Eyes; plus: Wearing the Whole Armour of God | Armor Of God | Religious Belief And Doctrine

Eyes

plus

Wearing the Whole Armour of God
by Robby Charters
Eyes: © 1997, 2 , by Robby Charters

Wearing the Whole Armour of God: ©199! by Robby Charters "#ri$ture %uotations are ta&en from: 'e( )ing *ames +ersion ,')*+- © 1991 by .homas 'elson, /n#0 Com$lete *e(ish 1ible ,C*1- .ranslated by 2a3id 40 "tern, © *e(ish 'e( .estament 5ubli#ations "ome "#ri$tures %uoted are author6s o(n $ara$hrase Co3er design and layout by (((0Robbys7e1oo&78ormatting0#o0u&

Table of Contents
Eyes0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000002
.he 5arable of a(n) 6(un)Certain "amaritan6000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000009 'o( We 4a3e A Word 8or 6.han& :ou60000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000! What 2o :ou .hin& / Am 77 An Asset;000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000019 /s .here <ife 1eyond 'o3elty;000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001= 1ig 1rother is Wat#hing ,and so is 6<ittle 1rother6-000000000000000000000000000000000000019 "ay :ou 77 "ay >e? 1ut "ay /t With :our Eyes00000000000000000000000000000000000000000022 God 4as a Good Eye0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000002@ Wearing the Whole Armour of God00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000099

Eyes
>atthe( =:22,29

2

The Parable of a(n) '(un)Certain Samaritan'
alternately: The Parable of the Good Levite (and the Bad Samaritans) <u&e 1 :9 79= ,(ith a dash of >att =:22 and <u&e 11:9A thro(n in-, retold (ith some literary li#ense by yours truly ,of (hom it is often said, 64e should ha3e his li#ense re3o&ed6-:

— –
A #ertain man (ent do(n from the old #ity of *erusalem to *eri#ho ,(hi#h e3eryone &no(s, is a dangerous route to ta&e in a #ar (ith an /sraeli registration $late-, and fell among terrorists, (ho, ha3ing forgotten to bring their guns and $i$e bombs, settled for sim$ly stri$$ing him of his raiment ,and the #ar of useful $arts-, and (ounded him, and de$arted, lea3ing him half dead0 And by #han#e there #ame do(n that (ay a #ertain Ameri#an minister (ith a number of his $arishioners on a 63isit7/srael6 tour0 .he minister s$a&e unto his $arishioners and eB$ounded unto them that (hi#h is (ritten in <u&e 11: 9979=, (hi#h 3erily (ere the (ords of *esus (hen he (as nigh unto that 3ery s$ot0 6.he eye,6 s$a&e he, 6is the lam$ of the (hole body0 As our Good <ord said, 6/f the eye be (hole, the body is full of lightC66 .hen as&ed one of his $arishioners unto him saying, 6What is meant by the saying 6/f the eye be (hole6;6 6+erily, it meaneth that one has dis#ernment of s$iritual things,6 s$a&e the minister0 6Dne is hitherto led of the 4oly "$irit, (ho is the gi3er of light unto our $ath06 And (hen he sa( the 6#ertain man6 lying there, he said, 68or instan#e, / 3erily feel the leading that (e must $ass by on the other side061 61ut, should (e not sto$ to hel$ this man;6 said one of the $arishioners0 .he minister rebu&ed him, saying, 6>y brotherC Where is thy dis#ernment; 8or 3erily, / say unto you, of this man6s foolish deeds #ame this misfortune u$on him0 8or this is surely a drug addi#t, and in a gang fight got he these (ounds0 /f (e hel$ him, surely, he (ill a#t un(isely yet again be#ause of the foolishness of his heart0 .herefore, (ouldst (e not ha3e really hel$ed him0 And furthermore, ha3e (e not other $riorities; "urely this (ould undermine our ministry unto (hi#h (e are truly #alled, and (e shall be found bad ste(ards of God6s gra#eC6 And they $assed by on the other side0 And li&e(ise a German theologian, (ho (as a 3isiting le#turer at a lo#al seminary, (hen he (as at the $la#e (ith some of his $u$ils (as eB$ounding unto them the 6sermon on the mount06 4e had %uoted unto them the $assage of >atthe( =:22,290 "aid one of his $u$ils, 65rofessor, (hen#e is it said, 6a good eye;6 .he theologian ans(ered and said unto him, 6Dne (ith a good eye is he (ho is enlightened0 4e &no(eth that there is more than the eye beholdeth0 4e 3erily &no(eth ho( to dis#ern both the old (isdom and the ne(06 6What ne( (isdom doeth he dis#ern;6 as&ed the se#ond $u$il0 64e dis#erneth the (isdom of the $oliti#ally #orre#t,6 saith he, 68or 3erily, / say unto you, $oliti#al #orre#tness is deri3ed from modern enlightenment06 6And (hat of the old,6 as&ed another0 61ehold, that is the an#ient (isdom of 6#ommon sense,6 (hi#h (hen married to $oliti#al #orre#tness is 3erily the e$itome of modern thought06 .hen #ame they unto (here the 6#ertain man6 lay, and loo&ed on him0 68or instan#e,6 said the theologian, 61oth #ommon sense and $oliti#al #orre#tness (ould #om$el us that (e should $ass by on the other side06 6Wherefore shouldest (e not hel$ this man (ho lieth here half dead;6 as&ed the first $u$il0
1 .his, of #ourse, is not ty$i#al of all Ameri#an ministers or German theologians, any more than :eshua6s original $arable (as ty$i#al of all <e3ites or 5riests0

9

.he theologian rebu&ed him, saying, 6Where is thy #ommon sense; 8or it is not right that (e, being foreigners here, shouldest in3ol3e oursel3es in this, a lo#al affair0 8or surely, this is a tra$ to dra( us into an ambush0 And (here is thy $oliti#al #orre#tness; 8or 3erily he (as a mad settler of o##u$ied territories here to gun do(n inno#ent 5alestinian (omen and #hildren0 /f (e, being foreigners befriend su#h a one, though he (as atta#&ed first, it (ould #reate an international in#ident that (ould 3erily shed bad light on the $oor 5alestinians in their fight for Eusti#eC6 And they $assed by on the other side0 And behold, there (as no #ertain "amaritan, be#ause one $art of the "amaritans (ere $arishioners of the Ameri#an minister, and the other $art (ere $u$ils of the German theologian, and behold, they had be#ome eB#eedingly 6un#ertain6 as to (hat they shouldest ha3e done0 <i&e(ise, the 6#ertain man6 (as eB#eedingly 6un#ertain6 (hether he (ould sur3i3e the ordeal0 And surely he (ould not ha3e sur3i3ed, but that there also #ame that (ay a $lain old *e(ish rabbi (ho follo(ed #lose on by the Ameri#an minister and the German theologian0 And behold, he (as do(n7(ind from both, and the day (as %uiet, and he had heard both the Ameri#an minister and the German theologian and their 6un#ertain "amaritans60 And as he Eourneyed, he #ame (here the man (as: and (hen he sa( him, said, 6Di 3ehC .hese ChristiansC 8or surely, if they &ne( that this :eshua of theirs (as a *e(, and s$o&e in the 4ebre( tongue, they (ould 3erily &no( that 6good eye6 is but a 4ebre( idiom, and that moreo3er, their eye is bad, bad, 1A2C6 .hen $ro#eeded the rabbi to sho( that his eye (as better than theirs, and had #om$assion on him, and (ent to him, and bound u$ his (ounds, $ouring in oil and (ine 2 ,#ursing himself for not bringing a $ro$er first7aid &it-, and brought him to a F (ell, you &no( the rest of the story0

5erha$s not e a!tly the (ay :eshua9 told the story 2 years ago F although maybe if he had told it today instead 000; .he $oint is, by missing the 3ital im$ortan#e of the statement :eshua made in <u&e 11:9@ and >atthe( =:22, (e may find oursel3es on the (rong side in the story of the good "amaritan0 1ut to understand the statement to begin (ith, (e must &no( that 6good eye6 is sim$ly a 4ebre( idiom that means a generous heart, and 6bad eye6 means a stingy, or greedy heart0A :eshua (as fond of the $un0 Gnfortunately, $uns don6t translate 3ery (ell, (hi#h is (hy many of us missed it, but he ne3er the less told it as a $un: 64o( is the eye the lam$ of the body;6 he (ould ha3e as&ed0 66Cause you see light (ith it;6 5eter (ould ha3e 3entured0 6RightC /f the eye is good ,generous-, the body is full of lightC6
2 .he oil (as for a salad his (ife (as going to ma&e, and the (ine (as for Shabbat0 4e also had #andles, a Ear of $i#&led herring, a doHen eggs000 9 6:eshua6 is sim$ly the 4ebre( (ay of saying 6*esus6, used here be#ause /t6s the (ay 4is name (as $ronoun#ed (hen 4e (as on earth0 /f you $refer 6*esus6, that6s o&ay too0 A 1ut (asn6t Aramai# s$o&en in first #entury 5alestine, not 4ebre(; >ore and more s#holars no( belie3e that 4ebre( (as still a li3ing language during the time of Christ0 An eB#ellent boo&, "nderstanding the #iffi!ult Words of $esus by 2a3id 1i3in and Roy 1liHHard *r0, ,19!9,19!A, Centre for 1ibli#al Analysis, 2estiny /mage 5ublishers,- gi3es stri&ing e3iden#e0 8or instan#e, the 6original Gree&6 of the "yno$ti# Gos$els is grammati#ally #orre#t ,or $assable- for the most $art, but definitely not the senten#e stru#ture that a &no(ledgeable Gree& (riter (ould ha3e used0 4o(e3er, (hen you transliterate it (ord for (ord into 4ebre(, it #omes out in $erfe#t idiomati# 4ebre(, (ithout ha3ing to $ara$hrase it0 8or Eust that reason, it6s ob3ious that the "yno$ti# Gos$els (ere originally in 4ebre(, but (ere transliterated into Gree& in mu#h the same (ay as the "e$tuagint ,the first Gree& translation of the Dld .estament (hi#h is also %uoted in the 'e( .estament-0 Dther internal e3iden#e su$$orts that 4ebre(, as (ell as Aramai# (as a#tually s$o&en in e3eryday life in first #entury 5alestine0 .he >ishnah, #om$iled some 1 or so years later also sho(s signs of ha3ing been (ritten in a li3ing language rather than a dead language0 .he idiom, 6good eye6 is also found in the $arable of the em$loyer, in >att 2 :171= (here he said, 6/s your eye bad be#ause /6m generous6 ,3s0 1@-; .he 4ebre( idiom fits $erfe#tly in that #onteBt0

A

6DhC % get itC6 5eter (ould ha3e (ent on0 6 Spiritual light, right; A man (ith a good (generous) eye (al&s in the lightC /t6s a lam$C Get it, Andre(; Get it, *ohn;6 6:eah, yeah0006 6And,6 5eter goes on, 6A man (ith a bad ,stingy- eye, that means his lam$ is out right; .hat6s a good one, Rabbi0 :ou6re funnyC .ell us another $unC6 What :eshua told as a $un 2 years ago is 3itally im$ortant to us today0 Why; 1e#ause that is the se#ret to (al&ing in light0 We tal& so mu#h about light, the Word of God being a light to our $ath, (al&ing in the light, and letting our light so shine before men, but half of us don6t e3en &no( ho( to turn the light onC We6re al(ays $reo##u$ied (ith the %uestion, 6What6s God6s (ill for my life;6, but it seems li&e (e6re feeling our (ay around in the dar&, listening for a still small 3oi#e, gro$ing for the s(it#h0 :eshua tells us ho( to turn it on0 .o turn on the light, first (e must &no( (here the lam$ is lo#ated F that6s our eyes0 'o(, (e &no( that a good eye is a generous heart, so (e &no( e3en more #learerly (here the lam$ is0 .his meaning fits $erfe#tly into the #onteBt of both $assages0 .he 6good eye6 $assage in >atthe( =:22 follo(s right on the heel of :eshua6s #omments on 6laying u$ treasures in hea3en,6 and Eust before (here he says, 6no one #an ser3e t(o masters06 .he (hole se#tion is about generosity, and the 3alue of $ossessions 3ersus $eo$le and relationshi$s0 'o( did you really thin& the Gos$el (riters (ere so s#atter7brain they #ouldn6t sti#& to the same subEe#t 3ery long; All of :eshua6s sayings fit in their #onteBt0 "ometimes you Eust ha3e to &no( (hat he has been tal&ing about to begin (ith0 "ometimes you ha3e to retra#e ba#&(ards a (hole #ha$ter or t(o to $i#& u$ his train of thought0@ /n the #ase of the 6good eye6 $assage in <u&e 11:9A, you ha3e to ba#& u$ to <u&e 1 , (here (e find the $arable of the good "amaritan, (hi#h (e Eust loo&ed at0 We (ill eBamine the #onteBt of the <u&e a##ount in the final #ha$ter, (hen (e see ho( ha3ing a good eye, and seeing $eo$le as :eshua sa( them, is the &ey to understanding the (hole $ur$ose of God0 >ind you, (e are not tal&ing about gi3ing offerings and donations0 <a#& of gi3ing is only a sym$tom of a dee$er $roblem F suffered also by some (ho do gi3e good offerings0 We6ll tal& about that in another #ha$ter0 We6re not e3en tal&ing about the 6$ros$erity message6 F although if (e all had a 6good eye6 there (ould be no trouble on either side of that argument0 .hat is, there (ould be neither the o3er balan#e on the $art of a fe( on one side, nor the #ontro3ersy about it on the other0 What eBa#tly, then, is the 6good eye6 that :eshua is s$ea&ing of; *ust (hat is the generous s$irit :eshua means; A good eye is one that sees as :eshua sees, and $la#es 3alue (here :eshua $la#es 3alue F on people0 People are of far more 3alue to :eshua than resour#es, than assets, than time, e3en than re$utation0 8or :eshua, $eo$le (ere e3en more 3aluable than his lifeC A truly generous $erson (illingly gi3es all of those things out of lo3e for people& We6re not tal&ing about $eo$le (ho ha3e generous moods, $eo$le (ho gi3e Eust to feel good0 We6re tal&ing about those (ho re#ognise the value of $eo$le o3er all those other things0 :ou #an tell (hi#h ones those are be#ause their lo3e for $eo$le eB$resses itself in relationship&
@ Dne rabbini#al rule of inter$reting the .orah is that though the e3ents are often not re#orded in #hronologi#al order, there is a $ur$ose for the order you do find0 A 3ital $rin#i$al, or a train of thought #an be found throughout sometimes a doHen #ontiguous $assages0 .his also holds true of the gos$els0

@

Dne (ith a good eye is one (ho 3alues relationships for their o(n sa&e0 Anything less is only li$ ser3i#e to some abstra#t ideal0 Anything less, and (e end u$ emulating that great #hild $hiloso$her, <inus +an 5elt, (ho said, 6/ love man&ind0 /t6s Eust people / #an6t standC6= .o lo3e man&ind, (e must relate to people0 God6s #o3enant (ith man isn6t a sales #ontra#t? it6s a relationship& God didn6t sim$ly $romise to Abraham that 4e (ould deli3er the goods ,though 4e did that too- F 4e instituted a !ovenant (hereby man (ould be God6s friend& .hat6s (hy brea&ing bread around the table together and drin&ing (ine is a $art of both the Dld and the 'e( Co3enant0 :ou eat and drin& (ith friends& /t6s relationship' 6Greater lo3e has no man than he (ho gi3es his life for his friends'6 "ome $eo$le gi3e their life for a #ause, or some abstra#t #on#e$t of 6man&ind06 :eshua didn(t0 4e ga3e his life so that man #ould enter into an intimate relationshi$ (ith 4im0 :eshua is the "on of God0 4e (as in the beginning (ith God0 4e )as GodC 4e had e3erything $eo$le #onsider 3aluable: assets, resour#es, time and re$utation0 :eshua had assets0 4e had $o(er to !reate assets in #ase any (ere la#&ingC 4e had time0 4e filled all time0 4e (as the beginning and the end0 4e had reputation0 4e (as GodC What better re$utation #ould you as& for; :et, :eshua 3alued man that 4e had made far more than assets, resour#es, time and re$utation0 4e ga3e that all u$ to be born as a man0 E3ens a man, he #ould ha3e easily a##umulated assets and resour#es0 4e #ould ha3e used the t(enty four hours a day he (as allotted to his best ad3antage for his o(n (elfare and #omfort0 4e #ould ha3e maintained a re$utation as a great man sim$ly by agreeing to reign as >essiah on the $eo$le6s terms0 After all, he had already gi3en u$ so mu#h Eust in be#oming a manC Why gi3e u$ more; 1ut e3en as a man, he 3alued his fello( man so mu#h he ga3e that all u$0 4e (as mo3ed (ith #om$assion0 "ometimes he didn6t e3en ha3e time to eat be#ause of his #om$assion0 4is mother and brothers thought he had lost his head be#ause he (as s$ending so mu#h time hel$ing $eo$le0 4e hadn6t lost his head0 4e Eust had a good eyeC "ome of us do lose our head, but that isn6t due to a good eye0 We6re not being mo3ed (ith #om$assion F (e6re being mo3ed by our guilt #om$leB, by our sense of duty, by our desire for su##ess, so as to gain a sense of a##om$lishment or by our obsession on 6being in God6s $erfe#t (ill60 :eshua (as mo3ed by none of those things0 4e (as mo3ed (ith #om$assion, so he didn6t suffer a ner3ous brea&do(n e3en though his mother and brothers though he surely (ould0 :eshua had a good eye0 4e lo3ed man&ind, but, unli&e <inus, he also had #om$assion on people& 4e built relationshi$s (ith $eo$le0 4e 3isited them in their homes0 4e ate (ith them0 4e (orshi$$ed (ith them0 4e tal&ed (ith them as he (ent do(n the road0 4e told Eo&es to them, and laughed at their Eo&es0 4e (e$t (ith them0 4e got angry at them0 4e hugged them0 8inally, he gathered his #losest ones together and had a #o3enant meal (ith them0 /t (as a#tually the 5asso3er seder, the #o3enant meal >oses #ommanded the $eo$le of /srael to eat (hen God deli3ered them out of Egy$t0 /t6s the meal (here they don6t eat regular bread0 .hey ha3e to eat matHah instead F that is, unlea3ened bread0 When it (as time to ta&e a $arti#ular $ie#e of matHah that had been bro&en off of the middle $ie#e ,the afi&omen-, he said, 6.his is my body that is to be bro&en for you06 .hen it (as time to $our the #u$ of (ine for the fourth and final time in the seder0 4e did so, and
=.he late Charles >0 "#hultH, Peanuts* F / forget (hi#h issue0

=

said, 6.his is my blood /6m about to shed for you06 "hortly after(ards, his body (as indeed bro&en0 /t (as (hi$$ed and mistreated in e3ery (ay0 4e (as falsely a##used0 4is (ords (ere ta&en out of #onteBt and made to sound li&e something he had ne3er meant to say0 4is re$utation (as ruined, but he Eust &e$t his mouth shut0 5eo$le6s souls (ere more im$ortant to him than that0 4e (as beaten until he (as unre#ognisable0 4is ba#& (as #ut o$en (ith a (hi$ that had bits of shar$ bone tied to the ends0 .hen, he (as administered a 3ery torturous slo( death that (as normally $res#ribed only for #on3i#ted terrorists0 >ost $i#tures of :eshua on the #ross loo& so dignified #om$ared to ho( he really loo&ed0 /f / had a $i#ture of ho( he $robably really loo&ed $rinted on this $age, you6d &ee$ this boo& on the 3ery to$ shelf (here your #hildren #an6t rea#h it0 4e loo&ed li&e something that (asn6t e3en humanC 4e allo(ed all that to ha$$en to him be#ause he 3alued people& /t (as that im$ortant to him to bring people ba#& into intimate relationshi$ (ith God0 .o ha3e a good eye is to see $eo$le as :eshua sa( them F to $ut the same 3alue on them as :eshua did F to000 let your attitude to)ards one another be governed by your being in union )ith the +essiah ,eshua- Though he )as in the form of God. he did not regard e/uality )ith God something to be possessed by for!e& 0n the !ontrary. he emptied himself. in that he too1 the form of a slave by be!oming li1e human beings are& And )hen he appeared a human being. he humbled himself still more by be!oming obedient even to death 2 death on a sta1e as a !riminal' Therefore God raised him to the highest pla!e and gave him the name above every name* that in honour of the name given ,eshua. every 1nee )ill bo) 2 in heaven. on earth and under the earth 2 and every tongue )ill a!1no)ledge that ,eshua the +essiah is A#03A% 2 to the glory of God the 4ather& ,5hilli$ians 2:@711 C*1-0 .he only (ay to ha3e light is to ha3e a good eye F to 3alue $eo$le and relationshi$s (ith $eo$le the same (ay as :eshua did0 When (e see things as :eshua sees them, are moti3ated by the same things that moti3ated :eshua, (hen (e are mo3ed (ith #om$assion as :eshua (as F that, by the 3ery definition, is being in the light0 /t6s automati#0

