Every Christian should make it their habitual practice to put on the whole armor of God and stand firm on the foundation of Christ. Here are a few strategies in seeking to maintain victory in the cross of Christ.
1.) Don't fight the wrong battles. As believers in Christ, we stand in defense of the gospel and the honor of our Savior. We are not called into the Lord's army in defense of ourselves, our opinions, or our reputations. His will is to be our will, His example our example. Reckoning ourselves "crucified with Christ" means being willing to bear His reproach in this world, keeping in mind Jesus never deserved the reproaches he endured, so we undeserving sinners have nothing to complain about when called upon to suffer reproach for the Savior.
2.) Immerse yourself in the Word of God. Jesus stands in our defense. It is enough that God is on our side. Believe what He says about who you are in Christ. Study passages such as Romans chapter 7 and 8 and the book of Ephesians. We are approved of God through faith in the gospel. Don't stop being a witness for Christ simply because you imagine people "don't believe in you". People don't need to believe in you, they need to believe in Jesus. "What shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31 KJV).
3.) Honor the Lord by choosing weapons that are "mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds." Spiritual victories cannot be won when bitterness or anger are part of the equation. Practice overcoming evil with good, being tenderhearted and forgiving. We are called to captivate people with Jesus - not with ourselves; to captivate with His power, His love, His obedience, His sacrifice. In doing so, we work toward the goal of "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," (II Corinthians 10:4-5 KJV).
4.) Recognize the triggers. What is it that triggers your wounded self and makes you reactive? More than likely it is someone else defending their wounded self who has "gotten to you". Once you understand the triggers you will be better equipped to disarm them and break the cycle. In other words, don't take an adversarial role toward people who seem to oppose you. Instead, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you," (Matthew 5:44). This is not sage advice, it is Jesus' command.
5.) Stand on the solid ground of the gospel. Satan will attempt to knock us off the solid ground of the gospel. This is always the devil's scheme. To foil his tactics, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil … Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God," (Ephesians 6:10-11, 16-17 KJV).
6.) Exercise a double-faith. If you believe Christ died for your sins, than believe He died for your enemy's sins as well - even if they have not yet believed the gospel of Christ. The Bible says Christ died for us while we were ungodly (Romans 5:6 KJV), while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8 KJV) and while we were enemies (Romans 5:10 KJV). We don't set the standard for who deserves God's forgiveness or not, or who has the right to believe the gospel. And since none of us earns the salvation God imparts by our own goodness, and we are all undeserving, therefore we should extend the grace of Christ's call to repentance to all, while maintaining belief in the promise "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," (I John 2:2 KJV). Who knows but our believing faith in God's promises can be a catapult for someone else's.
7.) Finally, make the Apostle Paul's testimony your testimony: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me," (Galatians 2:20 KJV).
Copyright 2014 Toni M. Babcock
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