, ” I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul is saying, whatever your circumstances, no matter how bad they are, Christ will give you strength.
In verse 11, he says, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Paul is talking about being in prison. Roman prisons were known to be cold and cruel, prisoners were not provided adequate food or blankets, and they were kept in chains.
But in all this, Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”
That’s a lot different than the first interpretation!
You say, “Oh, I would recognize false teaching right away.”
Really? Because it won’t be obvious. It will be hidden in truth and love. The Apostle Paul warns us about false prophets,
“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15
To masquerade means to pretend to be something else, to disguise oneself, to impersonate. Please understand, people will be easily fooled. But there is one way to stand firm.
“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. … With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6: 10-18
As you read and study this passage, understand the important role God’s Word plays in your life. Take this passage at face value. Know God’s Word. Read your Bible so that you can stand.
Have you ever been trying to go to sleep, but negative thoughts invaded your mind? It could be something that happened to you in the past. Sometimes, for me at least, it’s about asking why. Why did they do that to me? Is there some part I don’t know? I wonder how many times he was unfaithful? Why am I so stupid and trusting?
Am I the only one this happens to? I don’t think so. In fact, research says there are very few people who have not experienced this.
So I decided to search the Scriptures and see what God has to say about it. Philippians 4:8 comes to mind right away.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
The Amplified Bible says, “if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].”
That works because you can’t make yourself stop thinking about something, but you can decide to start thinking intently about something else! The Bible also says,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6&7
So if those negative thoughts are invading your mind at night, here’s what you can do.
Think about positive things that happened today. If you try, you will think of many things. Here are some positive things I experienced today. The moon has been huge, full and bright for several days. It is beautiful. The weather was sunny and warm when I walked Bella today. The receptionist at school was kind to me. Our school nurse is so sweet. We are fortunate to have her. Once you get started, you will think of more and more things that are lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy .
Mentally quote Scripture you have memorized. I can still quote Psalm 23 which I learned as a child (and that was a long time ago!) Psalm 91 is another wonderful Psalm to memorize. As you focus on trying to remember how it goes, unwanted thoughts fly away.
Think about what you are thankful for. I am thankful for my children and grandchildren. I could think of a thousand things and so could you! Before you know it, you’re asleep.