7

Now We Have A Word For 'Thank You'
.he measure of a 6good eye6 ,or should (e say 6eyesight6- is our use of the (ord, 6than& you06 /t used to be that the )arrIn $eo$le, (ho inhabit the "outhern half of the frontier area bet(een .hailand and 1urma, did not ha3e a (ord for 6than& you6 in their language0 .hen, Adoniram *udson, the first Ameri#an missionary to be sent o3erseas, (ent to 1urma0 4is arri3al (ith the 6Golden 1oo&6 fulfilled an an#ient $ro$he#y that (as $art of their oral tradition0 .hey belie3ed that at some $oint, the 6(hite brother6 (ould #ome and gi3e them the 6golden boo&6 to re$la#e a boo& they had lost through negle#t0 Also, the fa#t that this $arti#ular 6Golden 1oo&6 #ontained an a##ount of #reation and the fall of the first man that (as identi#al to their o(n oral tradition (as another fa#tor that influen#ed a large se#tion of this tribe to a##e$t the message *udson #ame $ro#laiming0 .hey had all this in their tradition, but no (ord for 6than& you06 What (ere they to say to the (hite brother in return for the Golden 1oo&; .hey had to ma&e u$ a (ord, not only to say to him, but be#ause the Golden 1oo& itself uses the (ord so often it (ould be almost meaningless if the (ord (ere to be left out0 "o, they in3ented the (ord and *udson su$er3ised the translation of the 1ible into )arrIn0 .o this day, both the )arrIn and the 1urmese standard translations of the 1ible ha3e $rinted on the title $age, 6.ranslated by Adoniram *udson06 /n the $ro#ess, the )arrIn language gained a ne( (ord, 6.ablue,6 or 6.han& you06 4a3ing been around )arrIn $eo$le a lot, e3en from #hildhood, / &ne( the story of the 6(hite brother and the Golden 1oo&,6 but only re#ently, (hen 1rother 2ennis (as ta&ing me to 3isit a )arrIn 3illage did / hear from him that the (ord for 6.han& you6 (as only in3ented as a result0 >ind you, they did ha3e a #on#e$t of debt of gratitude0 /f you sa3e someone6s life, they6re indebted to you for the remaining $ortion of it0 2o someone a big fa3our and you6re entitled to one in return0 .hat6s not the same as 6than& you06 6.han& you6 is an eB$ression of a$$re#iation, but a debt of gratitude #an be a burden in the end0 1ut #an you imagine not ha3ing a (ord for 6than& you;6 / began thin&ing about it0 .he end result is this boo&0 F Well, / ho$e that(s not the end result0 / ho$e % #ontinue to be#ome more than&ful, among other things0 / began thin&ing about it, and realised it6s not so hard to imagine after allC 8or many $eo$le, in#luding some )arrIn that (eren6t so dire#tly affe#ted by *udson6s ministry, many .hai and 1urmese, and many in the West? 6than& you6 is no more than $ro$er eti%uette0 :ou say it Eust to a3oid being rude, or e3en to $artially $ay off your 6debt of gratitude06 turkey day… /n 'orth Ameri#a, they ha3e a (onderful holiday #alled 6.han&sgi3ing06 /t (as instituted as a day to gi3e than&s to God for e3erything one #an thin& of to be than&ful for, but es$e#ially the sur3i3al of the early $ilgrim fathers through their first harsh (inter, and subse%uent abundant har3est through the hel$ of God and some of the lo#al /ndian tribesmen0 1eing that they feared God and had a 6good eye6, .han&sgi3ing began as a holy time of re3eren#e, #om$limented by feasting, (hi#h of #ourse both enhan#ed and eB$ressed relationship& E3en the /ndians Eoined in0 >ore re#ently, ho(e3er, .han&sgi3ing has be#ome, in many 'orth Ameri#an minds, 6tur&ey day06 /t6s !

sim$ly a time to $ut u$ $osters of men in sto3e7$i$e7hats (ith big #ollars, to get together (ith the family ,(hi#h is good-, and 6#ho( do(nC6 5robably the real reason for its sur3i3al is to &ee$ tur&ey farms in business, as hardly anyone eats tur&ey a$art from during .han&sgi3ing and Christmas0 "o (hat if 6than& you6 suddenly 3anished from our 3o#abulary; 5robably no one but >iss >anners and her faithful readers (ould e3en noti#eC the darkne … "o ho( are (e different from the early )arrIn; Good %uestionC 8or the )arrIn it (as a ne( #on#e$t in need of a ne( (ord to eB$ress it0 8or many of us, it6s an idle (ord (ith no longer a #on#e$t behind it0 .his is truly a sad, sad state of affairs, for nothing better illustrates the truth of the statement, 6/f the eye is bad, the body is full of dar&ness, and ho( great is that dar&ness06 Where there is no a$$re#iation of $eo$le, (e ta&e things for granted0 We be#ome de$endent, either materially or emotionally on others, or on #ir#umstan#es (ith no ho$e of out7gro(ing that de$enden#e0 2ar&ness is a$$arent in that there is no moti3ation to rise abo3e the de$endent state0 We don6t see any reason to gras$ for ne( &no(ledge or to try to understand ne( #on#e$ts0 Why; We don6t a$$re#iate $eo$le F not e3en that $erson (ho is eBtending a hel$ing hand0 /t is as though fate determined that hel$ (ould #ome in the first $la#e0 .he situation is that mu#h more #om$li#ated (hen hel$ #omes on a regular basis, as (ith su$$ort for a third (orld #hur#h by a foreign mission? one (ho6s em$loyment seems se#ure for the long term? or e3en to one li3ing on $o3erty le3el, 3ia the (elfare state in a (estern #ountry0 .he assumption that the $resent su$$ort system (ill last fore3er, o3errides any thought as to eBa#tly (ho is $ro3iding that su$$ort F (hether it6s some generous donor, a $arent, an em$loyer, a talented em$loyee, or the taB $ayers0 .here is no dis#ernible fa#e asso#iated (ith the sustenan#e F Eust fate0 /t6s not e3en a philosophy of 6fate?6 Eust an a##e$tan#e of things as they are, and $erha$s some animosity to(ards the donor for not $ro3iding more0 We are li&e #hildren being s$oon fed (ith no thought as to (here the s$oonful of $orridge #omes from, though (e entertain the (ish that it (ere i#e7 #ream instead0 That is the intense dar&ness (e ha3e brought on oursel3es0 /nsensiti3ity and irres$onsibility are the dire#t result0 4o( does light #ome; As soon as one be#omes a#utely #ons#ious of the person behind the su$$ort, then the su$$ort itself gains a (hole different $ers$e#ti3e0 E3ery dollar, $ound, baht or &o$e#& suddenly s$routs a fa#eC .he e%ui$ment (e use sudden gains 3alue0 /t belongs to someone (e &no( $ersonally, or it #ame out of the generosity of someone6s heart0 /n the #ase of the so#ial (elfare re#i$ient, the su$$ort #ame out of someone6s blood and s(eat ,i0e0 half of the national $o$ulation often (or&ing so as to su$$ort the other half through their taBes-0 /n some #ases, there6s nothing to do but to #ontinue re#ei3ing, but (ith an attitude of than&sgi3ing? (ith ne( resolution to use the su$$ort to greater ad3antage so as to bear fruit on behalf of the donor0 /n other #ases, es$e#ially if (e realise (e are a burden on others, there is the moti3ation to mo3e on(ard from de$enden#e to inde$enden#e, and on(ard still to interde$enden#e0 .he true in(ard desire to mo3e on(ard is the dire#t result of &no(ing (here (e are in relation to others0 .hat desire then moti3ates us to gras$ at (isdom and &no(ledge that (ill enable us to a#tually ta&e ste$s in that dire#tion0 .hus, our /J is dire#tly related to our 6eyesight06 9

/ al(ays (ondered, (hy is it so diffi#ult for some $eo$le to gras$ #ertain truths; Why is it that you #an tea#h and tea#h and they ne3er 6get it6; Why is that trait es$e#ially e3ident among $arti#ular #ultures; Are some #ultures really inferior; 'o0 /t6s due to 6eye $roblems06 "ome (hole #ultures, li&e the )arrIn, don6t &no( ho( to a$$re#iate $eo$le0 1ut so mu#h #an #hange 3ia a relati3ely small adEustment in our attitudes and $er#e$tion0 "o ho( is your eye sight; E3en if (e aren6t in a $osition of de$enden#e, (e still need to as& oursel3es that0 8or one thing, independen!e isn6t the final sto$ on the bus ride of life, but rather inter5de$enden#e& 8or that, (e need good eyesight0 "o ho(6s your eyesight; /n ans(ering that, you may find you are more de$endent than you thin& ,some bosses are e3en de$endent on their em$loyees-C tho e !lo e to you… :our eyesight is only as good as it is to(ards those #losest to you0 .he than&fulness of your heart is measured by ho( you eB$ress it to(ards those you live )ith& 2o you than& your mother for a fine meal she6s #oo&ed as heartily as you (ould your boss6s (ife; Dr do you eB$ress a$$re#iation to your s$ouse as #on3in#ingly as you (ould to the lo#al #oun#ilman; Any great amount of differen#e bet(een the (ay you sho( than&fulness to those 3ery #lose to you, and those (hom you (ant to im$ress is $urely eti/uette? not genuine a$$re#iation0 / &no( be#ause / also on#e had a mother0 /6m glad / learned to a$$re#iate her before her $assing0 4o(e3er, there (ere times (hen she (ould go out of her (ay to #oo& a deli#ious meal ,(hi#h (as indeed an effort on her $art as she (as more of a missionary than a house(ife-, only to be o3er$o(ered by #omments li&e, 6.his meat is o3er done0 :ou 1no) / don6t li&e beef (ell done,6 or 6/ (ould ha3e really $referred 000 et!&6 >y mother rarely #om$lained0 "he (as the e$itome of a soldier and a $ioneer missionary F all (ithout ma&ing anyone else feel inade%uate0 1ut / &no( she must ha3e felt disa$$ointed (hen her genuine attem$ts didn6t result in a than&ful satisfied son0 / began to realise later on that she (as $robably Eust as affe#ted as anyone (ould be by my #omments0 4ad the lord mayor6s (ife #oo&ed an identi#al meal for me as my mother did, / (ould ne3er ha3e dreamed of saying to her (hat naturally flo(ed out of my mouth to(ard my motherC / thin& it (as be#ause of her faithful $rayer for me that my eye began to o$en e3er so slightly (hile / still had the o$$ortunity of sho(ing gratitude to her during her life0 / sho(ed gratitude to her but / ne3er a$ologised to her for my $re3ious ingratitude0 /t is said that one6s attitude to(ards one6s mother (ill later be the same attitude one has for a (ife0 A good eye #an sa3e many a marriage0 /6m glad / married late0 .his is im$ortant, be#ause it6s the !lose relationshi$s, su#h as bet(een $arents and #hildren, bet(een s$ouses, bet(een siblings F maybe (e #ould in#lude room mates F that determine ho( good our eye really is0 Relationshi$s li&e these are easy to negle#t, as it is the #lose relationshi$s that are the easiest to &ee$ hidden under #o3er (hile a#ting li&e e3erything6s 6Eust fine06 E3entually, though, a bad eye (ill sho( u$ in other areas as (ell0 Dne $astor of a #hur#h (as (ell lo3ed by his #ongregation be#ause of his (onderful sermons, until one day, his (ife (al&ed u$ the #hur#h aisle #arrying his t(o suit#ases full of #lothes0 4e as&ed her, 6Why are you bringing those here;6 "he ans(ered, 6:ou6re su#h a (onderful lo3eable $erson as long as you6re behind that $ul$it0 / Eust brought you your #lothes so you #an stay there all the timeC6 'o(, a lot of this is starting to sound 3ery un#omfortable to some of us0 "ome of you are (ishing you 1

had sto$$ed (hile you (ere ahead F (hen it Eust loo&ed li&e this (ould be an ideal boo& to buy for your self7#entred mother7in7la(0 1y all means, buy her a #o$yC 1ut don6t you sto$ reading no)' We63e only a##om$lished the first obEe#ti3eC .hat6s to ma&e you feel un#omfortableC .he neBt obEe#ti3e is to im$ro3e your eye, or, in the #onteBt of this #ha$ter, to gain a than&ful heart0 .he final #ha$ter (ill go into other remedies, but here, (e6ll begin (ith the easiest one: "tart than&ing God0 What to than& God for; .han& God for your #lose relati3es0 .han& God for your friends0 .han& 4im for your enemies0 .han& 4im for your mother7in7la( ,and buy her this boo&-0 .han& him for anything you #an thin& of0 oil field and Per ian !at … .he thing is, (hen you start than&ing God on a #onsistent basis, and $ra#ti#e ma&ing it #ome from your heart, that (ill #hange you0 We6ll tal& more a #ou$le #ha$ters on(ard about ho( intima#y (ith God ought to affe#t intima#y (ith others0 "tart than&ing God no( for e3ery blessing you #an thin& of? and, $ro3ided you6re a slo( reader, if it hasn6t done anything for you by the time (e get to that #ha$ter, (e6ll start loo&ing at some $ossible reasons (hy0 .han&ing God sin#erely from your heart should not only #hange you, but it should also #hange that $erson, situation or thing for (hi#h you6re than&ing God0 4o(; 1e#ause it6s an eBer#ise of faith0 4o( is that so; 1y than&ing God for something, you6re a#&no(ledging God as the one (ho ga3e it to you0 2oes God e3er gi3e you anything that6s of no 3alue at all; 'o; .hen is there a di3ine $ur$ose in3ol3ed; .hen by than&ing God for it, you6re $la#ing faith in God that (hat he ga3e you has 3alue and God (ill #ause that $erson, situation or thing to fulfil the $ur$ose for (hi#h God brought himKherKit into your life0 .hat6s the only non7mani$ulati3e (ay there is to #hange someone, be#ause it in3ol3es a##e$ting them as they are& .han&sgi3ing in#reases the 3alue of (hate3er it is you6re than&ing God for0 .o illustrate that F there are t(o (ays of getting ri#h: Dne (ay is to in#rease your assets0 .hat6s ho( most $eo$le try to get ri#h0 .he other (ay is to in#rease the 3alue of (hat assets you ha3e0 Dne (ay of doing that is through than&sgi3ing0 <et6s Eust say, for eBam$le, you inherited a $ie#e of land a(ay out in the middle of absolutely no(here0 .he soil is barren, so nothing #an gro( on it0 /t6s too far from any(here to ma&e it (orth(hile building on0 .hat (ould ma&e the #ommer#ial 3alue of that land Eust about (orthless0 <et6s Eust say, again, that unbe&no(n to you, there is a 3ast su$$ly of oil belo( the surfa#e of the land0 .he $otential 3alue of that land, therefore, is in the millions0 4o(e3er, you don6t &no( that0 'either does your estate agent0 :ou ha3e t(o #hoi#es0 Dne is to #om$lain and fuss0 6.his is terribleC 4o( #ould Gn#le *oe be so in#onsiderate as to lea3e me this $ie#e of landC 4e left #ousin *a#& the old manorC Wasn6t / better to him than #ousin *a#&; 4o( often did #ousin *a#& 3isit him in the old fol&s home any(ay; And #ousin "ue got all his anti%uesC "o she arranged flo(ers for himC "o (hatC And after all /63e done, all / get is this (orthless bit of dirtC At least he #ould ha3e left me the 5ersian #atC6 11

.he result (ill be that you get less ba#& for that $ro$erty than the 3alue of the 5ersian #at0 .he other #hoi#e is to than& God0 6.han& you <ord for Gn#le *oe6s life (hile he li3ed0 4e (as a blessing to us all0 .han& you for this $ie#e of land he left me0 / #onfess / ha3e no idea (hat it6s good for, but sin#e you ga3e it, it must be good for somethingC At least / #an #ome here and #am$ out under your stars at night and s$end time (ith you alone0 / than& you for it0 1less *a#& in that old manor of Gn#le *oe6s0 <et it be a blessing to him0 Gi3e "ue a good $ri#e on those anti%ues, and bless the 5ersian #at0006 *ust as you6re $a#ing ba#& and forth $raising God, you inad3ertently &i#& a boulder loose, and u$ it #omes F bla#& goldC Well, $erha$s it (on6t ha$$en %uite as dramati#ally as that, but really, (e6re tal&ing about people, not $ro$erty nor 5ersian #ats0 Ea#h $erson #ontains many times more 3alue than the 3ast oil reser3e under Gn#le *oe6s old $ro$erty0 Dnly a 6good eye6 (ill un#o3er that 3alue0 4o(e3er, (e need to be #areful ho( (e see $eo$le in this regard0 /n the neBt #ha$ter, (e6ll see ho(, e3en in this res$e#t, (e often mis$la#e our 3alues (ithout e3en &no(ing it0 We6ll then ma&e a mid7 #ourse 3alue #orre#tion0

12

What "o You Think # Am $$ An A et%
.here is one statement often made by $o$ular leaders, both in the business (orld and in the #hur#h, (hi#h / ta&e eB#e$tion to0 /t sounds good on the surfa#e until you eBamine the im$li#ations (ord for (ord0 .hat is the one liner: 6We #ount our $eo$le as our greatest assets06 :ou agree that it sounds good, nu; :ou6re (ondering (hat in the (orld / see (rong (ith that statement, nu; / seem to be #ontradi#ting e3erything /63e said so far in this boo&, nu; / (ill grant you that most dynami# leaders (ho say it don6t realise (hat they are saying0 What they are saying is, 65eo$le are an means to an end,6 or 65eo$le are assets06 .he $oint of this boo& is, 65eo$le do not re$resent assets, they re$resent relationships&6 65eo$le are not a means to an end F they are the end to (hate3er means (e ha3e06 .hough the error is 3ery subtle, #hur#h leaders (ho ma&e the said statement are im$lying that the #hur#h is built on assets, and that $eo$le are 3aluable in that they are assets0 .hat is a (rong #on#e$t .he &ingdom of God is not made u$ of assets0 /t6s made out of relationships& .he stronger the relationshi$s in the #hur#h, the stronger the #hur#h0 A #hur#h #an lose all of its assets, but it is not any less the !hur!h for the loss0 /f the relationshi$s are all inta#t, the #hur#h should not be any (ea&er or any less 3ital for the loss of its assets0 E3en (ith all its assets, a (ell endo(ed #hur#h is only as strong as the relationshi$s in that #hur#h0 E3en if ea#h member is su$$osedly a 6strong6 Christian, they read their 1ibles e3ery day, they tithe faithfully, they $ray, they seem to lo3e the <ord? if their relationshi$s (ithin the lo#al body are (ea&, then the #hur#h is (ea&0 'oti#e that / said supposedly strong, and they seem to lo3e the <ord0 A##ording to / *ohn A:2 , the lo3e they ha3e for ea!h other is the only true indi#ator of (hether they really lo3e God or not0 /f ea#h one is $ursuing their o(n interests and not #ommitted to one another, the #hur#h is (ea&0 E3en if they6re follo(ing after the 3ision of their lo#al #hur#h, and not #ommitted to one another in relationship, the #hur#h is still (ea&? be#ause they63e failed to submit the 3ision for their lo!al #hur#h to God(s 3ision for the #hur#h at large& .he #hur#h is therefore (ea&, and the only remedy is some good eye treatment0 'o(, let6s loo& at another situation that loo&s ni#e on the surfa#e0 We6ll %uote on#e again from 6Robby6s #onteBtualised 3ersion6 of >ar& 12:A17AA:

— –
And the great $astor sat o3er against the treasury, and beheld ho( his members #ast money into the treasury for the building fund: and many that (ere ri#h #ast in mu#h money0 And there #ame a #ertain dear old lady, and she began to endorse her $ension #he%ue0 And he #alled unto him his members, and saith unto them, 6+erily / say unto you, that this dear lady hath #ast in the 6(ido(6s miteC6 "he has $ut in more than all ye (hi#h ha3e #ast into the building fund: 8or all ye did #ast in of your abundan#e? but she of her (ant did #ast in all that she had, e3en unto her (hole $ension #he%ue0 8or 3erily / say unto you that if e3ery one of you shall gi3e as this (oman has gi3en, and gi3e their 6(ido(6s mite6, surely (e shall s$eedily build our ne( gymnasium unto the glory of God0 4o( many of you do 3o( this day to gi3e the 6(ido(6s mite;6 / see thy hand, the <ord bless thee, F yea, for 3erily / see thy hand F and thy hand0006 .hen said the dear lady unto her friend, 6+erily, that (as but e%ual to the tithe from the sale of my dress

