Have you ever found yourself reading a book and you were so captivated by it that you could not put it down? Have there been times when you picked up a book started reading it and wanted to know why anybody would publish such trash? It’s about the story.
Most Christians do not act or live like they are at war.
Paul tells us explicitly in Ephesians 6 that we are at war.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
(Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV)
A lot of Christians in churches today have a sword and shield but they are more collector’s items than they are functional weapons. The shield might hang on the wall and the sword is probably on a stand inside of a glass case. They serve no purpose other than to be looked at. These weapons have not seen a fight in weeks – sometimes years.
These same Christians are just not proficient with the sword. They do not know how to use it. They do not train with it. They do not sharpen it. If you are going to be intentional about fighting a war in which your enemy is very good, you need a mentor to train you. If you do not have a mentor, go and find one.
When the battle comes, and you don’t know how to use your weapons, you will go into the fight with a dull sword that you do not know how to use. Trying to fight this way is stupid. You are not likely to damage your enemy with a dull blade. You also leave yourself wide open for attack. If you do not know how to deflect strikes and attacks by the enemy, you are as good as dead.
Paul says that the enemy has flaming darts. Think of it this way:
The devil takes an arrow, coats it in oil and then sets it on fire. The arrow’s potential to do severe damage has now been maximized. The devil picks up his bow and places the flaming arrow in its launching place. He pulls the bow string back as tight and as far as he can. This will ensure a faster speed and greater distance for the arrow. He picks what he believes to be a vulnerable target, takes aim at you and lets the arrow fly.
Are you prepared to defend yourself or are you positioning yourself for the flaming arrow to do the most damage?
Have you ever found yourself in a place where you knew that God was chasing you? You might recall a situation or circumstance where you just knew that God was using those events to get your attention. This is what I call the wake up call.
There is nothing better on a Monday morning than smelling fresh coffee brewing. The amazing coffee aroma fills up the kitchen. The smell of the fresh brewed coffee starts your mind working. Smell enhances taste. The aroma of the coffee causes you to think about the steaming, hot cup of deliciousness that you are about to enjoy.
The Bible says that as a disciple, our lives are to be lived in such a way that our life is a sweet aroma to God.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,
(2 Corinthians 2:15 ESV)
Think about that for a moment. The aroma of Christ to God. This would be an enjoyable, pleasant aroma, not a foul smelling one.
Your life should smell like:
How do we live our lives so that they are the aroma of Christ to God?
Live your life to the glory of God.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)
Walk in Jesus.
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.
(Colossians 2:6 ESV)
Love His Word.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
(Psalm 119:11 ESV)
Renew your mind.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Romans 12:2 ESV)
Following the leading of the Holy Spirit and desiring to be conformed more to the image of Jesus is like a bouquet of fresh flowers to God.
To be the aroma of Christ to God, your life must be offered as a sacrifice.
Everything in your life is to be used to the glory of God and not to the glory of yourself. After Paul was redeemed, his entire life was lived in service and sacrifice to God. This includes his suffering.
We do not like to think much of suffering but God uses our suffering to His glory and for our good. The suffering we will experience is to mold us and shape us and help us to become the people that God created us to be to accomplish the works that He has given us to accomplish.
The more you are conformed to the image of Christ, the more your life will be a sweet aroma to God.
How are you living your life to be a sweet aroma to God?
I recently listened to a sermon by Pastor Judah Smith that he preached at the Newspring Leadership Conference. His message focused on what do you do when you find yourself in the meantime.