I received an email from a friend today and he was sharing some things going on in his life. Right after I read his email, I opened to the passage for Chad's upcoming message on November 14th. I don't believe it was a coincidence or random happenstance. Here's what I wrote to my friend (and needed to hear myself).
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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. 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. 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. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
I'm not sure which part of that was meant to encourage you, but there is much to be taken from this passage. It's good to be reminded of what's available to us as soldiers of the cross. It's good to stop and see where our armor has slipped and needs to be adjusted.
Belt of Truth - It's in the center, around your waist. What Truth is at the center of your life right now? What lies need to be uprooted and replaced?
Breastplate of Righteousness - Are you in right standing with God? If yes, know that it's protecting your heart. If no, do a little inventory, confess, and get right with God so that your heart is protected.
Feet covered in the Gospel of Peace - Are you resting in Him? Are you covered by the peace He gives? What are you holding onto that isn't yours to hold? If you're not at peace, you can't share that peace with others. Don't hold onto what's not yours. Lay it at the feet of the cross and find rest.
Shield of Faith - Has it been damaged by recent arrows? Have you grown weary of holding it before you? Check to see where repairs should be made and address it quickly. Remember Isaiah 40:30-31 "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint". Secure your shield before you in order that the enemies arrows might not touch you.
Helmet of Salvation - What is guarding your mind and your thoughts? Have you left it exposed to the world? The grace that covers you should also act like a filter for your heart and your mind. Have you let your helmet slip and letting worldy or anxious thoughts creep in? Take a look and see and make the appropriate adjustments.
Sword of the Spirit - The Word of God. Are you searching out His Truth in His Word? Are you hiding it in your heart? Are you finding the answers in Him...in His Word? It's your weapon. Everything else is defensive. His Truth is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. Use it to cut through the mess and the lies and the attacks of the enemy.
And pray in the Spirit - Don't forget to pray. Don't forget to check in with your Commander. Don't forget to communicate with Him. Make your requests known. Pour your heart out. Let Him pour His words of love over you.
It's good to do a little armor check every now and then. If you're feeling weary or battle-worn, maybe there's a reason. Maybe your armor needs repair. This has been a good check for me as well. Definitely something to check more often.