19

sho$C6

.he #on#e$t of the (ido(6s mite is one of the most misunderstood #on#e$ts F es$e#ially by fund7 raisers0 /f the goal is to gain a #ertain amount of money to meet building eB$enses, then the (ido( didn(t out gi3e the others at all' "he ga3e the least0 .he ri#h man (ho ga3e the most #urren#y ga3e the most0 1e realisti#C 4o( (ill the budget be met the %ui#&est F by a room full of $oor (ido(s gi3ing their all, or ten billionaires ea#h gi3ing a hundred thousand; "o (hat6s all this tal& about the (ido(6s mite; 1ut :eshua did say she ga3e more than them all, didn6t he; :es, he did? but (hat (as the obEe#t of the gi3ing; Was it to &ee$ the 4igh 5riest6s radio $rogram on the air; Was it for a ne( synagogue in Gamala; 'o0 .he obEe#t of gi3ing is the <ord0 .hat (ido( (as not s$eeding u$ the #onstru#tion of a ne( gate for the tem$le0 "he (as gi3ing of herself to the Lord& "he (as $arta&ing of intimate relationshi$ (ith the <ord in a form of (orshi$0 Why (as her offering more than (hat all the ri#h $eo$le ga3e; .he amount of #urren#y is immaterial0 .he im$ortant thing is it #ame from her& "he, as a $erson, (as of 3alue to God0 4o( mu#h money she had (as immaterial0 .he relationshi$ God had (ith her (as e3ery bit as 3aluable as the relationshi$ 4e #ould ho$e to ha3e (ith a CED, or the lord mayor, or the 4igh 5riest0 4er $rayers to God (ere e3ery bit as $re#ious0 4er turtle7do3e that she offered as a $ea#e offering (as e3ery bit as 3aluable as )ing 2a3id6s heifer0 /n this #ase, the (orshi$ (as eB$ressed in the form of a finan#ial donation0 .he goal of all gi3ing of tithes and donations should be )orship 2 not trying to ma&e it to the ban& on time F for eBa#tly the same reason that the #hur#h #onsists of relationships, not assets0 Assets #ost more or less money, de$ending on their 3alue0 5eo$le, 3ie(ed as assets, are (orth more, or less, de$ending on their abilities, their talents, their $hysi#al strength, their strength of #hara#ter, and their net (orth0 .hus, if you #onsider them as assets, the ri#h man is (orth mu#h more than the (ido( and her t(o mites0 4o(e3er, $eo$le, as $otential relationships. are (orth infinitely more0 .he funny thing is, (hen you re#ognise that fa#t, and you begin to relate. they do be#ome your greatest assets, but only )hen you forget about people as assets' /t6s li&e trying to loo& straight at a dim star at night, or trying to #ount the 6se3en sisters06 .he moment you loo& straight at it, it disa$$ears0 :ou #an6t see itC Dnly if you loo& a(ay from it does it rea$$ear0 >any things in life are li&e that0 .hose (ho $ursue dire#tly after ri#hes ha3e the hardest time obtaining it0 .hose (ho sim$ly do (hat they enEoy doing, and ta&e $ride in their (or& are the ones (ho get ri#h in the end F but not by trying to get ri#h0 .he same is true of obtaining the best $eo$le ha3e to gi3e0 /t (on6t e3en (or& if you say 6/ (ant to obtain the greatest results from people* therefore /6ll em$hasise relationshi$s06 .hat #an be#ome one of the (orst forms of mani$ulation if you don6t (at#h it0 'o0 :ou must em$hasise relationshi$s for their o)n sa&e, be#ause you ha3e a good eye and lo3e $eo$le F not (hat you #an get from them0 'o( you see ho( mu#h of our effort is mis$la#ed0 "ome of us s$end so mu#h time and effort trying to get #lose to #ertain $eo$le0 We6ll go to hear a famous $rea#her sooner than a 6no name06 We 3ie to sit at the same table as the (ell &no( #elebrities at lun#heons0 "ometimes that6s be#ause (e63e been told, 6"ti#& around su##essful $eo$le, or (ith anointed $eo$le, and their su##essKanointing (ill rub off06 .here is a truth to that0 .here is a time to see& an im$artation of anointing, and that is some of the 1A

time0 .here is also a time to $ursue relationshi$s, and that ha$$ens to be all of the time0 1ut ho( do you &no( that the totally un&no(n indi3idual (ho ha$$ens to be sitting alone at table = isn6t anointed; 4o( do you &no( that the lady sitting at table ! isn6t the 3ery (ido( (ho ga3e the t(o mites; 4o( do you &no( it isn6t you (ho has something that needs to rub off on someone else; 8inally, ho( do you &no( that 6God6s great man of faith and $o(er6 sitting at the head table isn6t Eust about to be eB$osed in some filthy s#andal; When the s#andal brea&s the 3ery neBt day, (ill you be Eust as %ui#& to go to him and offer him your lo3e and friendshi$; That(s (hen he6ll need the benefit of your relationshi$C Dnly if you6re Eust as %ui#& to offer it to him then, (ill you be Eustified in ha3ing $ursued an im$artation of his anointing the day before0 Re#ei3ing an im$artation is im$ortant, but it must be in the #onteBt of relationship& *ust as the (ido( and the ri#h man are e%ual in God6s sight, e3en so they are e%ual in the sight of the man (ith the 6good eye60 When you begin to truly 3alue your relationshi$ (ith the (ido(? Eust as Gn#le *oe6s $lot of 6barren6 land ,in the $re3ious #ha$ter-, e3en so, the (ido(6s mite (ill gain tremendously in 3alue0 +alue, in God6s &ingdom, isn6t bro&en do(n into dollars and $ounds0 Dn#e true 3alue of a relationshi$ is realised, it #an result in dollars and $ounds if that6s (hat you truly need at a gi3en time, but that (ill al(ays be se#ondary0 /t #an also result in anointing, or in a number of resour#es, but the $rimary 3alue is the strength of the relationshi$0 Dnly (hen you find your total satisfa#tion in relationshi$s (ill you also $rofit from the se#ondary benefits0 "o (hat about the (ido(6s mite; .hat is the fruit of the relationshi$0 .he 3alue of the mite de$ends on the 3alue you $la#e on the relationshi$ (ith the (ido(0 Better a vegetable dinner )ith love than a stall5fatted o )ith hate, said )ing "olomon ,5ro3erbs 1@:17 C*1- .he $o(er of the mite de$ends on the strength of the relationshi$ bet(een you and (ido(0 >ind you, (e aren6t tal&ing about sou3enirs or to&ens of remembran#e0 We6re tal&ing about something e3er so mu#h more $o(erfulC /t6s the same $rin#i$al (hereby 5aul sought to enhan#e the relationshi$ bet(een the belie3ers in Corinth and those in *erusalem0 4e en#ouraged them to $re$are an offering, but the underlying 3alue (asn6t in the amount gi3en, but rather000 &&&the administration of this servi!e not only supplies the needs of the saints. but also is abounding through many than1sgivings to God. )hile. through the proof of this ministry. they glorify God for the obedien!e of your !onfession to the gospel of 6hrist. and for your liberal sharing )ith them and all men. and by their prayer for you. )ho long for you be!ause of the e !eeding gra!e of God in you& Than1s be to God for 7is indes!ribable gift' ,// Cor 9:1271@ F')*+.here is a (hole ne( dimension eB$ressed in those 3erses that (e, as a (hole, ha3en e3en tou#hed yet0 .here is a longing for one another0 .here is gra#e in ea#h of us that is to be released on behalf of one another0 .hat #an only be &no(n (hen (e fully eB$lore the $otential of relationshi$s0 Dnly then (ill (e truly understand s$iritual gifts0 Good (or&s, as mentioned in Galatians =:9, .itus 9:! and E$h 2:1 are also a $art of this0 We6ll ne3er really understand these $rin#i$als until (e fully understand relationship& Remember the home(or& assignment / ga3e you in the $re3ious #ha$ter; :ou (ere to begin than&ing God for e3ery blessing you #ould thin& of0 'o( /6ll eB$and that Eust a bit: 2o (hat 5aul said the belie3ers in *erusalem (ould do, and than& God for all the brothers and sisters in Christ God has $la#ed in your life0 .han& God for e3ery a#t of &indness you #an remember? for e3ery 6(ido(6s mite,6 and e3ery 6Corinthian offering6 you ha3e re#ei3ed, and $ray a s$e#ial blessing on that $erson (ho ga3e it0 2on6t be brief, but d(ell on ea#h one, and let your faith soar on behalf of ea#h one0 .hat (ill further hel$ turn your barren $lot into an oil field, but most im$ortant, it (ill strengthen your relationshi$0

1@

# There &ife 'eyond Novelty%
November L Gn#le 4arry ga3e us a lo3ely 3ideo $layer last Christmas, and it (as the first 3ideo $layer our family has e3er had, so of #ourse, (e feel grateful to him0 'o( (e #an (at#h 3ideos e3ery (ee&end, and (e63e be#ome a member of the lo#al 3ideo rental outlet, and our &ids no( feel they #an hold their heads high, be#ause they63e seen the latest out of 4olly(ood0 Df #ourse, (hene3er Gn#le 4arry is in to(n, (e ma&e sure (e #oo& u$ something s$e#ial and $ut out the fine #hina and linen0 And the &ids, they get so eB#ited e3ery time he #omes, they6re all o3er him0 7 / (onder (hat he6ll gi3e us this Christmas; &ate "e!ember L Well, Christmas has #ome and gone, and no( it6s time to send the than& you #ards0 Well, let me see, (hat did Gn#le 4arry gi3e us; Dh, yes, a toaster0 Sigh L / had ho$ed so, that he6d gi3e us a (ide flat s#reen .+ to go (ith the 3ideo0 /t (ould ha3e made our mo3ie (at#hing more li&e a #inema eB$erien#e0 And it6s not li&e he didn6t &no( (hat (e (anted0 <ast time he (as here, (e made sure (e dro$$ed the line, 6(ouldn6t it be ni#e if (e had one of those ne( flat s#reen .+sC6 4e Eust didn6t ta&e the hint did heC February L Sigh L Gn#le 4arry6s in to(n again0 4e (ould #hoose su#h a busy time, but L (ell, he is our un#le, after all, so (e should ha3e him o3er, right 4on; .oo tired to do u$ anything s$e#ial; D&ay, /6ll order )8C0 The followin( day L >y daughter o3erheard me telling someone, 64arry6s #oming o3er tonight60 4er fa#e lit u$, and she said, 64arry 5otter;C6 / $ut her straight, and her fa#e fell0 6Gh, "n!le 4arry06 That evenin( L Gn#le 4arry #ame o3er, (e sat around and ate #hi#&en0 4e didn6t stay 3ery long, be#ause the &ids all (anted to (at#h a 3ideo ,the 4arry 5otter mo3ie, / thin&-0 4e seemed a little bit disa$$ointed L / thin& he eB$e#ted a little bit more of an e3ening, but / mean, #ome onC 2oes he eB$e#t royal treatment e3ery time he sti#&s his head in; .oo bad, Gn#le 4arry (as no more than an asset0 And as an asset, he bro&e rule number one of asset7 self7management, (hi#h is: al(ays ma&e sure your neBt di3idend ,read: gift or $ea#e offering- is bigger and better than the $re3ious, be#ause as an asset, you are only 3aluable as long as the no3elty lasts0 .hat6s (hy / mu#h $refer a genuine relationshi$ to being an asset0 1ut the real reason for the abo3e illustration is to sho( ho( a bad eye affe#ts not only our 3ie( of $eo$le, but also of things0 .he things that (e (ant al(ays seem so mu#h more 3aluable than the things (e already ha3e, and (ith it, the 3alue of the gi3er, or that of the $otential gi3er0 'o matter ho( badly (e feel (e need something, be it a $romotion, a labour sa3ing de3ise, a luBury item, or (hate3er, it6s 3alue (ill ne3er outlast it6s no3elty on#e (e63e attained it0 Df #ourse, (e6ll al(ays a$$ear than&ful to God and to the gi3er, but only (hile no3elty lasts0 Dn#e the ne( thing or situation is a##e$ted and finds it6s $la#e as a $ermanent fiBture among our other #rut#hes and de$enden#ies so that it gi3e us a more ele3ated 3ie( of things, (e6re suddenly enable to see (hat more other $eo$le ha3e that (e don6t ha3e yet, and our fo#us shifts to that instead0 .he Mgreat /rish dreamN ,(hat so many /rishmen left the shores of the Emerald /sle to find in 1=

Ameri#a- is a life of #onstantly mo3ing u$(ard, so#ially and e#onomi#ally, to e3er higher $lateau0 Dur (hole (estern mind set has be#ome based on this0 We are told to set goals, and fo#us our a#ti3ities so as to mo3e e3er for(ard and u$(ard0 E3en in the Christian (orld, (e see& e3er bigger and better #hur#hes, e3angelisti# #am$aigns, #hur#h and "unday s#hool attendan#e and offerings0 8or the he more Ms$iritualN of us, it6s e3er more $rofound Mtou#hesN from the <ord, greater and more amaHing mira#les of healing and more thunder and lightning #om$lete (ith angeli# 3isitations0 / don6t mean to belittle all that, but it6s Eust that the #hildren of /srael had all of that, and they still grumbled (hen things (ere less than (hat they eB$e#ted0 .hey (itnessed the mira#le of food falling from hea3en e3ery morning0 "oon, they #om$lained that they (ere tired of nothing but the same old mira#le food e3ery day, and (anted regular do(n7to7earth food, so God sent them %uails0 .hey ate %uails until it #ame out their noses0 We all &no( the story, ho( they murmured and #om$lained all the time0 1ut they had so mu#h alreadyC .hey had (itnessed God defeat the su$er7$o(er of the day, Egy$t, the e3il em$ire, single7handedly0 .hey sa( the Red "ea $art, and they (al&ed through on dry land0 All the s$e#ial effe#ts that mo3ie #om$anies today s$end millions of dollars on, they sa( li3e, (ith no film editing at allC 8ood (as gi3en to them e3ery day, (ater (as $ro3ided, their shoes didn6t (ear out, and they #ame a(ay (ith the ri#hes of Egy$t0 Wouldn6t they ha3e done mu#h better had they learned to enEoy (hat they had instead of (ishing for (hat they didn6t ha3e; 'o(, e3erything that they (ere (ishing for (as in the $laning0 /t (as #oming0 All they had to do (as be $atient, and ha3e faith for it, but instead, they $ut it off for another A years be#ause of their murmuring and #om$laining, and forgetting all about (hat they already had L things that they (ould one day $roudly tell their (ide7eyed grand7&ids all abut0 1ut then, it meant nothing to them0 'o(, (ere they su#h eB$erts at murmuring and #om$laining; Was that a story of ho( es$e#ially bad the Children of /srael (ere L or maybe it6s about human nature that (e all ha3e; /f the story of Gn#le 4arry and the 3ideo $layer is anything to go by, and / thin& that more of us #an identify (ith it than (ill #are to admit, it6s human nature0 /t6s about us0 "o, is it $ossible that our on(ard and u$(ard $rogress may be held u$ be#ause (e fail to maintain a than&ful attitude for (hat (e already ha3e; God, in many (ays, is no different than Gn#le 4arry ,Gn#le 4arry )as #reated in God6s image, after all-0 God li&es to gi3e, but if (e a$$ear $rofoundly less than&ful for the toaster than for the 3ideo $layer? or if (e sto$ being than&ful for the 3ideo $layer be#ause it6s already a $ermanent fiBture, and moreo3er, (e thought it (as time for a flat s#reen .+? is he ins$ired to &ee$ gi3ing us gifts; / .imothy =:= says, godliness )ith !ontentment is great gain& .he more literal Com$lete *e(ish 1ible, beginning (ith the $re3ious 3erse says, &&&they imagine that religion is a road to ri!hes& 3o). true religion does bring great ri!hes. but only to those )ho are !ontent )ith )hat they have& Am / mista&en, or is this yet another $aradoB; ,.hat is a 6$air of do#tors6? one says 6it6s this (ay,6 and the other says, 6no, it6s that (ay6, and they6re both right- 4o( does one stri3e to be ri#h and su##essful (hen one is already #ontent; /t6s all in ho( one defines 6ri#hes60 .o the bad eye, ri#hes are measured by assets L money, resour#es, status, material $ossessions, things that appear to bring ha$$iness0 .he dri3e to attain these things is #alled ambition0 Ambition is really Eust the #ounterfeit of hope0 4o$e is (hat dri3es faith0 4aith is the substan!e of things hoped for ,4ebre(s 11:1 )*+-0 .hat6s (hat dri3es the $erson (ith a good eye0 .he good eye sees (hat really does bring ha$$iness L relationshi$s (ith $eo$le, and (ith God0 17

.here are material $ossessions in3ol3ed, yes, but they go so mu#h further for the good eye, as they ser3e to enhan#e the relationshi$ as$e#t0 /n a#tual fa#t, the $eo$le (ho get ri#h the %ui#&est are those (ho thought they (ere already ri#h0 .hey6re #ontent (ith (hat they ha3e, be#ause su#h a great $art of (hat ma&es them ha$$y is the $eo$le around them0 .hat attitude affe#ts their lifestyle, and e3en their business $ra#ti#es0 .hat6s the $oint (here true religion brings great ri!hes, as (e sa( abo3e0 A businessman (ith a good eye is than&ful to(ards his or her #lients for their business, and does his utmost to ma&e them ha$$y, be#ause he or she delights in re#i$ro#ating a good turn0 .he Eoy (ith (hi#h the #lient is ser3ed, and the %uality of ser3i#e, of #ourse, ins$ires the #lient to &ee$ #oming ba#& for more, and e3en send other business his (ay0 .his is a $attern (e see #ontinuously in the business (orld0 .hose (hose soul aim is to ma&e money, ha3e the hardest time rea#hing their goal0 "ometimes (e (ant something so badly, (e6ll ne3er a#hie3e it0 <i&e (e mentioned earlier, trying to #ount the "e3en "isters0 Dr ha3e you e3er loo&ed and loo&ed for something you mis$la#ed, only to find it later, (hile loo&ing for something else; .he se#ret is to see& the right thing0 .he right thing is #ontentment, and being ha$$y and than&ful (ith (hat (e ha3e0 /t6s those (ho do (hat they do be#ause they en8oy it, and those (ho stri3e for eB#ellen#e, and $ut #ustomer satisfa#tion before e3erything else, in#luding $rofits, that suddenly find they ha3e more #ustomers than they &no( (hat to do (ith ,a good head for business should find the balan#e bet(een enEoyment and $rofit-0 A restaurant (here the #hef enEoys #oo&ing is a mu#h ni#er $la#e to eat, and attra#ts more diners than one (here the #hef is only doing (hat he6s $aid to do0 When one is ha$$y about (hat one is doing, and one enEoys ma&ing people ha$$y, then the money and assets follo( naturally0 "o, #ontentment #omes first, and then, material su##ess0 .he se#ret is to be #ontent and ha$$y (ith (hat you ha3e e3en (hen the no3elty has long (orn off0 As of this (riting, /63e had my #ar for siB months, and /6m still #ounting ho( mu#h taBi fare /63e sa3ed0 / still remind myself (hat a lo( $ri#e (e $aid for it, and yet, (hat good #ondition it6s in0 / ho$e to still be #ounting sa3ed taBi fares a year from no(0 E3en though many an Audi and >er#edes has o3erta&en me on the eB$ress(ay, /6m ha$$y0 .he no3elty has (orn off, of #ourse, but #ontinually than&ing God for it is a good eBer#ise in assets management0 .he same thing goes for ho( God has blessed our ministry, or our $ersonal blessings (e63e re#ei3ed s$iritually0 /t6s one thing to Eust say, 6be ha$$y (ith the toaster6, (hen (e really had our eye on the flat s#reen .+0 /f (e6re honest (ith oursel3es, and re#ognise that our eye needs healing, then (e6ll &ee$ see&ing God for 4is eye sal3e0 /t (on6t ha$$en o3ernight, li&e /63e said earlier, but at least you6re reading the right boo&0 We6ll #ontinue to tal& about (ays to re#ei3e healing for our eyes, and to eBer#ise oursel3es so as to strengthen relationshi$s, so &ee$ reading0 A good $la#e to start is $ra#ti#e than&ing God for things you ha3e already L things that (ere no3elties on#e, but you find yourself no(, ta&ing for granted0 *ust &ee$ doing it until it gets to your heart, and affe#ts your eyes0

1!

'i( 'rother i Wat!hin( )and o i '&ittle 'rother'*
Dne #ontro3ersy that has dogged the #hur#h for #enturies is that #on#erning $redestination F the %uestion of (hether (e, oursel3es made the ultimate de#ision to #ome into the &ingdom of God and e3entually ma&e it to hea3en, or if God made the de#ision (ho (ould end u$ in hea3en and (ho (ould end u$ in hell0 /t6s %uite a fiery #ontro3ersy in some #ir#les0 .here are also many shades of belief bet(een the t(o0 Whether one side is 1 O right and the other 1 O (rong, (hether there is truth on both sides, (hether it6s e3en a rele3ant %uestion to begin (ith F / ha3e good ne(s: /6m not here to ans(er that %uestion0 /6ll lea3e it for you, my readers, to argue it among yoursel3es0 / Eust (ant to address one of the arguments made by one of the sides, and (hat / say may gi3e su$$ort to the other side, but beyond that, /6ll be of no hel$ (hatsoe3er0 .he argument is: if God is so3ereign, if all things #onsist in 4im, if it6s 4is $lan to sum u$ the ages in Christ and set u$ 4is &ingdom and affe#t the do(nfall of "atan6s &ingdom, if God is indeed in #ontrol, then 4e must be the one (ho ultimately de#ided (hether you (ould turn right and attend the e3angelisti# meeting, or turn left and head off to the $ubs F or (hether you (ould raise your hand in res$onse to the alter #all or fold your arms and $out0 Df #ourse, folding your arms and $outing (as an im$ortant o##urren#e in the eternal s#heme of things, not only in that you reEe#ted sal3ation, but the a#tions in3ol3ed #aused, (hat s#ientists #all, the 6butterfly effe#t60 A##ording to mathemati#ians, a butterfly fla$$ing its (ings in Central Afri#a has an effe#t, ho(e3er minute, on the #ourse of a ty$hoon in the "outh China "ea, e3en if it6s many times too small to be measured by any measuring de3ise or standard &no(n to man0 /f it #aused any sort of effe#t on anything, then it affe#ts the future, so it must be under God6s dire#t #ontrol0 .hat, of #ourse, is one of the arguments for double $redestination, as o$$osed to free (ill0 /n other (ords, if God is truly so3ereign, 4e must ha3e $lanned e3ery single mo3ement of e3ery single $erson, animal, or obEe#t0 >any, of #ourse, may not hold this o$inion to %uite that eBtreme0 >y ans(er is: God is e3en greater than that0 4e is able to allo( e3eryone to ma&e their o(n #hoi#e, and e3en mess things u$ on a grand s#ale ,(hi#h (e ha3e-, and still maintain #ontrol o3er the #ourse of the (orld0 4is (isdom is infinite0 'o matter ho( dee$ the effe#ts of the (rong turns go, God6s (isdom goes still dee$er0 4e &no(s eBa#tly (hat to (his$er into the ear of the butterfly in Central Afri#a to ma&e it ha3e Eust the right effe#t on the tro$i#al storm in the "outh China "ea, so as to #ounterbalan#e your failure to fold your arms and $out in the e3angelisti# meeting0 "atan may be #unning and #le3er, and (e may be frightfully stu$id, but God6s (isdom anti#i$ates both "atan6s (iles and our amaHing stu$idity0 4e &no(s la(s of $hysi#s and dee$ se#rets of the uni3erse that "atan &no(s nothing of0 After all, 4e #reated them0 .o $ro3e it, 4e dealt "atan the death blo( by a means that #aught him totally off his guard F the #ross0 "atan a#tually in3ented the #ross0 /t used to be one of his fa3ourite instruments of torture, but no( he hates it (ith a $assion0 "atan o$erated under the assum$tion that God (ould go about re#on#iling the (orld to 4imself by some hea3y7handed $o(er7mo3e su#h as "atan, himself, is a##ustomed to0 .hat6s the only method "atan &no(s of, or belie3es (ill (or&, and that6s (hat he bra#ed himself for0 /t too& him thoroughly off his guard (hen :eshua (ent to the eBe#ution sta&e F "atan6s fa3ourite toy F in su#h a submissi3e 19

attitude li&e a shee$ being led to the slaughter, and %uietly allo(ed his life to be P F no, it )asn(t ta&en from 4im? 4e ga3e it u$ 4imself0 4e beat the hunter to the tra$, as it (ere, and Eust Eum$ed right inC "atan still doesn6t &no( (hat hit him0 1ut he hates the #ross0 /t re$resents his ultimate defeat, and it #ontinues to be the tool of his defeat at the hands of belie3ers0 /6m not tal&ing about the fan#y little #rosses $eo$le hang about their ne#&s, or $la#e on to$ of #hur#h stee$les? 7 but rather, the attitude of being dead, as though by the most #ruel and shameful means F #ru#ified to the (orld and to e3erything (e on#e thought (as im$ortant0 /t (as by means of the #ross that :eshua ga3e u$ e3erything for the sa&e of that (hi#h he #onsidered truly $re#ious F relationshi$s0 /t6s by a##e$ting the life of the #ross that (e be#ome dead to the (orld and our eyes suddenly be#ome o$en to the im$ortan#e of relationshi$s0 "atan doesn6t 3alue relationshi$s 3ery highly0 4e 3ie(s $eo$le and other beings as assets0 Relationshi$s are only 3aluable to him in maintaining $eo$le as assets0 Assets are something you #ontrol0 /n order to gain the most 3alue from an asset you must ha3e full #ontrol o3er it0 A good businessman ta&es good #are of his assets, and &ee$s them maintained and ordered in a tidy (ay so he #an al(ays a##urately $redi#t and maBimise their out$ut0 "atan is a good businessman0 "o are a lot of $eo$le0 /n the #ha$ter on than&sgi3ing, (e des#ribed the dar& (orld of those (ho don6t ha3e a sense of a$$re#iation of $eo$le F those la#&ing a good eye0 .he $eo$le des#ribed in that #ha$ter (eren6t ne#essarily $oor? they sim$ly la#&ed the more (holesome reasons to desire $ros$erity F those based on interde$enden#e, gratefulness and the desire to be in the $osition to hel$ others and to return the blessings they63e re#ei3ed0 All they6re left (ith are the selfish in#enti3es to gain (ealth, based on greed, lust, thirst for $o(er et!& .here6s really no differen#e bet(een the ri#h and the $oor in this res$e#t0 1oth, at the same time, are de$endent on, and see& to eBer#ise #ontrol o3er their assets0 Whereas many $oor $eo$le regard their donors as no more than assets? the ri#h regard their em$loyees, their se#retaries, their s$ouses, their #hildren and their #olleagues as assets0 /n one #ase, the fa#t that one is de$endent on one6s assets seems the more ob3ious to those loo&ing from outside, and in the other #ase, the fa#t that one eBer#ises #ontrol o3er one6s assets seems more ob3ious0 /n reality, both are de$endent, and both eBer#ise #ontrol of some sort ,or see& to do so-0 /t6s Eust a different ty$e of #ontrol in ea#h #ase0 Dne is the 6big brother6 ty$e of #ontrol, and the other is the 6little brother6 ty$e0 .he $oor, or the 6little brothers6 often eBer#ise #ontrol by infli#ting guilt, sometimes by dis$laying themsel3es as obEe#ts of $ity0 "ometimes they use de#eit, and sometimes, $oliti#al #lout0 Dften the need to dis$lay themsel3es as hel$less &ee$s them from de3elo$ing to(ards inde$enden#e be#ause in the $ro#ess, they6d lose the 3alue of their asset0 Dften, #ontrol is mutual bet(een the 6big6 and the 6little6 brother, and in some $la#es, this has be#ome the #ultural norm0 .he 6big brother ,or sister-6, li&e(ise, de$ends on the 6little brothers and sisters6 but in a different (ay0 /n most #ases, he ,or she- doesn6t realise ho( de$end he ,or she- is0 1ut they are ne3er7the7less de$endant0 Any time one sees a $erson as sim$ly an asset, that is a sign of de$enden#y0 /n order for that de$enden#y to be $rodu#ti3e, one must eBer#ise #ontrol0 .he 6big brother6 #ontrols through intimidation, through mani$ulation and sometimes through offering fleshly gratifi#ation ,i0e0 ri#hes, $o(er et!&-0 Any stimuli (ill do if it (ill in#rease the $rodu#ti3ity and one6s #ontrol o3er one6s asset0 Dn the surfa#e, all this may loo& li&e a lifestyle to be #o3eted, but in reality, it6s a dar& dar& (orld0
7 /t6s by means of the fan#y artisti# #rosses that "atan has attem$ted to defame the true meaning of the #ross0 /t (as "atan, himself, (ho $ainted #rosses onto the shields of the #rusaders as he sent them out to (rea& ha3o# on >uslim and *e(ish #ommunities0

2

8ear is the moti3ating fa#tor, not only through the intimidation of one6s assets, but also the fear that one6s assets may one day begin to thin& for themsel3es0 /t6s fear of a (orld in (hi#h one has no #ontrol, and a fear of $eo$le one #an6t $redi#t F fear of true mutual relationshi$s0 1ut $erfe#t lo3e #asts out all fear0 5erfe#t lo3e (as manifested through the #ross0 Greater lo3e has no man than he (ho gi3es his life for a friend F es$e#ially through death on a #ross0 .he #ross, itself, is $roof that God is abo3e the need to #ontrol0 /n the garden of Eden, God sho(ed that 4e didn6t fear man6s $otential for failure, and 4e e3en left the door o$en for man to ma&e the (rong #hoi#e if he #hose0 And, of #ourse, he did ma&e the (rong #hoi#e0 A very (rong #hoi#e0 1ut on the #ross, thousands of years later, God $ro3ed that 4e still didn6t fear man6s freedom to #hose0 >an #hose to #ru#ify and (ound 4im, but through that, :eshua too& the (ounds of man&ind F the dee$ (ounds that &ee$ many in a #o#oon of fear and #ontrol0 .hrough the #ross, man #an es#a$e that dar& #o#oon, and enter the bright ad3enturous (orld of relationshi$s0 1y 4is stri$es (e (ere healed0

21

Say You $$ Say +e, 'ut Say #t With Your -ye
What is relationshi$ any(ay; After all, (e63e been using that (ord li&e $eanut butter on toastC 2oes it mean something li&e your third #ousin; Dr your mother7in7la( ,for (hom, as you no doubt remember, you6re going to buy a #o$y of this boo&-; A#tually, (hat (e are tal&ing about is not a $assi3e thing F as in 6related to6 F but rather, a#ti3e, as in 6to relate06 .he best des#ri$tion /63e found so far of the sim$le a!t of relating, is #ontained in a boo& by >artin 1uber, % and Thou&! .he fa#t is, / ha3en6t e3en finished reading the boo&, and / still thin& it6s the best0 Again, (e6re tal&ing about the sim$le a#t of relating0 .hough only one of many #om$onents, it6s an im$ortant one to understand0 >ind you, though, >artin 1uber didn6t invent the 6/7you6 relationshi$0 4e only des#ribed it0 /t (as really there all along0 We63e all F most of us that is F engaged in it at some time or another0 .he $roblem is, some(here along the road to higher s$irituality, (e forget ho(0 #$you ver u #$it… 4e des#ribes t(o basi# (ord #ou$lets: 6/7you6 and 6/7it60 6/7you6 is relationshi$0 6/7it6 is sim$ly an eB$erien#e0 .here is a 3ital differen#e bet(een relating to someone and eB$erien#ing someone0 4o(e3er, many $eo$le ha3e ne3er realised that differen#e0 When it6s 6/7it,6 6/6 am eB$erien#ing 6it06 6/t6 #an be either a $erson, an animal or a thing0 Either (ay, /6m either using 6it6, analysing or obser3ing 6it,6 or else doing something to gain a res$onse, su#h as tal&ing to 6it06 6/t6 may also tal& to me, and (e may #arry on a #on3ersation, but to me it6s no more $ersonal than using a dialogue boB in a #om$uter $rogram0 All the (hile, /6m a##umulating a #ase history of my 6it6 and ma&ing #om$arisons (ith other 6it7s60 'one of this holds true (hen the other $erson be#omes 6you06 When 6it6 be#omes 6you6 suddenly (e are in the 6right no(06 6:ou6 fills u$ my (hole #ons#iousness0 .ogether, (e may tal& about, or eB$erien#e an 6it6 but it6s al(ays 6/6 and 6you6 eB$erien#ing 6it6 as one0 6/7it6 al(ays d(ells on history F e3en history that (as made a s$lit se#ond ago0 6/7you6 is al(ays 6right no(06 6/7you6 is me relating (ith (hat you are, not (hat you63e done& When / begin analysing (hat you63e done. you6re no longer 6you6 but an 6it06 As soon as /63e #ome to terms (ith (hat you63e done, you #an on#e again be#ome 6you06 .hat6s one reason (hy forgi3eness and a##e$tan#e is so im$ortant in a relationshi$0 1ut (hen 6/6 than1 6you,6 that6s different0 .hat is 6/6 bas&ing in a$$re#iation of (hat 6you6 are. (hi#h resulted in (hat you did& What you are is your #a$a#ity to gi3e the (ido(6s mite0 :ou do that as 6you06 What you !an do or ha3e done, is your #a$a#ity to gi3e more than, or less than the ri#h $eo$le in our fund raising #am$aign in the $re3ious #ha$ter0 .hat, you do as an 6it06 8or that, there6s not so mu#h a 6than& you6 nor a sense of genuine a$$re#iation, but rather, a 6debt of gratitude6, or a fa3our that must be re$aid0 /t6s something in the history of the 6it6 that must be a##ounted for F or (orse yet, it6s sim$ly the 6it6 fulfilling his or her role as an asset0
! >artin 1uber % and Thou. trans0 by Walter )aufmann, Charles "#ribner6s "ons, 'e( :or&, 197

22

4o(e3er, (hen / re!eive from a 6you6, )hat / re#ei3e is not the all im$ortant fa#tor, but rather, the 6you6 that ga3e it0 /t6s not a histori#al thing that needs to be #om$ensated for, but rather something to be a$$re#iated right no)& /f there is any of (hat !an be #alled a 6#om$ensation6, it6s not something that #an be measured 3alue $er 3alue, but rather, it6s my all in return for your all& /6d mu#h rather ha3e you as a 6you6 than an 6it06 /6m afraid that if / &ee$ on li&e this, /6ll be e3ery bit as hea3y on the reading glasses as the late >artin 1uber himselfC .he reason the des#ri$tion has to be so obs#ure, is be#ause you #an6t really des#ribe it other(ise0 :ou either get it or you don6t0 .he a#tual relationshi$ is really 3ery sim$le0 2es#ribing it isn6t0 / sus$e#t that to one (ho has ne3er really related to someone before, /t6s li&e des#ribing the #olour green to one (ho6s blind from birth0 /f that6s you, don6t (orry0 .here6s still ho$e0 .he reason /63e des#ribed it as best as / #an is so that (e6ll &no( the differen#e bet(een relating and eB$erien#ing0 .here are times (e all eB$erien#e (hen (e ought to be relating0 Worshi$ is relationshi$0 .oo often, (e eB$erien#e it0 .o (orshi$ is to relate dire#tly to God F not thin& about 4im0 :ou ne3er thin& about the one you6re relating to0 .he moment you do, you6re ba#& into 6/7it06 .oo often, (e stand there during a (orshi$ ser3i#e saying, 6/s the "$irit mo3ing; 2o / feel the $resen#e of God; D&ay, there it is F 4alleluEah F / thin& /6ll shift into tongues F DhC .hat6s (onderfulC .his guy really &no(s ho( to lead (orshi$ 000 et!&6 At least that6s (hat % tend to do0 >aybe you don6t0 vulnerability… 'o(, in saying all that, / must add that 6/7it6 is not al(ays a bad thing0 'or is 6/7you6 al)ays ne#essarily a good thing0 8or one thing, it is diffi#ult for most of us to remain in 6/7you6 for a $rotra#ted $eriod of time0 /t6s only (hen (e are together that 6it6 be#omes 6you,6 in the first $la#e0 E3en then, it6s only during $ea& moments0 Also, 6/7you6 #an be one sided0 A $erson #an be in 6/7you6 mode (ith an inanimate obEe#t, su#h as a $i#ture they are $ainting, or a #hara#ter in a story0 Dne of a #ourting #ou$le #an be in 6/7you6 (ith a $artner (ho is res$onding in 6/7it6, and (onder (hy he or she seems so distant, or la#&ing in (armth0 Where this is definitely negati3e, is in $agan (orshi$0 .he (orshi$$er is often in 6/7you6 relationshi$ (ith an idol, but the demoni# $o(er behind the idol is most #ertainly in 6/7it6 mode, analysing the situation so as to ta&e the greatest ad3antage of the (orshi$$er6s 3ulnerability0 .his is a $rime eBam$le of ho( a one7sided /7you relationshi$ #an be an effe#ti3e tool in maintaining #ontrol o3er another $erson as an 6asset60 'o matter (hat the situation, there is al(ays a measure of 3ulnerability (hen entering into 6/7you6 mode0 .hat Eust in itself isn6t al(ays bad0 E3erything (e do entails a measure of ris&0 4o(e3er, it6s eBa#tly that, (hi#h &ee$s many $eo$le from entering into $ersonal relationshi$s0 A rule of thumb is: $eo$le are mu#h 6safer6 (hen maintained as assets rather than as $ersonal relationshi$s0 When you6re (ounded, you $lay it safe F that is until you finally o$en yourself to the Dne (ho (as (illingly (ounded for you0 E3en that (ill seem li&e a ris&y 3enture at first0 the other !om.onent … Also, as / said, 6/7you6 is only one among other #om$onents of the (ider range of (hat (e usually refer to as 6relationshi$60 /t is #entral, Eust as the #0$0u0 is #entral to a #om$uter0 4o(e3er, a #0$0u0 #an6t fun#tion (ithout the other #om$onents, su#h as the ram memory and rom7bios and other #om$onents0 /n the same (ay, in relationshi$, there must also be lo3e, #ommitment, and #ertain other things (hi#h (e (ill no( loo& at0 29

What /6m saying is, the #on#e$t of 6/7you6 3ersus 6/7it6 is a $o(erful truth, but it must be &e$t in its #onteBt0 Dn#e e3erything is in $ro$er $ers$e#ti3e, this (ill ta&e us a long (ay0 .hat6s eBa#tly (hat the 1ible is for F &ee$ing things in $ers$e#ti3e0 1e#ause an 6/7you6 relationshi$ !an be one7sided, (e 3itally need the (ord of God to sho( us (hether or not it is in fa#t God (e are (orshi$$ing0 We need yet another #om$onent — truth& God is "$irit, yes, but those (ho (orshi$ 4im must (orshi$ 4im in s$irit and in truth0 Dther(ise, (e6re in danger of (orshi$$ing some figment of our fantasy, and not God at all0 >any #hildren (ho li3e (ith no #om$anions their age ha3e an imaginary friend0 .hey $lay #ontentedly all day and tal& as though they really had a #om$anion0 .hey are in an 6/7you6 mode (ith someone (ho6s really Eust a figment of their imagination0 "ometimes it gro(s to be more than Eust a figment of their imagination, but there are other boo&s about that0 Gnless (e are relating to God in s$irit and in truth, (e6re li&e a #hild (ith an imaginary friend0 >ind you, (e are to humble oursel3es and be#ome as a #hild, but not in that (ay0 ,/ $ersonally don6t belie3e an imaginary friend is healthy e3en for #hildren-0 "o, ho( mu#h truth do you need to (orshi$ God in s$irit and truth; As mu#h as 4e6s sho(n you0 4o( does 4e sho( you; .hree (ays: .hrough 1, the Word? and 2, the 4oly "$irit? and 9, through members of 4is body, the #hur#h? in that order of im$ortan#e,9 but all three being 3itally im$ortant the hort!ut… 1ut belie3e it or not, there6s a short7#ut:1 / *ohn A:2 says, %f someone says. (% love God.( and hates his brother. he is a liar* for he )ho does not love his brother )hom he has seen. ho) !an he love God )hom he has not seen9 ,')*+4o( is that a short7#ut, you as&; 8irst off, /t6s the Word of God0 /t6s really %uite a large $ortion of the Word of God summed u$ in one 3erse, *ust as 2euteronomy =:@ and <e3iti#us 19:1! ,Love the Lord your God:Love your neighbour as yourself- sum u$ all the .orah and the 5ro$hets0 /n the same 3ein, / 5eter A:! says, 6<o3e (ill #o3er a multitude of sins06 "e#ondly, by lo3ing God and lo3ing your brothers ,in#luding the unlo3able ones- you $retty (ell $ro3e that you6re (al&ing in the s$irit0 Che#& out Galatians @:220 8inally, (al&ing in relationshi$ (ith your brother as $roof that you are indeed in relationshi$ (ith God, means you are o$en to any truth that filters do(n to you from God 3ia your brother0 /n other (ords, / *ohn A:2 is the ultimate test of (hether your 6/7you6 relationshi$ (ith God is one7 sided or not0 /f you are indeed in relationshi$ (ith God, you (ill also relate to your fello( belie3ers0 /t6s really as sim$le as that0 /f you thin1 you are relating to God, but you are unable to relate to $eo$le, then you6re either not in a real 6/7you6 relationshi$ (ith God? or else that6s not God but rather your imaginary friend0 1ut let me tell you0 .he real God is so mu#h better than anything you #ould e3er imagine0 Go for the real thingC

9 .he Word of God is of #ourse su$reme0 E3ery leading of the 4oly "$irit must be tested by the Word of God0 <i&e(ise, e3ery leading through a member of the body of Christ must be ba#&ed both by the Word and the "$irit0 1 000(hi#h a#tually in#ludes all of the abo3e0

2A

/od Ha a /ood -ye
*ust for the fun of it, let6s go ba#& to (here (e started, and follo( the #onteBt in <u&e6s a##ount until (e get to the $assage about the 6good eye6 ,i0e0 all the (ay from <u&e 1 :2@ to 11:9=- 11 What (e (ill learn from this is that faith is sim$ly resting in the #onfiden#e that God has a god eye0 a)n* )un*!ertain Samaritan… Where (e started (as (ith the 65arable of a,n- ,un-Certain "amaritan6, (hi#h is, of #ourse, based on the 65arable of the Good "amaritan6 in <u&e 1 :2@7970 /t (as :eshua6s ans(er to a rabbi6s %uery, 6Who is my neighbour;6 We don6t ha3e to go o3er the story again, but the $oint is F (hether you go by :eshua6s original $arable, or by 6Robby6s <iterary <i#ensed +ersion6 F the one (ho sto$$ed to hel$ the $oor man had the good eye, and those (ho didn6t, didn6t0 .he reason / #hanged the <e3ite and $riest into Christian #lergymen, and the "amaritan into a rabbi is to ma&e the $arable sound Eust as radi#al to us as it sounded to :eshua6s audien#e0 /n those days, <e3ites and $riests (ere #onsidered among the finest members of so#iety, Eust as $astors and seminary $rofessors are today0 8or some reason, (e, in the 2 th #entury ha3e been left (ith the general im$ression that all <e3ites and $riests (ere hy$o#riti#al stuffed7shirts, and that "amaritans (ere all (onderful $eo$le0 'o(, it is %uite li&ely that :eshua had a sur$risingly good eB$erien#e (ith "amaritans, as (e see from the a##ount of the (oman at the (ell of "y#har ,indeed, the (hole $o$ulation of "y#har-, and the one le$er in ten that had a good eye and returned to than& 4im on seeing that he had been healed0 1oth from these eB$erien#es and :eshua6s $arable, (e get the im$ression that many "amaritans had a 6good eye6, and that this fa#t (as hidden from *e(s of that day by their $reEudi#e0 /n the same (ay, the fa#t that there are many fine rabbis today (ho ha3e a 6good eye6 is hidden from Christians (ith similar $reEudi#es012 ,(hat (e didn6t mention in our 3ersion of the $arable, 6.he ,un-Certain "amaritan6, (as that the man atta#&ed by terrorists (as a#tually a Christian 5alestinian li3ing in .el7A3i3 dri3ing a rented #ar-0 "o, (ho had the good eye; +arta0 +arta0 8ollo(ing the #onteBt from there, (e go straight into another $assage that eB$lains the 6good eye6 ,<u&e 1 :9!7A2-0 Again, (e6ll dra( from 6Robby6s EB$anded .ranslation6 ,/f you63e already read this in one of our other boo&s, s&i$ to the end of the $assage and read on-:

— –
/t (as a great $ri3ilege, indeed, to ha3e one as reno(ned as :eshua sto$$ing o3er all the time0 After all, it6s not e3eryone (ho has the #han#e to entertain the one (ho is belie3ed to be the >essiah of /srael, and
11 Dne rabbini#al rule of inter$reting the .orah is that though the e3ents are often not re#orded in #hronologi#al order, there is a $ur$ose for the order you do find0 A 3ital $rin#i$al, or a train of thought #an be found throughout sometimes a doHen #ontiguous $assages0 .his also holds true of the gos$els0 When #losely #om$aring >atthe(, >ar& and <u&e, it6s ob3ious that the e3ents are not all in #hronologi#al order, but there is a $ur$ose in the order the e3ents are re#orded in0 .he intent of :eshua6s (ords #an sometimes only be found (hen one eBamines the #onteBt running through se3eral #ha$ters0 .hat6s our $ur$ose in this #ha$ter0 12 A $rime eBam$le (as the late >artin 1uber, (hose s&ilful des#ri$tion of the 3alue of relations (e dis#ussed in the $re3ious #ha$ter0

2@

e3ery time he #ame to *erusalemC >arta too& this $ri3ilege 3ery seriously0 /n fa#t, she out did herself e3ery time he #ame0 E3en the s$e#ial deli#a#ies that had been $ut a(ay for Shabbat, or for one of the great feasts (yom tov), (ere brought out (hene3er :eshua arri3ed0 "he al(ays said, 6We really must go out of our (ay to ma&e him feel (el#ome, be#ause (ho &no(s; Are there not many $eo$le better than us in *erusalem; Would he not go to lodge (ith them if he tires of our #om$any;6 <aHar and >iriam agreed0 >iriam al(ays tried to be hel$ful, but she (as more the sentimental im$ra#ti#al ty$e0 At times, she6d (or& hard, but if she (ere left to herself, the house (ould soon be de#lared a disaster area by the high $riestC .hen, tell me, (ho (ould e3er sto$ in for a 3isit; /t (as Eust as (ell she had su#h an able sister as >arta around to tell her (hat to do0 At least >arta thought so0 .here (as something about :eshua that made >iriam feel good about herself0 Around him, she Eust felt F let6s say F freeC At easeC >arta (as a different bas&et of fish0 Al(ays s#oldingC DiC +ehC >iriamC Why #an6t you do this rightC >iriamC :ou forgot to do thatC >iriamC 4o( many times ha3e / told you000C .oday, :eshua (as ba#&, sitting in his usual seat, and on#e again, >iriam felt good about herself0 .here (ere a number of :eshua6s $u$ils there as (ell, sitting around on #ushions on the floor, as (ell as a fe( others (ho #ame along0 :eshua (as on#e again ma&ing his remar&s about this and that F you &no(, su#h ordinary sounding things, but things you (ould ne3er e3en ha3e thought of, but as soon as he said them, you Eust &ne( they (ere trueC "omething inside al(ays said, 6/t6s about time someone said thatC6 .hen he (as illustrating them (ith the most imaginati3e storiesC .his time, >iriam felt li&e sitting right there, $lo$, in the middle, listening to :eshua (ith her #hin resting on both hands0 .o tell you the truth, she6d al(ays felt li&e doing that, but there (as al(ays 1 1 things to do in the &it#hen0 .his time, she felt so good about it that, that6s eBa#tly (hat she did0 2id her #ons#ien#e bother her in the least; <et me tell youC As soon as she sat do(n there in the middle, she #lean forgot that the house e3en had a &it#hen atta#hedC "he e3en forgot that it6s not $ro$er for a lady to sit in the middle of a grou$ of men0 F Well, she only intended to sit for a little (hile, and go ba#& to the &it#hen0 1ut the storiesC .he little titbits of su#h (isdomC /t6s not only thatC .he lo3e that radiated from the man0 /f she didn6t understand a single (ord he said, she6d Eust sit and bas& in that lo3eC 1ut it (as the lo3e that made the (ords so understandableC Well, to ma&e a long story short, she Eust sat, and sat, and sat, and F (ell, no( (e6re ma&ing a short story long againC And >arta; WellC /t Eust so ha$$ened that she had re#ei3ed su#h short noti#e of :eshua6s arri3al, and (ho (ould ha3e eB$e#ted it; /t (asn6t e3en a yom tovC .he neighbour6s boy Eust ha$$ened to run by the house announ#ing that :eshua (as #oming in by the road that (inds around the mountain, and you should ha3e seen the state of the houseC Well, it6s a good thing they had some $reser3ed meats $ut a(ay for Shabbat, or there (ouldn6t ha3e been anything in the house (orth loo&ing atC And F (hy, (here6s that >iriam; *ust sitting there doing nothingC We63e got 1 1 things to do, and she6s sitting there, listening to story after storyC 2oesn6t she &no( that if it (eren6t for the hard (or& >arta (as doing there (ould be no :eshua to sit and listen to all afternoon; Who ran around and straightened the main room that >iriam left in su#h a mess; /f :eshua had seen it earlier; WhyC 4e6d ha3e made an eB#use, and gone on to find someone else6s house to lodge inC 'o(, (ho6s going to stir the sou$ (hile >arta $un#hed the dough do(n and $atted it into small $ie#es; Who6s going to go in and $i#& u$ the #u$s; Who6s going to #ho$ the onions; Who6s going to 000; .hat6s itC "he had to go in and say something0 .hat6s Eust (hat she did0 "he (ent right in to the main room, and ga3e them all a $ie#e of her mind0 >essiah or not, she told himC Was she going to let >iriam be the #ause of him going a(ay and ne3er #oming ba#&; >arta #ould do that Eust as (ell herselfC Well, loo& at himC At least he #ould #hase her into the &it#henC 4onestlyC 4e Eust allo(s her to sit there, loo&ing into his eyes li&e a stu$id fool, (hen he &no(s there6s so mu#h (or& to doC "o she told them0 And (hat (as his rea#tion; 4e loo&ed at >arta as though she had Eust mista&en a $or#u$ine for one of the #ushionsC 6>artaC >artaC6 he said0 6<oo& at youC :ou6re all (or&ed u$ o3er so many thingsC Who told you you had

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to hold a first #lass re#e$tion; Dnly one thing is im$ortant, and >iriam has found itC >iriam has #hosen the best $art, and no one #an ta&e it a(ay from her06

.he $oint of this story is made by :eshua: 6>arta, >artaC :ou are fretting and (orrying about so many things ,li&e maintaining assets- but there6s only one thing that is essential, relationship, and >iriam has #hosen itP6 "o, (ho had the good eye; the Father' (ood eye… /n the neBt fe( $assages, (e don6t ha3e to as& (ho has the good eye0 God, to (hom (e offer our $rayers, has the good eye0 :eshua6s $rayer ,<u&e 11:17A-, that 4e taught 4is $u$ils eB$resses Eust that, es$e#ially as it o$ens by addressing God as 68ather6, one (ho loo&s at 4is #hildren (ith a 6good eye60 We (on6t go into this $rayer in detail, as it6s already been done so (ell by others, su#h as <arry <ea0 1esides, in this a##ount, :eshua interru$ts 4imself before 4e finishes (hat (e no( thin& of as the #om$lete 3ersion ,found in >atthe( =:9719- (ith yet another $arable0 We63e gone from seeing ho( the "amaritan had the good eye in hel$ing the mugging 3i#tim, to ho( >iriam had the good eye in #hoosing to sit at :eshua6s feet in a $osition of intima#y? then on to the $rayer of :eshua in addressing God as 8ather (ho has a good eye for 4is #hildren0 .hen, :eshua $o$s a $arable about someone (hose eye doesn6t ha$$en to be so good at the moment ,3erses @7!-, and %uite understandably so at that0 4e has gone to bed already, his (ife is $robably a light slee$er ,li&e mine-, and not only is she lying in bed (ith him, but so are all his #hildren F one on either side of him, and one on to$ of him F sound aslee$0 / don6t thin& my eye (ould be so good to(ards someone banging at my door at that time of night0 Enter, the neighbour, (ho $ro#eeds to bang on the door, and as& for bread0 :eshua6s $oint here is ,though he doesn6t say it in so many (ords-, if, be#ause of the neighbour6s auda#ity, the man #limbs out from underneath his #hildren (hile his (ife mutters that it (ill no( be hours before she gets to slee$, Eust to get him a fe( loa3es of bread, ho( mu#h more your hea3enly 8ather; "oP; 6)ee$ as&ing,6 says :eshua, 6And it (ill be gi3en to you? )ee$ see&ing, and you (ill find? &ee$ &no#&ing and the door (ill be o$ened to you6 ,3erses 971 C*1-0 E3en if the ans(er ta&es a (hile in #oming, &ee$ at it0 /f a groggy neighbour e3entually res$onds to $ersisten#e, ho( mu#h more your 8ather (ho #ares for you, and stays u$ all night loo&ing after you; 8aith is &no(ing God has a god eye, and a#ting a##ordingly F a#ting, in fa#t, li&e a son0 Df #ourse, there are many &inds of fathers, some (ith a good eye and some (ith a bad eye0 :eshua #ould ha3e easily #ome u$ (ith a $arable about a father (ho got so fed u$ (ith his son6s in#essant as&ing, that he sent him u$stairs to bed (ithout his su$$er0 /6m sure su#h fathers eBisted in those days, as they surely eBist no(0 1ut (e don6t hear of a single #ase from :eshua0 .here6s not a single $arable li&e that in the 1ible0 E3en the e3il Eudge in <u&e 1!:17@ ne3er had the annoying (oman bum$ed off, but ga3e in to her $leas0 nake or fi h% :eshua said to his $u$ils, 6/f you, being bad, &no( ho( to gi3e good gifts to your #hildren ,3erses 117 19-, ho( mu#h more your hea3enly 8ather (ith the good eyeC6 E3en a bad father F unless #riminally insane F (ouldn6t gi3e his son a ro#& to eat instead of bread, nor thro( a s#or$ion at him (hen he eB$e#ts an egg for brea&fast, nor endanger his life by gi3ing him a sna&eC 27

:eshua is dri3ing home a $oint that he #onsidered 3ery im$ortant: God has a good eye, and the more (e #ome to realise that, the better (ill be our faith0 >any ha3e used this $assage to tea#h that (hen (e as& God for the 4oly "$irit, 4e (on6t gi3e us a demon instead0 .he neBt fe( 3erses #onfirm this a$$li#ation ,3erses 1A72 -0 4ere, :eshua is a##used of using the $o(er of 1eelHebub to #ast out demons0 .he #ontro3ersy, it a$$ears, hasn6t #hanged in 2 years F both the %uestion, (ill you re#ei3e a sna&e or a fish (hen you as& for the 4oly "$irit, and by (hat $o(er are the mira#les and a#ts of deli3eran#e $erformed; :eshua $ro3ides the ans(er to both0 E3en if it (eren6t s#ri$tural to as& God for s$iritual gifts, it (ould still be 1 $er#ent #ontrary to God6s nature to allo( the see&er to be filled (ith a demon $o(er, or be#ome em$o(ered (ith an o##ulti# gift, $ro3ided one has #ome to God in sin#ere faith in 4im0 4e doesn6t say, 64aC 1e#ause you ha3e $resum$tuously as&ed for something my Word doesn6t $romise you, / (ill allo( you to re#ei3e a sna&e insteadC .hat (ill tea#h youC6 4o(e3er, there are other as$e#ts to this (hi#h (e6ll dis#uss in a bit0 two kin(dom … 1ut the e3angeli#als aren6t the only ones #on#erned about mira#les being $erformed through the $o(er of 1eelHebub0 /t is still dis#ussed to this day in some rabbini#al #ir#les0 "ome rabbini#al literature des#ribes :eshua as a magi#ian (ho (ent unusually dee$ into (hat later be#ame &no(n as )abbalah, and, at one $oint, ins#ribed the 2i3ine 'ame into his thigh, and so em$o(ered, fle( o3er the 4oly .em$le0 A $rominent rabbi of that day re3erted to a similar method so as to fly u$ after him and $ull him ba#& do(n to earth0 .his (ould ha3e re$resented, to them, a misuse of di3ine $o(er inherent in the .orah s#ri$tures and the 'ame of God F or something li&e the 6dar& side of the for#e60 .he $assage in <u&e 11:1A72! $robably a##ents the only other maEor differen#e bet(een Rabbini#al *udaism and 'e( .estament theology, a$art from the issue of :eshua being >essiah F that of the a#tual nature of the &ingdom of dar&ness019 .he rabbini#al 3ie( of the $erson of "atan is $robably best des#ribed by the s#enario $ainted for us in the boo& of *ob, and in / )ings 22:117190 .here, for the la#& of more information, (e are left to belie3e that "atan is one of God6s angels res$onsible for bringing about the negati3e as$e#ts, or the dar& side of God6s (ill0 .hat6s (hat he6s belie3ed to be a##ording to rabbini#al tradition0 .he Dld .estament is 3ery s&et#hy (hen $resenting "atan0 5erha$s, more s$e#ifi# than the abo3e $assages are /saiah 1A:12721, EHe&iel 2!:11719 and 2aniel 1 :190 E3en there, the identity of the subEe#t as a#tually being "atan, is only by inferen#e by the fa#t that it #ouldn6t $ossibly be tal&ing about a human, but rather, an angel or s$irit being0 Dne of the $assages refers to him as a Cherub0 Why does the Dld .estament say so little about "atan; 5robably for t(o reasons: 10 1e#ause that6s all the attention he deser3es0 5erha$s it6s us (ho ma&e too big a thing about him F es$e#ially (hen e3en the 'e( .estament doesn6t gi3e us all that mu#h information about him F only that he6s God6s enemy0 20 1e#ause the Dld .estament des#ribes the (orld (ithout the &ingdom of God F eB#e$t (here it is $ro$hesied as $art of the future0 Dnly in the 'e( .estament do (e begin to see t(o star&ly #ontrasting &ingdoms, the &ingdom of God, and the &ingdom of "atan0 /n the Dld .estament, (e don6t ha3e the &ingdom of God as a $resent reality, but only God6s #o3enant (ith /srael through Abraham, >oses, 2a3id and others0 .hose (ho res$onded in faith (ere #itiHens in advan!e as it (ere, but it (as seen as a future reality0 'o( that it6s a present reality, there is more reason to des#ribe "atan6s &ingdom in more detail, be#ause no(, it hel$s us better understand (hat God6s &ingdom is F (here "atan6s &ingdom has been o3erthro(n, or $ushed ba#& through >essiah6s authority0 1A
19 E3en though (e only dis#uss the nature of "atan here, the rabbis also differ on the issue of original sin0 / thin& it6s $ro$er to #lassify both of these $oints under the general tea#hing, 6)ingdom of 2ar&ness60 1A /t6s not our $ur$ose here to $ro3ide a full des#ri$tion of the &ingdom of God, but be#ause of the #onfusing number of

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.he $assage (e6re loo&ing at is a foundational $assage in des#ribing "atan6s $o(er as a definite &ingdom in o$$osition to the &ingdom of light that :eshua #ame to usher in0 .herefore, 4e says, it (ould be illogi#al to thin& that demons (ere being for#ibly #ast out by 1eelHebub himself, as that (ould go against his agenda F he isn(t, after all, the administrator of God6s 6dar& side6 F (hereas if it6s by God that demons are being dri3en out, then that6s $roof that the &ingdom of God is being established in o$$osition to "atan6s &ingdom0 "ome rabbis ha3e des#ribed this $oint of 3ie( as 62ualism6, meaning that (e belie3e, not in one God in #ontrol of the uni3erse, but rather, God as re$resenting good, and "atan re$resenting e3il0 *ust going by the (ay (e often em$hasise "atan6s $o(er and a#ti3ity, one (ould easily arri3e at that #on#lusion0 /od' infinite wi dom… .o understand (hy "atan seems to ha3e so mu#h lee(ay, or (hy the situation loo&s, to us, li&e t(o o$$osing $o(ers #ontrolling the uni3erse, (e need to realise that God is infinite, not only in $o(er, but also in (isdom0 We dis#ussed already, ho( God is so great and infinite 4e #an allo( us to ma&e our o(n #hoi#es and still be in #ontrol0 .he other side of that is, "atan has enmeshed himself so thoroughly into God6s #reation (ith the notion that it (ould be im$ossible for God to Eudge "atan and destroy him (ithout also Eudging and destroying all of #reation, in#luding man0 Df #ourse, if God used only 4is $o(er, 4e #ould easily and utterly destroy "atan (ith a fli#& of a finger, but that (ould also destroy humanity and e3erything else that6s under the #ontrol of the &ingdom of dar&ness0 God sim$ly (on6t do it that (ay, be#ause 4e is a 8ather (ho sees 4is #hildren (ith a good eye0 /t seemed to "atan, therefore, and to e3eryone else, that he had God in #he#&mate, but he didn6t0 /t6s as though God &ne( all along that it6s a three7dimensional #hess game, and "atan didn6t0 God is not only infinite in $o(er, but also in (isdom0 4e &no(s loo$holes for e3erything, and &no(s of $hysi#al and s$iritual la(s "atan ne3er &ne( eBisted F and, 4e doesn6t e3en ha3e to s#rat#h 4is head to thin& of themC As (e said in the other #ha$ter, the #ross is the $rime eBam$le of that (isdom0 /t6s the defining symbol of the 'e( Co3enant, and it6s God6s ultimate (ea$on that has already utterly destroyed "atan6s legal gri$ on the uni3erse and on humanity0 1@ /t #ontinues to be the tool by (hi#h those (ith faith in God6s 6good eye6 enfor#e that 3i#tory in the $ra#ti#al areas of their o(n li3es and s$heres of influen#e0 /t6s through the #ross that the 6strong man6 is bound ,3erses 21729-, and his goods are $lundered F 6his goods6 meaning $rimarily, the souls of $eo$le0 .hat (as :eshua6s tas& at that gi3en moment, and it6s our tas& no( F restoring li3es by $lundering the strong man6s house, and leading his $risoners out into the &ingdom of light0 re.o e ion… 1ut (hy do some $eo$le seem to end u$ ba#& in the strong man6s house in an e3en (orse state than before; Why do a lot of #hur#hes and Christian homes loo& li&e e3en tighter $risons than the original strong man6s house; Why do $eo$le, ha3ing had demons #ast out, or si#&ness healed, seem to end u$ more bound u$ than before;
tea#hings that no( eBist, it may be hel$ful to &no( that my belief is $robably #losest to that of *ohn Wimber0 .he reader #ould refer to our #artoon illustrated tea#hing The 7appy ;ingdom for further referen#e0 1@ E3en then, "atan only re$resents a small $art of the reason the #ross (as ne#essary0 .he main reason (as sin0 .he #ross (as the method by (hi#h God6s attribute of mer#y #ould be fully eB$ressed in #om$lete harmony (ith 4is attribute of Eusti#e0 "atan (as defeated in the $ro#ess be#ause sin (as his only foothold of #ontrol o3er $eo$le6s li3es F only his foothold, mind you0 "atan doesn6t e3en o(n eB#lusi3e rights to sin0 >an has enough of that (ithout "atan6s hel$C .here, / ho$e that deals (ith the %uestion of dualism, and than&s to the rabbini#al #ommunity for bringing it u$0 /t hel$s bring balan#e to our tea#hings0

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.hat %uestion #ould ha3e been in the minds of many of the $eo$le, #ausing them to (onder if it (ere, after all, by the $o(er of 1eelHebub that demons (ere #ast out0 .hat #ould be (hy many in the *e(ish #ommunity, today, still thin& that (ay regarding Christians? or (hy many E3angeli#als thin& that (ay regarding 5ente#ostals and Charismati#s0 4a3e they #ome to :eshua eB$e#ting a fish, and re#ei3ed a sna&e instead; 'o, :eshua eB$lained ,3erses 2A72=-0 When a demon #omes out of a $erson, it (ill e3entually loo& for a #han#e to return F (ith se3en more0 "o (hat6s the remedy; :eshua (as Eust about to ans(er that %uestion (hen a (oman ga3e 3ent to her gratitude by s$ontaneously #rying out, 61lessed is the (omb that ga3e birth to youC6 ,3erses 2772!:eshua6s ans(er to her (as also the ans(er to the $roblem of 6re7$ossession6: 68ar more blessed are those (ho hear the )ord of God and do it&6 .he first %uestion (e must as& (hen someone seems to ha3e la$sed into their old bondage, or seems to ha3e re#ei3ed something other than a gift of the "$irit is, 67as he or she been hearing the )ord of God and doing it96 /f not, as :eshua said in a different #onteBt, they6re li&e the man (ho built his house on the sand ,>atthe( 7:2A727-0 We6re not Eust tal&ing about #ases of a#tual demon $ossession, but / belie3e any rela$se ba#& into a $re3ious bondage or bad habit falls under this #ategory0 ,/t6s the (ord of God, you remember from the last #ha$ter, that hel$s us distinguish God from our imaginary friend0 God (on6t gi3e you a sna&e for a fish, but / #an ma&e no su#h guarantee about your imaginary friend0What :eshua says about those (ho have been hearing the (ord of God and doing it, is, they are more blessed than those (ho sim$ly enEoy a $ri3ileged $osition, su#h as that of being :eshua6s o(n motherC 'ot e3eryone #an be in a $la#e of authority, or be the &ey $erson in some great turning $oint of history, or e3en (rite a boo& ,li&e your o(n dear Robby-? but anyone #an listen as the (ord of God is s$o&en forth, and do itC /n doing so, they get the greater blessingC God has a good eye, not for the lu#&y fe( (ho manage to be at the right $la#e at the right time, but on all (ho (ill sim$ly res$ond to ho(e3er little or mu#h of the (ord of God that has #ome their (ay0 God has a good eye, and e3erything :eshua said and did (as a demonstration of that fa#t0 the i(n… "omeho(, there (ere still those (ho insisted that :eshua sho( them a sign ,3erses 29792-0 Why (ould they do that (hen :eshua (as already doing so many mira#les; 2oes that seem so strange to you; .hen let6s as& the %uestion in a different (ay: When an eB#ited (oman gi3es a $ubli# testimony of a healing re#ei3ed at an e3angelisti# healing meeting, (hy doesn6t the (orld sit u$ and ta&e noti#e; Dften, only those #lose to the situation are #on3in#ed that it6s ob3iously a mira#le0 /f it6s someone you don6t &no(, there6s al(ays the $ossibility that they (ere $aid off to testify, or to $retend they (ere si#& in the first $la#e0 >aybe the (hole (heel#hair se#tion (as $a#&ed (ith $erfe#tly healthy strangers from out of to(nC .hen, there (ere $robably eBam$les sited then, Eust as no(, of those (ho got healed and deli3ered, but ended u$ (ith the same si#&ness they started out (ith, or more bound than e3er, as (e sa( abo3e0 Also, many of the mira#les ha$$ened in out7of7the7(ay $la#es, and by the time (ord of them rea#hed *erusalem, it (as regarded as hear7say0 When :eshua fed the @ , there (ere no re$resentati3es of the "anhedrin $resent to ta&e offi#ial note of the fa#t F only Gallileans, (hom nobody trusted0 .hat (as Eust it, (asn6t itC .he mira#les all ha$$ened to the (rong $eo$le, li&e the Gallileans, or to $ubli#ans and sinners0 Either that or they ha$$ened in the synagogue on ShabbatC 4o( #an a mira#le of healing be of God if it6s $erformed on Shabbat; 4o( #an healings be from God if they ha$$en to $eo$le (ho are ob3iously sinners (ho don6t deser3e it; 4o( #an s$ea&ing in tongues be a gift of the 4oly "$irit if it6s falling on <oman 6atholi!s; Why isn6t it falling on our o(n denominational leaders 9

and seminary $rofessors; C6mon, :eshua, sho( us a real signC God isn6t in the habit of sim$ly sho(ing signs and (onders Eust to $ro3e 4is eBisten#e, nor Eust to $ro3e one fa#t or another ,though 4e has done that on o##asion-0 "igns attest to 4is !hara!ter0 God is a 8ather (ho has a good eye0 4e has #om$assion on the si#& and o$$ressed, so 4e heals them and deli3ers them0 4e has #om$assion on the hungry, so 4e mo3ed on :eshua to brea& the bread and fish and feed @ $eo$le0 .he 8ather has a good eye on all0 5eo$le in out of the (ay $la#es, (hom #ity $eo$le ta&e (ith a grain of salt, are of no less 3alue to 4im than the ri#h influential #ity $eo$le0 /f you6re out to $ro3e to God (hat a 3aluable asset you are to 4im, 4e may Eust ignore you and go for those hungering for a relationship (ith 4im, e3en if they6re the dregs of so#iety0 .hat6s Eust (hat 4is signs $ro3e, and to truly $er#ei3e the signs, you ha3e to &no( God as ha3ing a good eye0 God has unlimited $o(er, yes, but 4e6s far more interested in us &no(ing 4is lo3e0 8rom there, (e #ome to &no( 4is $o(er, not so mu#h as one of 4is attributes, but as a fun!tion of 4is unlimited lo3e to(ards us0 Df #ourse, e3ery #hild admires a mus#ular athlete (ho #an lift 1 $ounds, but (ouldn6t #hildren mu#h rather ha3e a father (ho uses his strength to $rote#t and $ro3ide for his family; .he signs are there, but to see them, you must ha3e a good eye0 8or those (ho realised their need of the 8ather6s good eye to them, the 8ather6s lo3e (as as a light set on a stand ,3erse 9 -0 li(htin( the lam.… 'o(, (e6re u$ to the 3erse on the good eye0 .o ha3e light, you must ha3e a good eye, be#ause the eye is the lam$ of the body0 With that light, you #an see e3er so mu#h more0 /n 3erse @2, :eshua #alls it the 6&ey to &no(ledge60 /t6s the &ey to &no(ing God, and it6s the &ey to faith0 .o ha3e great faith to mo3e mountains, you sim$ly need a good eye0 Dnly a good eye (ill #learly see (hy a mountain needs to be mo3ed in the first $la#e0 4o( does one #ome by a good eye; 1y t(o ste$s, but they #an be (orded in a number of different (ays0 .he sim$lest (ording is, 1, repent, and 2, believe ,>ar& 1:1@-0 Another (ay of $utting it is, 1, !onfess ,eshua as Lord, and 2, believe 7e(s raised from the dead ,Romans 1 :9-0 :et another is, 1, fear God, and 2, )orship 7im ,Re3elation 1A:7-0 /n this boo& (e63e generally (orded it, 1, by the !ross of ,eshua, and 2, 1no)ing the 4ather(s good eye0 1ut, you as&, aren6t all these (ays of leading sinners to sal3ation; CertainlyC 1ut tell me, after you be#ame a Christian and began (al&ing (ith :eshua, did you find you had run out of reasons to re$ent; 2id you find it no longer ne#essary to use your faith; Wal&ing the life of the belie3er re%uires as mu#h ,if not more- re$entan#e and faith as the initial born again eB$erien#e0 1ut (e6ll (ord it li&e (e63e been doing: 12 by the !ro 3 on (hi#h :eshua (as (ounded for our (ounds and died the death that (as ours0 .his is a 3ital ste$, as it is usually be#ause of a (ound infli#ted in the $ast that $eo$le find it hard to enter into an 6/7you6 relationshi$, and from that time on, ha3e allo(ed their eye to go bad0 .hey ha3e been hurt by a relationshi$ in the $ast, and they don6t (ant to be hurt again0 .his is a 3ery sensiti3e issue to God0 :eshua said in >atthe( 1!:=, it (ould be better for one to ha3e a millstone tied around one6s ne#& and be #ast into the sea than to (ound a little one0 .he reason for that is, on#e (ounded, the little one is 3irtually doomed to a life of dar&ness, and fear of relationshi$ that (ould grate on the s$ot (here the (ound (as infli#ted0 :eshua then (ent on to die the death of the #ross, and to be (ounded for those 3ery (ounds0 1ut #oming by (ay of the #ross is not Eust a#&no(ledging the fa#t that :eshua died, but also res$onding to 4is #ommand, 6.o be my follo(er, you must say MnoN to yourself, ta&e u$ your #ross and 91

follo( me6 ,>atthe( 1=:1A-0 :eshua said this %uite some time before a#tually going to the #ross 4imself, so it ga3e $eo$le a bit of a sho#& (hen 4e said it0 .o us, 6#ross6 has #ome to mean the emblem of Christianity0 "ometimes, #rosses are gold $lated and ha3e gems inlaid0 .o us, the abo3e statement has #ome to mean, 6.a&e u$ your gem studded emblems of Christendom, and Eoin the $aradeC6 :eshua6s $u$ils, on the other hand, (ere Eolted to their senses by the (ord 6#ross6, be#ause to them, it (as anything but a $retty ornament0 .he 6omplete $e)ish Bible=> uses the (ord, 6eBe#ution sta&e6 in $la#e of 6#ross60 "ome may ta&e eB#e$tion to that (ording, but at least it gi3es us the same Eolt as 6#ross6 ga3e :eshua6s original audien#e0 Also in3ol3ed in :eshua6s #ommand, is saying, 6no6 to yourself0 .hat may mean a 3ery bra3e ste$ for those (ho ha3e been se3erely (ounded, be#ause it means saying 6no6 to the in#lination to $ut u$ defen#es017 /t means $utting yourself into a $osition of 3ulnerability and o$ening u$ to :eshua li&e you63e ne3er o$ened u$ to anyone before sin#e the day the (ounding ha$$ened, and then, identifying (ith 4im in 4is death for you0 4e (as (ounded to death0 :ou may feel li&e you died, but you ha3en6t died yet, so let 4is death be your death from the (ounds infli#ted on you, be#ause it is from those 3ery (ounds that 4e died0 E3en if you don6t remember the (ound you re#ei3ed, you #an still o$en u$ to 4im in this (ay0 .his may also mean o$ening yourself u$ to (home3er God has sent along to hel$ you through this ste$0 All of the abo3e is (hat is in3ol3ed in repentan!e, (hi#h means turning around and going the other dire#tion0 "aying 6no6 to yourself is doing Eust that0 1ut that6s not all0 God doesn6t lea3e you in sus$ense0 4e didn6t only say, 6re$ent6, but also 6belie3e60 1elie3e that ha3ing died, 4e rose again, and that also means your resurre#tion0 'ot only does 4e #ommand us to say 6no6 to oursel3es, but he also in3ites us toP 42 know the Father' (ood eye 3 .rust God li&e you63e ne3er trusted anyone before sin#e that day you (ere hurt, and enter into an 6/7you6 relationshi$ (ith 4im0 /f you don6t &no( ho(, sim$ly begin )orshipping 4im0 Worshi$ is basi#ally offering yourself to 4im, a#&no(ledging you are at the end of yourself, and ha3e nothing a$art from 4im0 "ing, or $ray in (hate3er form of $rayer you (ant, but do it to 7im, as though you (ere loo&ing into 4is eyes0 Df #ourse, you #an6t imagine (hat 4e loo&s li&e, but you #an do it as though you (ere s$ea&ing on the $hone to someone you63e ne3er seen0 5ra#ti#e doing that0 /f you6re in a $la#e (here $eo$le #an hel$ $ray for you, this #an be of great hel$0 2on6t be afraid you6ll re#ei3e a sna&e instead of a fish, be#ause you are #oming in obedien#e to your 8ather0 :ou are #oming by (ay of the #ross0 /f anyone has re#ei3ed a (rong s$irit by the laying on of hands, it6s be#ause they63e not been by (ay of the #ross, and are not in the attitude of truly see&ing to re#ei3e the (ord of God, so as to do it? but $robably Eust to ha3e some sort of e#stati# eB$erien#e F $erha$s from their imaginary friend0 1ut you ha3e no need to fear as long as you are truly #oming to meet God on 7is terms0 1y (orshi$$ing 4im, and eBer#ising your faith in 4is good eye, your eye (ill be healed0 "ometimes it ha$$ens all at on#e but sometimes it ha$$ens gradually0 1ut don6t (orry0 *ust #ontinue until the healing #omes0 1ut don6t sto$ there0 )ee$ #ommuning (ith 4im e3ery day, as often as you #an0 4e lo3es to ha3e you around, be#ause 4e has a good eye for youC

1= 6omplete $e)ish Bible, .ranslated by 2a3id 40 "tern, *e(ish 'e( .estament 5ubli#ations, /n#0 G0"0A0, /srael, 199! 17 .he defen#es (e tend to $ut u$, su#h as shying a(ay from #lose or $otentially $ainful relationshi$s, really are not an ade%uate $rote#tion any(ay0 .he only real $rote#tion is the armour of God ,E$h =:1 72 - (hi#h entails a$$lying the life of the #ross to our daily eB$erien#e0

92

Wearing the Whole Armour of God
A tea!hin( on how to a!tually .ut on and maintain the armour of /od

By Robby Charters
©199! Robby Charters

)))&<obby6harters&!o&u1

introdu!tion .o get any(here in su#h a #om$etiti3e (orld, (e need a (hole arsenal of strategies and $rote#tion0 E3en (ith a fool7$roof re#i$e for su##ess, (e ne3er &no(s (here (e6ll get hit neBt0 What6s the #om$etition u$ to; What ha3e (e o3erloo&ed; What un$leasant sur$rises lie in (ait around the neBt #orner; .his is a fa#t of life in the (orld of business, in $oliti#s, di$loma#y and all out (ar bet(een nations0 /n fa#t, all of life is a (ar0 .he s$iritual (orld is no eB#e$tion0 When one sees all the $otential dangers that a(ait the unsus$e#ting belie3er, one is tem$ted to shudder0 All those tem$tationsC .he tra$sC 5eo$le $utting #urses on ChristiansC And then there are all the ne( tea#hings 77 are they of God; Are they Eust fads; Are they #ults; Will they end u$ in the funny7farm or in a mass sui#ide; 4o( do (e &ee$ from being led into error; What about this or that famous minister that (as #aught in adultery; What about brother and sister so7and7so (ith the Qideal marriageQ that Eust got a di3or#e; With so many around us Qbiting the dustQ, ho( #an (e ho$e to ma&e it; .he 1ible ma&es no se#ret of the fa#t that the de3il and his hordes are loo&ing for e3ery o$$ortunity to get at us0 5eter (arns us to Qbe sober, be 3igilant? be#ause your ad3ersary the de3il (al&s about li&e a roaring lion, see&ing (hom he may de3ourQ ,/ 5et0 @:!-0 /t seems li&e there are so many (ays for the de3il to get in, one #ouldn6t ho$e to #o3er all the $oints0 /6m reminded of a #ir#us $erformer / on#e sa( on tele3ision, (ho (as t(irling $lates on sti#&s he had stu#& into the ground0 .here (as enough s$ringiness to the sti#&s, so that they (ould Eiggle, and &ee$ the $lates s$inning for a (hile? but he had to mind so many of these that (hen he got to(ards the last of them, he had to rush ba#& and gi3e the first fe( sti#&s a Eiggle0 .hen a $late (ould fall off a sti#& o3er in another s$ot he #ouldn6t run to in time0 .he entertainment (as seeing him run ba#& and forth trying to &ee$ all the $lates s$inning0 /6m sure that many $eo$le (ho sa( that (ere reminded of their o(n e3eryday li3es0 2oes our su##ess as belie3ers de$end on our running around trying to &ee$ u$ (ith all the s$inning $lates; When the Corinthian belie3ers started getting interested in so many distra#tions, 5aul told them, Q/ determined not to &no( anything among you eB#e$t *esus Christ and 4im #ru#ifiedQ ,/ Cor0 2:2-0 Else(here, (e are told to test the s$irits to see if a bad one is trying to de#ei3e us0 / *ohn A:2 says that any s$irit that does not say, Q*esus Christ has #ome in the flesh,Q is not from God0 / Cor 12:9 tells us if they say Q*esus is a##ursedQ they6re not from God0 All methods of testing the s$irits fo#us on *esusC "o, there6s really only one $oint to #o3er 77 *esus0 Who is *esus to you; 4o( im$ortant is 4e to you; *ust ma&ing 4im the fo#us of e3erything #o3ers all the other $ointsC .hat6s (hy so mu#h of "atan6s a#ti3ity is #entred around trying to get our eyes off of *esus0 /t6s only 99

then that he #an truly destroy us0 .here are so many (ays "atan uses to ta&e our fo#us off of 4im, that $ra#ti#ally the (hole 'e( .estament is ta&en u$ Eust telling us more about *esus so (e #an better &ee$ our fo#us on 4im0 /n the end, *ohn tells us in his first e$istle ,9:9-, QWe &no( that (hen 4e is re3ealed, (e shall be li&e 4im, for (e shall see 4im as 4e is0Q /t6s fo#using on 4im that #hanges us into 4is image0 8o#using on *esus both $rote#ts us, and a##om$lishes the ultimate goal for (hi#h (e (ere #alled in the first $la#e0 /n E$hesians =, 5aul lists siB $ie#es of armour0 .here are siB, yes, but they all fo#us on *esus0 .hey ea#h re$resent a different as$e#t of (ho *esus is to us and in us0 .o (ear the (hole armour of God is to fo#us on *esus0 Ea#h $ie#e hel$s us to defend oursel3es against "atan6s (iles, (hile at the same time, ad3an#ing oursel3es e3en further to(ards being more li&e Christ0 We #an also see some of the methods "atan (ill use to try to bring us do(n, and ho( ea#h $ie#e of armour (ill $rote#t us from that0 "o there6s no need to be be(ildered about there being so many $ie#es of armour to &ee$ tra#& of0 Dn#e *esus be#omes our fo#us, they all be#ome one0 /n fa#t, (e6ll also see that it6s mu#h easier to &ee$ ea#h indi3idual $ie#e on (hen (e ha3e our (hole armour on0 /t6s only (hen (e ha3e Eust one or t(o $ie#es on that they6ll be#ome diffi#ult to maintain0 'o( let6s loo& at the $assage, and go through it $oint by $oint: Eph >-=?5@? (3;$A) 55 4inally. my brethren. be strong in the Lord and in the po)er of 7is might& == Put on the )hole armour of God. that you may be able to stand against the )iles of the devil& =@ 4or )e do not )restle against flesh and blood. but against prin!ipalities. against po)ers. against the rulers of the dar1ness of this age. against spiritual hosts of )i!1edness in the heavenly pla!es& =B Therefore ta1e up the )hole armour of God. that you may be able to )ithstand in the evil day. and having done all. to stand& =C Stand therefore. having girded your )aist )ith truth. having put on the breastplate of righteousness. =D and having shod your feet )ith the preparation of the gospel of pea!e* => above all. ta1ing the shield of faith )ith )hi!h you )ill be able to /uen!h all the fiery darts of the )i!1ed one& =E And ta1e the helmet of salvation. and the s)ord of the Spirit. )hi!h is the )ord of God* =F praying al)ays )ith all prayer and suppli!ation in the Spirit. being )at!hful to this end )ith all perseveran!e and suppli!ation for all the saints 55 =G and for me. that utteran!e may be given to me. that % may open my mouth boldly to ma1e 1no)n the mystery of the gospel. @? for )hi!h % am an ambassador in !hains* that in it % may spea1 boldly. as % ought to spea1& who i our enemy% 8irst, let6s loo& at (ho our enemy is, (ho he isn6t, and at (hat his (ea$ons are0 +erse 12 tells, (e don(t (restle against flesh and blood, but rather, against about four le3els of s$iritual $o(ers0 /t6s not our $ur$ose here to go into detail about ea#h of the four le3els0 <et6s Eust say that the highest le3el are the $o(ers o3er (hole nations, and "atan himself? and the lo(est are the little ones that sim$ly $er#h on our shoulders and $oint out to us ho( fun it (ould be to forget our s$iritual life for Eust a (hile, and Qha3e some funQ? or to gossi$ about someone? or Eust d(ell on ho( bad someone6s been to us0 "ome of the ones in bet(een are the ones in3ol3ed in o##ult a#ti3ity, su$ernatural #urses, mas%uerading as s$irits of the dead and so on0 /t6s this &ind (e often thin& of as s$oo&s in some 9A

haunted house or other that (ould gi3e us Qgoose bum$sQ or ma&e our hair stand u$0 .hey are all dangerous, to be sure, but more dangerous than those that ma&e our hair stand u$, are the ones that ma&e our tongues stand u$ 77 as it (ere 77 in slander and gossi$0 /t6s these, that are eB$ert in ma&ing us a snare to others0 /ndeed, the 'e( .estament fo#uses a lot more on this area, than in table lifting, #harms and #urses0 A $arallel s#ri$ture to the one (e read abo3e is found in one of 5aul6s letters to the Corinthians: %% 6or =?-B5> (3;$A) 55 4or though )e )al1 in the flesh. )e do not )ar a!!ording to the flesh& C 4or the )eapons of our )arfare are not !arnal but mighty in God for pulling do)n strongholds. D !asting do)n arguments and every high thing that e alts itself against the 1no)ledge of God. bringing every thought into !aptivity to the obedien!e of 6hrist. > and being ready to punish all disobedien!e )hen your obedien!e is fulfilled& *ust as E$hesians = said, our (ar is in the s$irit, not in the flesh0 Dur (ea$onry 77 the armour of God (hi#h (e are about to loo& at $ie#e by $ie#e 77 is designed to $ull do(n strongholds0 What do these strongholds #onsist of; 5oltergeists and 3am$ires; 'o0 Arguments, ideas and thoughts are (hat 5aul is stressing here0 E3en disobedien#e0 .o be sure, the more o##ult and s$oo&y as$e#ts (ill $lay a role in s$iritual (arfare, but the more destru#ti3e as$e#ts are (hat ha$$ens in our mind, and in our #on3ersation 77 thoughts d(elt on and (ords s$o&en0 /n the #onteBt of // Corinthians, there (ere ideas going around, and things said that (ere #ausing disunity in the body of belie3ers in Corinth, and $re3enting $eo$le from ha3ing a #lear fo#us on *esus0 5aul (as $re$ared to use s$iritual authority to $ut a sto$ to these things0 Words and thoughts #an be 3ery destru#ti3e0 .houghts #an be dire#tly from "atan and his demons, from our o(n human nature, or they #an ha3e their sour#e in (hat others say0 What someone says #an ha3e a $rofound influen#e o3er another $erson 77 (hether for the good or for the bad0 All this, (e need to be a(are of for t(o reasons: to be #areful not to allo( oursel3es to be#ome tools of "atan in s$ea&ing (ords destru#ti3e against others? and to be able to #o$e (hen others s$ea& destru#ti3e (ords to or about us0 .he latter as$e#t, (e (ill #o3er in detail as (e loo& at ea#h $ie#e of armour0 .hey, along (ith thoughts, and yes, o##ult a#ti3ity, are among the things that the full armour of God $rote#ts us from0 Without that $rote#tion, they (ill hinder our fo#us on *esus0 /t6s (hen our fo#us has been ta&en off of *esus, that (e see Eust ho( easy it is for us to s$ea& (ords of #riti#ism, slander, gossi$ and anger that are so destru#ti3e to others0 1y Eust one sli$ of the tongue, (e say something horrible about someone else, or res$ond insensiti3ely to someone #lose to us, and ruin their (hole day, if not their life0 *ames #ha$ter 9 tells us all about ho( deadly the un(at#hed tongue #an be0 /t6s so im$ortant to re#ognise that "atan6s fa3ourite (ea$on against us is usC "ome of the dee$est (ounds (e re#ei3e in the fight of faith are infli#ted by our o(n brothers and sisters in Christ0 /n fa#t, they are the ones that hurt us the most, be#ause (e didn6t eB$e#t someone so #lose, or someone (e had so mu#h ho$e in to say (hat they did0 1ut remember ho( easy it is for us to s$ea& those 3ery same (ords against others in our unguarded moments0 1y using our (ords against others, and using the #riti#ism and slander of our o(n brothers and sisters against us? "atan6s strategy is not only to infli#t dee$ (ounds, from (hi#h he ho$es (e6ll ne3er re#o3er? but also to di3ide us, and &ee$ the #hur#h defen#eless against his o(n &ingdom through our disunity0 Ri#& *oyner sees the battle of the end time as something li&e the Ameri#an Ci3il War0 Abraham <in#oln (as one (ho (as truly %ualified to lead during this time, be#ause he &ne( that he (asn6t 9@

fighting an QenemyQ, but his o(n #ountrymen0 4e #arefully refrained from de$i#ting the other side as Qe3ilQ in the eyes of his #itiHens, e3en (hen su#h a de#laration #ould ha3e rallied his side to a %ui#&er 3i#tory0 .he 3i#tory (ould ha3e been %ui#&er, $erha$s, but the healing of the nation, after(ards, (ould %uite $ossibly ha3e ne3er o##urred0 We need to maintain this same attitude to(ards our brothers and sisters in Christ, e3en (hen they are slandering us, and tal&ing about (hat hereti#s (e are0 /6m not sim$ly s$ea&ing in terms of $eo$le (ith similar $ersuasions as oursel3es i0e0 those (ith a Charismati# ty$e eB$erien#e ,or not, if that6s the #ase-? but also those (hose only belief &no(n to be held in #ommon (ith us is that sal3ation is through *esus Christ dying and rising from the dead0 .he only (ay (e #an maintain su#h an attitude is to &ee$ fo#used on *esus through (earing our (hole suit of armour0 .hat6s (hen 4is forgi3eness and lo3e (ill freely flo( through us to them0 Dur battle, indeed, is not against flesh and blood, but against the $rin#i$alities and $o(ers that influen#e the (ords that are being s$o&en against us0 .he armour is there to $rote#t us from being (ounded by those (ords? and to enable us to stand against the s$iritual $o(ers that ins$ired the (ords? but not to hurt $eo$le of flesh and blood (hom "atan has ta&en #a$ti3e to use as the laun#hing $oint for those (ords0 'o(, let6s loo& at ea#h of the $ie#es of our armoury, $ie#e by $ie#e0 the belt of truth .ruth, in 'e( .estament Gree& usage has three a$$li#ations : 10 .ruth as the o$$osite of falsehood? 20 .ruth in the heart, as the o$$osite of hy$o#risy? and000 90 Gltimate .ruth, as found in God6s (ord0 Also, (e #ould note *esus6s saying, Q/ am the Way, the Truth and the <ifeQ ,*ohn 1A:=-? and Q:our Word is TruthQ ,*ohn 17:17? *esus is also the Word, *ohn 1:1-0 "o, (hi#h meaning a$$lies to the belt of truth; All three, of #ourse0 We initially re#ei3e the .ruth (hen (e re#ei3e *esus0 We also re#ei3e .ruth (hen (e read 4is Word, the 1ible0 .hat is, (e read the truth0 .he 4oly "$irit, if (e let 4im, (ill #ause that truth to sin& in and be#ome the .ruth that abides in us ,// *ohn 1:2-0 .hat, again, is ho( (e fo#us on *esus, (ho is .ruth0 When the .ruth is in us through the Word and the "$irit, then our habits begin to line u$ (ith the .ruth, and our (ords and a#tions also begin to eB$ress truth0 .here are some (ho go through an eBer#ise e3ery morning #alled Q$utting on the armourQ0 .hey #onfess ea#h $ie#e, saying, Q/ no( $ut on the belt of truth, / no( $ut on the breast$late of righteousness000Q and so on0 We (ill dis#uss some hel$ful as$e#ts to this eBer#ise later on, but if you ha3en6t been reading the 1ible and allo(ing the 4oly "$irit to a$$ly it in your life, then no amount of #onfession it is going to a#tually fasten the belt of truth around youC :ou $ut on the belt of truth by re#ei3ing the .ruth, fo#using on 4im (ho is .ruth, and that .ruth results in you being a trans$arent, truthful $erson0 As you begin to read the 1ible, first, $ray, Q<ord, let these (ords :ou s$o&e through :our $ro$hets be :our (ords to me right no(0 / o$en my heart to you0Q .hen, a#t as though it6s *esus s$ea&ing to you, or else read it as though it6s a letter from God to you0 1e ready to re$ent of any untruth that the .ruth of God6s Word un#o3ers0 4o( mu#h truth do (e need to be fully girded (ith the belt of truth; As mu#h truth as God has re3ealed to you0 4e re3eals 4is truth to us in three (ays: 10 .he 1ible ,as (e63e seen-? 9=

20 .hrough the 4oly "$irit s$ea&ing to our hearts? and000 90 .hrough relationshi$s in the 1ody of Christ0 .he 1ible, of #ourse, is the most sure (ay0 As the 4oly "$irit s$ea&s to us, (e #an &no( that it6s truly 4im, be#ause it lines u$ (ith God6s Word0 /n that (ay, the belt of truth $rote#ts us from error from the (rong s$irit0 Words through the 4oly "$irit, or (ords of #orre#tion #an #ome to us through friends and brothers and sisters in Christ0 Any $ersonal $ro$he#y should be #onfirmed, both by the Word of God, and by an inner (itness through the 4oly "$irit6s $ersonal dealing (ith us0 Again, that6s the belt of truth $rote#ting us from mani$ulation by someone (ho6s out to #ontrol us0 Also, being o$en to re#ei3e #orre#tion by o$en7mindedly listening to others, is a (ay to ma&e sure our belt of truth is fastened, be#ause (e are then o$en to all #hannels of truth0 E3en those (ho s$ea& out of a #riti#al attitude #an ha3e something to say0 E3en if it6s half7truth, the Word and the "$irit #an hel$ us dis#ern (hi#h half is truth0 After all, (hen *esus said, Q*udge not000don6t loo& for a s$e#& in your brother6s eye (hen there6s a log in yours,Q he (as only s$ea&ing to the Eudgemental #riti#, not to the one on the re#ei3ing end0 /n other (ords, 4e didn(t say, Q/f someone (ith a log in their eye a$$roa#hes you, don6t listen0Q /f there6s truth in (hat they6re saying, then (e6re res$onsible before God for ha3ing heard it0 .he more o$en (e are to truth #oming from all three sour#es, the better $rote#ted (e are0 .he sin#erity of heart ,or absen#e of hy$o#risy- that (ould enable us to re#ei3e from one less (orthy than oursel3es, $rote#ts us from $ride0 "atan has fe(er o$tions to use against us0 /t6s interesting that truth is des#ribed by 5aul here as a belt0 /f you thin& a moment, (hat6s the most embarrassing thing you #an thin& of that #ould ha$$en in $ubli#; Among the most embarrassing, (ould you say, is your trousers falling do(n; What (ould #ause your trousers to fall; .he la#& of a belt, of #ourseC As& yourself again, (hat is the most embarrassing thing that #ould ha$$en to one in $ubli# ministry 77 one (hose (ords #arry (eight, and is &no(n for high moral standards; .o be #aught (ith his or her $ants do(n ,not that 5aul a#tually had that modern English $un in mind-C .o be sho(n u$ in a moment of hy$o#risy, or #aught in an immoral a#t0 .hose (ho ha3e lost the edge of truth in their $ersonal li3es ha3e made themsel3es 3ulnerable to this &ind of atta#&0 All "atan has to do is to (ait for the moment (hen the battle is at its hottest, and then aim an arro( of a##usation at the s$ot (here the belt ought to be, and then, do(n #ome the trousersC .hat atta#& #omes in the form of an a##usation0 .here are t(o &inds of a##usations: the true ones and the false ones0 Along (ith the true ones should be in#luded, the half truths0 A totally false a##usation #ould #hange $ubli# o$inion about us, but (on6t hurt us if (e &no( in our hearts (e are right and honest before God 77 so long as our breast$late of righteousness is on0 .hat, (e6ll dis#uss in the neBt se#tion0 A true, or a half true a##usation hurts (hen (e63e been trying to hide something0 Dur untruth in the matter suddenly #omes to light, and (e63e been (ounded0 /n the #ase of a half7truth, (e6re left fore3er on the defensi3e, arguing against the half of the a##usation that6s untrue, (hile on the other hand, #o3ering7u$ to hide from the half that is true0 /t6s li&e holding one6s trousers u$ (ith one hand and fighting (ith the other0 As far as "atan is #on#erned, (e63e been in#a$a#itated0 4o(e3er, if in our #om$lete trans$aren#y before God and man, (e63e #onfessed the $oint of (rong doing, or admitted to the (ea&ness, then there6s not mu#h $oint in "atan trying to aim for that $art to begin (ith0 4e may aim, instead, for the $art #o3ered by the breast$late of righteousness0 the brea t.late of ri(hteou ne 5erha$s (e #ould say that righteousness is the 3ie( one ta&es of oneself0 >any of us $robably 3ie( 97

oursel3es as being $retty good $eo$le0 Dthers may 3ie( us as not %uite so good as (e thin& (e are0 Changing our 3ie( of oursel3es from (hat (e thin&, to the (ay others see us #an be %uite a trauma0 Dn the other hand, those (ho don6t &no( us 3ery #losely may admire us in some (ays0 Juite a lot de$ends on ho( (e see oursel3es 77 (hether (e 3ie( oursel3es from our o(n $ers$e#ti3e, from that of our friends, from that of our #riti#s, from that urged on us by our $sy#hologist, or by our $astor, $riest or rabbi0 ,.here6s another $ers$e#ti3e (e ha3en6t mentioned yet 77 by far the most im$ortant 77 but (e6ll get to that in a moment0- .hat image #ould be that of a Qgood guyQ, Qbad guyQ, Q#ool guyQ, Qsugar daddyQ, Qold (indbagQ, Qtight(adQ or any of an endless number of designations0 /t6s 3ery a$$ro$riate that this 3ie( of oursel3es is des#ribed as a breast$late, be#ause our self image is li&e a $rote#ti3e de3ise0 >ost of us de3elo$ a 3ie( of oursel3es (e #an li3e (ith, and (e ta&e #omfort in that, (hen the going gets tough0 .ea#hers, #ounsellors and other leaders are often seen trying to $in$oint some $ositi3e area in the li3es of their $u$ils and #oun#ilees 77 (hether some ability, some natural good $oint or some a##om$lishment 77 that they #an use to rally their self7esteem0 All this #an be good for us and build our #onfiden#e 77 or brea& us in the end if that #onfiden#e is (rongly $la#ed0 8or 5aul, it #ould ha3e ta&en him a long (ays0 4ere6s (hat he had to say about himself ,5hil 9:A7 11-:
C

&&&%f anyone else thin1s he may have !onfiden!e in the flesh. % more so- D !ir!um!ised the eighth day. of the sto!1 of %srael. of the tribe of Ben8amin. a 7ebre) of the 7ebre)s* !on!erning the la). a Pharisee* > !on!erning Heal. perse!uting the !hur!h* !on!erning the righteousness )hi!h is in the la). blameless& E But )hat things )ere gain to me. these % have !ounted loss for 6hrist& F ,et indeed % also !ount all things loss for the e !ellen!e of the 1no)ledge of 6hrist $esus my Lord. for )hom % have suffered the loss of all things. and !ount them as rubbish. that % may gain 6hrist G and be found in 7im. not having my o)n righteousness. )hi!h is from the la). but that )hi!h is through faith in 6hrist. the righteousness )hi!h is from God by faith* =? that % may 1no) 7im and the po)er of 7is resurre!tion. and the fello)ship of 7is sufferings. being !onformed to 7is death. == if. by any means. % may attain to the resurre!tion from the dead& 5aul had it all together (hen he (as fun#tioning as a 5harisee0 4e (as a high a#hie3er no matter (hat (ay you loo& at it, and the a#hie3ements he lists here are definitely something to #ro( about0 4e (as also born of a good family? else(here (e read that he had a (ell &no(n rabbi as a mentor? and s#holars belie3e he (as a#tually a member of the "anhedrin, the great Eudi#ial #oun#il in *erusalem that made many binding de#isions that rabbis still go by to this day0 A##ording to the religious standard of righteousness 77 or shall (e say, from e3eryone else6s $oint of 3ie( 77 he (as (ell ahead of e3eryone else0 And yet, (hen he dis#o3ered the Qrighteousness (hi#h is from God by faithQ, he #hose to disregard these a##om$lishments as though they (ere of no 3alue at allC Why; 1e#ause he suddenly #aught a glim$se of himself from God6s $ers$e#ti3e0 We #an shuffle, rationalise and feel good about oursel3es all (e (ant, but in the end, it6s only ho( God sees us that #ounts0 5aul found, that all the good $oints he #ould dig u$ about himself (ould only ma&e a breast$late big enough to #o3er, say, his na3el0 5erha$s, if he mo3ed it u$ a bit, and o3er to the left, he #ould (ear it li&e a medal that (ar 3eterans (ears to boost their self esteem0 After all (e are tal&ing about (arfare here, aren6t (e0 1ut in a real battle, a medal is of absolutely no use (hatsoe3er0 "atan (ill ne3er aim for the medal0 9!

4e6ll aim for the $art of you that isn6t #o3ered0 4e &no(s ho( to get around e3ery single $ositi3e mental attitude there is0 /n fa#t, he e3en ins$ired some of them himselfC What you need, is a breast$late that6s big enough to #o3er your (hole #hest area0 8or that, you need the alternati3e a$$roa#h to righteousness that 5aul found 77 the Qrighteousness (hi#h is from God by faithQ0 .he thing about this righteousness, is that it re%uires no a#hie3ing at allC /n fa#t, to ma&e full use of it ,(hi#h in a (ar one must-, 5aul found he had to disregard all his old a#hie3ements as though they meant nothing0 Get rid of those old medals0 Dn your breast$late, there6s no $la#e to $in themC 1ut not only did he disregard all his a#hie3ements he gained as a 5harisee? he #hose to forget e3en his a##om$lishments as an a$ostle: &&&=B Brethren. % do not !ount myself to have apprehended* but one thing % do. for(ettin( tho e thin( whi!h are behind and rea!hing for)ard to those things )hi!h are ahead. =C % press to)ard the goal for the priHe of the up)ard !all of God in 6hrist $esus& =D Therefore let us. as many as are mature. have this mind* and if in anything you thin1 other)ise. God )ill reveal even this to you& 4e #hose to forget the $ast 77 both the good things and the bad 77 and only regarded the righteousness he re#ei3ed through faith in *esus0 .he old Eust (ouldn6t do0 'ot only is our o(n righteousness insuffi#ient to $rote#t us from "atan6s atta#&s? it (on6t e3en get us to hea3enC We #an rationalise all (e (ant about ho( good (e are? but from God6s $ers$e#ti3e, (e all deser3ed to die be#ause of our sin0 We, (ith our t(entieth #entury rationalisation, #an insist all day long that a lo3ing God (ould ne3er $unish anyone by sending them to 4ell0 *ust one small glim$se of yourself from God6s $oint of 3ie( (ill #on3in#e you that God6s standard of Eusti#e is the only one, and that (e do, indeed, deser3e 4ell0 Df #ourse, / #an6t gi3e you that glim$se here0 Dnly the 4oly "$irit #an do that0 / $ray 4e (ill0 1ut not only is God Eust? 4e is also full of lo3e and mer#y0 4e (ent to the ultimate length to $ro3ide a (ay out for us0 4e sent his only "on to be#ome the target of all the #onse%uen#es of our sin0 When *esus died on the #ross, an eB#hange too& $la#e, as // Corinthians @:21 says: 7e made 7im )ho 1ne) no sin to be sin for us. that )e might be!ome the righteousness of God in 7im& When (e de#ide to turn our li3es around and a##e$t (hat 4e6s done for us ,4is death and 4is resurre#tion from the dead-, (e automati#ally gain that righteousness0 'o longer do (e ha3e to (orry if (e6re good enough for God, or if our $ast re#ord of (rongdoing (ill &ee$ us from any of God6s blessings0 All that has been $ut on *esus in eB#hange for 4is righteousness0 4e be#ame sin (ith our sin 77 (e be#ome righteous (ith 4is righteousness0 .here6s absolutely nothing (e #an do to im$ro3e on that0 When (e (ear that righteousness as a breast$late by fo#using on 4im, God sees us as though 4e (ere loo&ing at *esus0 E3erything that (as a $art of our old life? all the bad things and our failures, all of our a#hie3ements, e3erything is forgotten 77 as though it ne3er ha$$ened0 Remember, that6s not only our failures, but also our a#hie3ements0 /t6s im$ortant that our self7image be#ome based, not on (hat (e63e done, not on (hat (e al(ays thought (e (ere, not on (hat (e (ant to be#ome someday, not on (hat $sy#hology teBtboo&s say (e are, nor on (hat other $eo$le say (e are? but on ho( God sees us in Christ0 Dur righteousness in Christ means (e63e been a##e$ted by God in the same (ay as 4e a##e$ts 4is o(n "on0 We must learn to a##e$t oursel3es on the same basis on (hi#h God a##e$ts us0 As (e learn this, the (ay other $eo$le see 99

us (ill mean less and less to us0 Why is this im$ortant; 1e#ause that6s as far as the breast$late of righteousness (ill $rote#t us0 Where (e still #ling to our o)n 3ie( of oursel3es, that6s (here the breast$late of righteousness doesn(t $rote#t us0 4ere, /6m not tal&ing about a3oiding 4ell and getting into 4ea3en (hen (e die0 .he fa#t that (e have that righteousness (ill get us to hea3en0 4ere, (e6re tal&ing about a#tually using that righteousness to $rote#t us from "atan6s atta#&s 77 ho( a self image based on 4is righteousness a#ts li&e a breast$late0 <et6s say /6m out sho$$ing for some gro#eries0 /6m (heeling my gro#ery trolly do(n an aisle trying to #om$are the $ri#e on t(o different brands of ba&ed beans0 .hen, / hear t(o $eo$le Eust on the other side of the ro( of shel3es ha3ing a #on3ersation, and / realise they are friends of mine0 Dne of them is saying, Q:ou &no(, Robby Eust isn6t as shar$ as he thin&s he is0Q Q.hat6s right,Q says the other0 Q4alf of the stuff he (rites 77 it Eust bores me to deathCQ Q:es, he6s out of tou#h, someho(0Q QAnd that hair7doo of his0 WhyC 4e6s Eust an o3er7gro(n hi$$ieCQ As / #arry my bag of ba&ed beans home, / mutter to myself, QDut of tou#h, am /; An o3er7gro(n hi$$ie am /;Q .hat6s all / #an thin& of for all that day, and the rest of the (ee&0 .he neBt time / see those t(o $eo$le in #hur#h, / Eust grunt and loo& the other (ay0 Q4uhC What does an 6o3er7gro(n hi$$ie6 ha3e to say to youCQ When it6s time to get do(n to some (riting, / Eust sigh, and say, QWhat6s the use 77 /6m Eust an out7of7 tou#h o3er7gro(n hi$$ie0 >y stuff Eust bores $eo$le0Q What has ha$$ened; /63e been hit (ith one of the enemy6s arro(s, and / (as (ounded be#ause / didn6t ha3e my breast$late of righteousness on0 /f / did, my fo#us (ouldn6t be on my (riting ability, nor ho( in7tou#h / am, nor my smart hair7doo0 /t (ould be on (ho / am in God6s eyes0 / (ould be so ta&en u$ (ith (hat the Creator of the uni3erse thin&s of me that it (ouldn6t ma&e any differen#e to me that my friends thin& /6m less than to$7not#h0 .hat is, (hat the Creator of the uni3erse thin&s of me 77 not my (riting ability, or my loo&s0 >y (riting ability is ni#e, of #ourse, but / must realise that God doesn6t lo3e QRobby, the great authorQ, or QRobby, the s$ell7binding 1ible tea#herQ0 4e doesn6t e3en lo3e QRobby the missionaryQ or QRobby (ith oh7so7mu#h $otentialQ0 Who does God lo3e; 4e lo3es Eust $lain old Robby 77 (ith or (ithout any abilities and a##om$lishments0 Wearing the breast$late of righteousness is &ee$ing our fo#us on 4is lo3e for us0 We are $rote#ted by our breast$late to the eBtent that (e a##e$t oursel3es as God sees us (ithout adding anything of our o(n a#hie3ements to it, nor subtra#ting anything due to $ast or $resent failure0 /t6s a $la#e of humility, to be sure, be#ause (e don6t get to sho( anything off eB#e$t for (hat *esus is in us0 "o ho( do (e maintain our breast$late; .he same (ay (e maintain the belt of .ruth0 Again, all the $ie#es of armour are one 77 only this time, (e re#ei3e the truth s$e#ifi#ally regarding our righteousness in Christ0 Dne eB#ellent 1ible $ortion that (ill enhan#e your understanding of our righteousness, is the boo& of E$hesians 77 es$e#ially the first fe( #ha$ters0 *ust ta&e your time reading it0 Go o3er some of the 3erses many times, fo#using on *esus as you do0 .hat (ill do something for your inner self0 Another (ay is to find s#ri$tures in the 'e( .estament 77 es$e#ially 5aul6s e$istles 77 that #ontain A

the $hrase, Qin ChristQ, or Qin 4imQ, or Qthrough ChristQ et#0 .hese 3erses (ill hel$ you mould your 3ie( of yourself into the 3ie( God has of you0 Again, %uite a fe( of these are in E$hesians:
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Blessed be the God and 4ather of our Lord $esus 6hrist. )ho has blessed us )ith every spiritual blessing in the heavenly pla!es in Chri t. C 8ust as 7e !hose us in Him before the foundation of the )orld. that )e should be holy and )ithout blame before 7im in love. D having predestined us to adoption as sons by 5e u Chri t to 7imself. a!!ording to the good pleasure of 7is )ill. > to the praise of the glory of 7is gra!e. by )hi!h 7e has made us a!!epted in the 'eloved& E #n Him )e have redemption through 7is blood. the forgiveness of sins. a!!ording to the ri!hes of 7is gra!e F )hi!h 7e made to abound to)ard us in all )isdom and pruden!e. G having made 1no)n to us the mystery of 7is )ill. a!!ording to 7is good pleasure )hi!h 7e purposed in Him elf. =? that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times 7e might gather together in one all things in Chri t. both )hi!h are in heaven and )hi!h are on earth55in Him& == #n Him also )e have obtained an inheritan!e. being predestined a!!ording to the purpose of 7im )ho )or1s all things a!!ording to the !ounsel of 7is )ill&&& .he abo3e is Eust a small sam$le0 Another $oint about maintaining your breast$late of righteousness is to remain in fello(shi$ (ith *esus0 .o be in fello(shi$ (ith 4im re%uires trans$aren#y0 .hat brings us ba#& to the belt of truth again, but, as (e said, it6s all the same thing0 <i&e (e said earlier, it6s easier to maintain ea#h indi3idual $ie#e of armour (hen (e63e got it all on0 2es$ite the fa#t (e are Qin ChristQ, (e still ma&e mista&es0 "ometimes, big mista&es 77 sometimes falling into sin in a big (ay0 1ut if (e6re trans$arent before God, instead of insisting that e3erything6s Eust fine, (e #an immediately $i#& right ba#& u$ (here (e left off0 / *ohn 1:@71 says:
D

This is the message )hi!h )e have heard from 7im and de!lare to you. that God is light and in 7im is no dar1ness at all& > %f )e say that )e have fello)ship )ith 7im. and )al1 in dar1ness. )e lie and do not pra!ti!e the truth& E But if )e )al1 in the light as 7e is in the light. )e have fello)ship )ith one another. and the blood of $esus 6hrist 7is Son !leanses us from all sin& F %f )e say that )e have no sin. )e de!eive ourselves. and the truth is not in us& G %f )e !onfess our sins. 7e is faithful and 8ust to forgive us our sins and to !leanse us from all unrighteousness& =? %f )e say that )e have not sinned. )e ma1e 7im a liar. and 7is )ord is not in us& 'oti#e (hat 3erses !, 9 and 1 say about trans$aren#y0 A##ording to 3erse 9, it6s as (e #onfess our sin, rather than trying to hide it, that (e are #leansed from (hate3er unrighteousness that (ould &no#& our breast$late out of &ilter0 .hat also &ee$s us in fello(shi$, be#ause as (e remain trans$arent before 4im, (e6re in the light, and thus ,a##ording to 3erse 7- in fello(shi$ (ith *esus0 "o, (hen you sli$ u$ ,and it doesn6t matter ho( many times you63e already sli$$ed u$-, Eust say, Q<ord, /63e sli$$ed u$0 /63e done 000,name the sin-000 With :our hel$, / turn a(ay from this sin right no(0 5lease forgi3e me and #leanse me from my unrighteousness0Q +erse 9 $romises that 4e is faithful A1

and Eust to forgi3e0 .hen, fello(shi$$ing (ith 4im in the light ,3erse 7- (ill gi3e you the strength to o3er#ome that tenden#y to sin0 Q.he blood of *esus Christ, 4is "on, !leansesQ us from that tenden#y0 /f, for some reason, you thin& 4e (on6t forgi3e, or 4e6s gi3ing you the silent treatment, Eust read that 3erse again0 Q4e is faithful and Eust to forgi3e000Q .hat means that if you are truly being o$en and trans$arent before 4im, as 4is Word ,i0e0 .ruth- says, 4e does forgi3e you0 4e is the .ruth 77 there6s no %uestion of 4im lying 77 so you #an rest assured, Eust be#ause 4is Word said it, that you are forgi3en, and ba#& in fello(shi$0 .hat6s ho( you &ee$ your breast$late on0 the (o .el hoe /t6s good to loo& again at 5aul6s (ording in his des#ri$tion of this $ie#e ,3s0 1@-: &&&having shod your feet )ith the preparation of the (o .el (good ne)s) of .ea!e&&& .his is a dire#t referen#e to a fa3ourite 3erse of 5aul6s 77 /saiah @2:7: 7o) beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him )ho brings (ood new . )ho pro!laims .ea!e. )ho brings glad tidings of good things. )ho pro!laims salvation. )ho says to Iion. J,our God reigns'J 4e also %uotes this 3erse in Romans 1 , in a $assage in (hi#h he is tal&ing about e3angelism 77 es$e#ially to the *e(ish #ommunity:
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7o) then shall they !all on 7im in )hom they have not believed9 And ho) shall they believe in 7im of )hom they have not heard9 And ho) shall they hear )ithout a prea!her9 =D And ho) shall they prea!h unless they are sent9 As it is )ritten- J7o) beautiful are the feet of those )ho prea!h the (o .el of .ea!e. Who bring glad tidings of good things'J => But they have not all obeyed the gospel& 4or %saiah says. JLord. )ho has believed our report9J =E So then faith !omes by hearing. and hearing by the )ord of God& All of the abo3e gi3es us a (ide breadth of a$$li#ation 77 from missionary e3angelism in other lands ,o3er the mountains-, to sharing to *e(ish $eo$le (ho their >essiah is, to sim$ly bringing ho$e and #omfort to fello( belie3ers by reminding them that Qyour God reignsQ, and that 4is &ingdom is #oming 3ery shortly0 'ot e3eryone #an be a missionary? not e3eryone #an s$ea& to $eo$le of 3arious ethni# ba#&grounds (ith the same effe#ti3eness? and not e3eryone #an tea#h, $rea#h or bring #omfort in %uite the same (ay0 1ut e3eryone has a gift of the 4oly "$irit 77 $erha$s t(o or three0 .o try to do something for (hi#h you don6t ha3e a gift, is sometimes li&e running o3er a mountain barefoot0 :ou might bring the message, but you6ll be (in#ing in so mu#h $ain from your sore feet, that if the $eo$le don6t listen 3ery #arefully, they might thin& you6re tal&ing about some sort of torment 77 not $ea#e0 And your feet (ill end u$ not loo&ing 3ery beautifulC Without this $ie#e of armour, it6s easy for "atan to #onfuse us (ith all &inds of situations that are out of our de$th0 Dn#e (e are (ounded in the feet, it #ould be a long time before (e again 3enture out to attem$t any more (or& of ministry0 .hat6s (hy *esus made sure 4is dis#i$les didn6t go any(here until they had $ut on their shoes:

A2

Lu1e @C-CG JBehold. % send the Promise of +y 4ather upon you* but tarry in the !ity of $erusalem until you are endued )ith po)er from on high&J A!ts =-F J&&&you shall re!eive po)er )hen the 7oly Spirit has !ome upon you* and you shall be )itnesses to +e in $erusalem. and in all $udea and Samaria. and to the end of the earth&&&J .he fa#t is, they didn6t ha3e to (ait 3ery long for the 4oly "$irit to #ome, and (hat a differen#e it madeC Dnly @9 days earlier, 5eter had sho(ed that he most #ertainly didn(t ha3e his feet shod for any mountain7#limbing0 When there (as an o$$ortunity to state his belief of (ho the 5rin#e of 5ea#e (as, he (as so #onfused and turned around that he denied all &no(ledge of *esusC After that, he (as indeed a (ounded man0 All self #onfiden#e had drained a(ay #om$letely0 /f it (eren6t for the fa#t that *esus &ne( beforehand that "atan (as about to Qsift him li&e (heatQ ,<u&e 22:91,92- and did some intense $raying for him, 5eter $robably (ouldn6t ha3e emerged from this eB$erien#e at allC As it (as, many of *esus6s (ords u$on 4is resurre#tion (ere intended to heal those (ounds ,*ohn 21:1@719-0 4ere, (e see that (ords s$o&en at the right time, along (ith the anointing of the 4oly "$irit, #an heal us of "atan6s atta#&s at $oints (here (e ha3en6t been $ro$erly #o3ered by the armour0 Wounds are an ine3itable fa#t of (ar, but as (e fo#us on *esus, healing #omes0 As it (as, on the day of 5ente#ost, (hen the 4oly "$irit fell, 5eter (as the first one to stand u$ and announ#e the good news of peace, and $ro#laim to /srael, Q:our God reignsCQ G$on that announ#ement, 9 $eo$le re$ented and (ere ba$tised0 "ome of you are $robably (ondering, QWhere in the (orld do / find shoes li&e that;Q <oo& one more time at the $assage in Romans 1 :
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7o) then shall they !all on 7im in )hom they have not believed9 And ho) shall they believe in 7im of )hom they have not heard9 And ho) shall they hear )ithout a prea!her9 =D And ho) shall they prea!h unless they are ent9 We get our shoes (hen (e6re sent0 .he dis#i$les had to (ait in *erusalem for the 4oly "$irit, be#ause it (as 4e (ho (ould send them0 4o( are (e sent; 4o( do (e &no( (hen (e63e been sent; We ha3e to be in a $osition of hearing from God 77 the same $la#e 5eter (as (hen he (as healed of his dee$ (ounds in his soul, and then be#ame em$o(ered to $rea#h0 .hat $la#e (as the $la#e of fello(shi$ (ith *esus, sitting on the bea#h around a fire (ith *esus eating fish for brea&fast, and then sim$ly (aiting %uiet before the <ord until 5ente#ost #ame0 8o#using on *esus? fello(shi$$ing (ith *esus? (al&ing in the light as 4e is in the light: that6s (hat the armour is all about0 E3en though *esus isn6t here in bodily form, (e ha3e the 4oly "$irit0 When (e (orshi$ God in "$irit and in .ruth ,*ohn A:29- and begin to sim$ly enEoy 4is $resen#e, and that be#omes the $riority in our li3es, then (e learn ho( to (or& )ith God, not for 4im0 .he (or& of ministry begins to #ome naturally0 .hat6s the (ay 5aul and 1arnabas re#ei3ed their #alling: A!ts =B-= 3o) in the !hur!h that )as at Antio!h there )ere !ertain prophets and tea!hersA9

Barnabas. Simeon )ho )as !alled 3iger. Lu!ius of 6yrene. +anaen )ho had been brought up )ith 7erod the tetrar!h. and Saul& @ As they mini tered to the &ord and fasted. the 7oly Spirit said. J3o) separate to +e Barnabas and Saul for the )or1 to )hi!h % have !alled them&J /t loo&s li&e (hat this grou$ of $ro$hets and tea#hers #ame together to do, (as not $ro$he#y, not as& for dire#tion, but sim$ly to minister to the <ord0 /t6s (hile they (ere $raising and (orshi$$ing 4im, and enEoying 4is $resen#e that the 4oly "$irit singled out 1arnabas and "aul for a s$e#ial (or&0 1e #areful not to miss the $oint here0 >inistering to the <ord and fo#using on *esus is not sim$ly a (ay of getting (hat (e need from God0 /t is, in fa#t, an end in itself0 /t6s the reason (e (ere #reated0 We (ere made to sim$ly be friends (ith God0 :es, the Qgos$el shoesQ are to hel$ us do the (or& of the <ord, but (e must remember that (e begin our (or& from a $la#e of intima#y and friendshi$0 $ohn =D-=D J3o longer do % !all you servants. for a servant does not 1no) )hat his master is doing* but % have !alled you friends. for all things that % heard from +y 4ather % have made 1no)n to you& Dn#e (e start there, the rest be#omes natural0 We no longer go by a set method, but (e (or& as one (ho understands the (or&, be#ause (e are (or&ing side by side (ith *esus0 Dn the other hand, don6t sim$ly refrain from all ministry be#ause you don6t &no( your #alling yet0 /f there are o$$ortunities to Eoin in, then Eoin in0 /f a team is going out $assing out leaflets, Eoin them0 /f you ha3e a #han#e to Eoin (ith a ministry team going to another #ountry, by all means, go along and see (here you fit in0 1ut do it (ith your heart o$en to *esus, (ith the attitude that you6re (or&ing )ith 4im, not for 4im0 /t6s easy to do that (hen you6re (ith a team, and the (hole team is oriented that (ay0 Dr if the $assenger sitting neBt to you on the bus loo&s li&e he needs ne( ho$e in his life, than loo& for a o$$ortunity to share it (ith him0 Dften, it6s (hen (e try a fe( things li&e this that (e Qfind our shoesQ0 When you do, it (on6t seem li&e hard (or&, but li&e a $astime0 Also, the more you do this, the more easily you6ll hear 4is 3oi#e0 >u#h more (or& of the ministry (ill get a##om$lished this (ay than by our being moti3ated by guilt or duty0 the helmet of alvation /f (e loo& at the (hole history of 5aul6s ministry, not only in the boo& of A#ts but also in the E$istles, (e #an see that this $assage on the armour of God (as a tea#hing illustration he had $robably been de3elo$ing for %uite some time 77 at least sin#e his se#ond missionary Eourney, (hen he tra3elled to Corinth and (rote his first letter to the .hessalonians0 /n this letter, (e see the same illustration in a sim$ler form, $robably Eust after he had thought it u$, or after it (as first gi3en to him by the 4oly "$irit0 % Thess D-F But let us )ho are of the day be sober. putting on the breastplate of faith and love. and as a helmet the hope of salvation& Calling the breast$late, Qfaith and lo3eQ isn6t too far different from #alling it QrighteousnessQ0 After all, (e ma&e use of our breast$late of righteousness by basing our faith on the fa#t that (e are the obEe#ts of God6s lo3e0 When (e see the helmet as being the Qho$e of sal3ationQ, that also gi3es us a dee$er understanding of (hat sal3ation is0 AA

"al3ation isn6t Eust something that ha$$ened to us a long time ago ,or, for some of us, not so long ago- (hen you re$ented and #onfessed *esus to be your <ord0 "al3ation began (ith our being born again0 .hough (e tend to thin& that sal3ation means being sa3ed from 4ell, the 1ible #on#e$t goes far beyond that0 When (e loo& at sal3ation from the 1ibli#al stand$oint, (e6re not tal&ing about sal3ation from 4ell ,although it does in#lude that-, but rather, sal3ation from sin0 /t6s a restoration $ro#ess0 .his is (hat 5aul (as tal&ing about (hen he (rote to the 5hili$$ians: Phil @-=@ Therefore. my beloved. as you have al)ays obeyed. not as in my presen!e only. but no) mu!h more in my absen!e. )or1 out your o)n salvation )ith fear and trembling * Was 5aul really telling them to fear and tremble at the $ossibility that they might die and go to 4ell at any minute; 'o0 4e (as eBhorting them to be moti3ated by the fear of the <ord to allo( 4is gra#e to do a #om$lete (or& in their li3es0 1e#ause (e tend to thin& of sal3ation as being from 4ell, (e try to moti3ate $eo$le to a##e$t sal3ation by indu#ing a fear of 4ell0 .he 1ible ne3er tells us to fear 4ell, but to fear God0 Anyone, through s&ilful $resentation and 5R (or&, #an #reate a fear of 4ell, but only the 4oly "$irit #an bring on the fear of the <ord0 4e #on3i#ts of sin, God hates sin, and fear of the <ord leads us through an ongoing $ro#ess (hereby (e are deli3ered from our sins0 Earlier on in the e$istle, he had said essentially the same thing: =-> being !onfident of this very thing. that 7e )ho has begun a good )or1 in you )ill !omplete it until the day of $esus 6hrist* .he fear of the <ord is the other side of our relationshi$ (ith 4im that (e ha3en6t loo&ed at yet0 We already sa( that (e are #alled to be 4is friends0 All the (hile, (e are also a(are that 4e is a great and a(esome God, the #reator of the uni3erse, and Dne (ho doesn6t tolerate sin0 4e has been a lo3ing and mer#iful God to us, but 4is other attribute is that of Eusti#e and holiness0 EB$erien#ing God in 4is attribute of Eusti#e is the Qfear and tremblingQ as$e#t of our relationshi$ (ith 4im0 .hat is the moti3ation to be diligent to allo( God6s gra#e to #om$lete the (or& in us that 4e began the day (e (ere born again0 We &no( that 4e6s gi3en us 4is 4oly "$irit, and 4is Word to read and enEoy0 We &no( (e ha3e an a$$roa#h to 4im any time (e ha3e a need0 4o(e3er, (ithout the fear of the <ord, it6s too easy to ta&e all this for granted0 .he Creator of the uni3erse 77 the God (ho is a #onsuming fire 77 ga3e us these $ri3ileges for a s$e#ifi# reason0 4e eB$e#ts these $ri3ileges to be used to their maBimum benefit, so that (e #an re#ei3e from 4im, and gro( u$ to be (hat 4e #alled us to be0 When the )ing in3ites you to su$$er, you don6t Eust ma&e any old eB#use to not sho( u$0 1ut (e #an also rest assured that (hen (e do ta&e ad3antage of our righteousness, of the belt of .ruth and of 4is 4oly "$irit6s em$o(erment, (e (ill be #hanged into 4is image0 .hat is the ho$e of sal3ation0 4o$e is loo&ing for(ard to (hat6s u$ ahead0 What is u$ ahead is the Qday of *esus ChristQ that 5aul mentioned to the 5hili$$ians0 .hat is the day that (e eB$e#t the (or& to be #om$leted that 4e began in us the day (e (ere born again0 5aul said some more $rofound things about this Qday of *esus ChristQ in his letter to the Romans ,#ha$ter 1 -:

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4or % !onsider that the sufferings of this present time are not )orthy to be !ompared )ith the glory )hi!h shall be revealed in us& =G 4or the earnest e pe!tation of the !reation eagerly )aits for the revealing of the sons of God& @? 4or the !reation )as sub8e!ted to futility. not )illingly. but be!ause of 7im )ho sub8e!ted it in hope* @= be!ause the !reation itself also )ill be delivered from the bondage of !orruption into the glorious liberty of the !hildren of God& @@ 4or )e 1no) that the )hole !reation groans and labours )ith birth pangs together until no)& @B 3ot only that. but )e also )ho have the firstfruits of the Spirit. even )e ourselves groan )ithin ourselves. eagerly )aiting for the adoption. the redemption of our body& @C 4or )e )ere saved in this hope. but hope that is seen is not hope* for )hy does one still hope for )hat he sees9 @D But if )e hope for )hat )e do not see. )e eagerly )ait for it )ith perseveran!e& @> Li1e)ise the Spirit also helps in our )ea1nesses& 4or )e do not 1no) )hat )e should pray for as )e ought. but the Spirit 7imself ma1es inter!ession for us )ith groanings )hi!h !annot be uttered& .he final stage of our sal3ation is the Qredem$tion of our body0Q .hat, a##ording to this $assage, is not only the longing of our s$iritual nature, but of all nature as (ell0 .hroughout the 'e( .estament, (e see that this (as the ho$e that &e$t e3eryone intensely moti3ated0 /n .itus, 5aul #alls it Q.he blessed 4o$e0Q .hen, in this $assage, (e read that the 4oly "$irit (as gi3en to us so that (e #ould $ray this ho$e through to reality0 We #ertainly do need the 4oly "$irit6s hel$ in this0 God hel$ our ignoran#eC We63e al(ays thought that the se#ond #oming (ould Eust automati#ally ha$$en one fine day (hen (e (ere least eB$e#ting it0 5eter didn6t see it that (ay0 4e said it (as u$ to us to hasten that day: %% Pet B-== &&&Therefore. sin!e all these things )ill be dissolved. )hat manner of persons ought you to be in holy !ondu!t and godliness. =@ loo1ing for and ha tenin( the !oming of the day of God. be!ause of )hi!h the heavens )ill be dissolved. being on fire. and the elements )ill melt )ith fervent heat /f it6s u$ to us to hasten that day 77 the day God $lanned e3erything for sin#e the beginning of the World 77 don6t you thin& that6s #ause for fear and trembling; What (e are loo&ing for(ard to here is the end result of all our labours here on Earth0 8or that reason, (e #an be assured that e3erything (e do in 4is strength, (ith 4is moti3ation, e3erything that results from our fo#us on *esus, (ill bear fruit0 .hat fruit, along (ith the (hole #hur#h6s unified fo#us on *esus is (hat (ill ultimate hasten and bring that day to $ass0 .hat6s the ho$e (e ha3e0 .hat6s the ongoing $ro#ess of sal3ation0 "o ho( does the la#& of this $ie#e of armour o$en us u$ to atta#& from the enemy; Dne of the (ays (e63e Eust noted is, (e fail to (or& out our sal3ation (ith fear and trembling0 We ta&e our Eolly old time0 Why do you thin& it6s ta&en 2 years already sin#e 5aul started urging us on li&e this; We ha3en6t been listening ha3e (eC "e#ondly, (ithout ho$e, our Eoy is the neBt to disa$$ear0 .hen, (e ha3e no strength left0 /n our e3eryday language, Qfull of ho$eQ is almost a synonym of QEoyfulQ, (hereas, Qho$elessQ or Qlost all ho$eQ is another (ay of saying de$ressed, or la#&ing in moti3ation0 .hat6s (hy 'ehimiah !:1 says , Q.he Eoy of the <ord is your strength0Q When (e ha3e the ho$e of the Qday of *esus ChristQ before us? the ho$e that God is ta&ing us into A=

greater and greater things until that ultimate day, then (e be#ome dangerous to "atan and his &ingdom, be#ause then there6s no sto$$ing us0 When (e lose that ho$e? (hen Christian life be#omes humdrum day to day eBisten#e, then, (e be#ome easy targets for "atan6s atta#&s0 4e6ll easily di3ert our attention to other things, (here it (ill be that mu#h easier to atta#& us (ith the tem$tation to sin0 We maintain this $ie#e of armour, again, by re#ei3ing the .ruth that rene(s our mind0 .he reason sal3ation is des#ribed as a helmet that #o3ers our head, is that it has to do (ith our mind being either on the (ays of God, or else #onformed to the (ays of the (orld0 <om =@-= % besee!h you therefore. brethren. by the mer!ies of God. that you present your bodies a living sa!rifi!e. holy. a!!eptable to God. )hi!h is your reasonable servi!e& @ And do not be !onformed to this )orld. but be transformed by the renewin( of your mind. that you may prove )hat is that good and a!!eptable and perfe!t )ill of God& .he rene(ing of the mind is one of the $ro#esses of sal3ation0 .hat both &ee$s the Qday of *esus ChristQ as a #onstant reality before us, as (ell as guides our thoughts and habits to be more in line (ith 4im0 the hield of faith 'o(, (e63e arri3ed at the t(o $ie#es of our (ea$onry that (e don6t sim$ly (ear, but a#tually hold in our hands in a#ti3e #ombat (ith the de3il0 .he shield (or&s for us (hen (e see something #oming our (ay, and (e lift the shield and fend it off0 .he other $arts of the armour #at#h (hat (e missed (ith our shield0 /n that (ay, it6s good to &no( that our sur3i3al doesn6t de$end on our #onstantly being ready to eBer#ise our faith0 8aith is an a#ti3e thing, but (e #an also trust in the <ord6s &ee$ing $o(er in times (e are so eBhausted from the (ar, all (e #an do is Eust hold on to something and gas$ for breath0 Dn the other hand, 5aul does mention a s$e#ifi# ty$e of atta#& in regards to the shield of faith ,3s0 =&&&ta1ing the shield of faith )ith )hi!h you )ill be able to /uen!h all the fiery darts of the )i!1ed one& Dften, the shields (ere made, not of iron or bronHe, but of leather stret#hed o3er a frame0 .he arro(s #ould go through, and $erha$s hit the breast$late and the helmet and other $ie#es, but the ones that (ere di$$ed into flammable li%uid and lit, (ould be %uen#hed by the time they got through the leather shield0 >ost of the $ossible (ounds (e63e #onsidered so far ha3e been those in#urred by the iron or bronHe $oints of "atan6s arro(s0 'o(, for the first time, (e see the added danger of fire0 What is fire; Gsually, (e $i#ture the flame that rises from a #ombustion of flammable material0 .hat, of #ourse, is the red hot gasses that are released by the #hemi#al rea#tion0 .he (ord for Qs$iritQ in both Gree& in 4ebre( is a#tually the (ord for (ind, or breath0 .hat (ould $ut it in the same #ategory as the flame, being something li&e gas0 .he fiery darts, then, re$resent the s$iritual side of "atan6s atta#&s0 .hey #ould be o##ult, or (it#h#raft s$irits sent to su$ernaturally atta#& the belie3er0 .hey #ould also be (hat gi3e the other atta#&s the added edge 77 an atta#& on our self image #ould be a##om$anied by a demoni#ally indu#ed de$ression0 .hey #ould also be from #urses sent by o##ultists or from s$irits resident in an area0 /n other (ords, your shield of faith is (hat you must begin using (hen you ta&e that short#ut through the #emetery at night, and you suddenly get goose7bum$s0 A7

/n many #ultures, $arti#ularly in the West, the abo3e illustration may seem laughable0 .he se#ular rationalism that has been $re3alent for the last 9 or so years has taught us that su#h things are the stuff of #hildren6s storyboo&s, and ha3e no rele3an#e to real life0 .he Western mind has thereby been desensitised to the s$irit (orld0 While the (estern based edu#ation system may ha3e taught us more about s#ien#e and te#hnology, the (orld 3ie( of the tribal so#ieties is mu#h more a##urate in des#ribing the s$irit (orld 77 that $art of reality that s#ien#e, so far, hasn6t de3elo$ed the #a$ability to gauge0 2on6t get me (rongC /6m not trying to $ush some Qne( ageQ $hiloso$hy0 *ust be#ause they are a(are of the s$irit (orld, doesn6t mean they are free from "atan6s $o(er0 1ut the differen#e bet(een them and the so7#alled Q#i3ilisedQ #ultures is that they &no( eBa#tly (ho it is that has had $o(er o3er them for thousands of years0 .hat6s (hy it6s easier for (hole 3illages and tribes of these $eo$les to res$ond to the gos$el of *esus0 .hey &no( (ho their enemy is, and they immediately re#ognise the $o(er of the gos$el to o3er#ome that enemy0 .he (ar is real, and they &no( itC .he shield of faith is a more ne#essary (ea$on than (e are often a(are of0 4o( do (e de3elo$ our shield of faith; >a&e sure you ha3e girded your loins (ith suffi#ient .ruth regarding your authority in Christ0 "ome good $assages to read and meditate on are >atthe( #ha$ter 1 , and <u&e 1 0 5arti#ularly <u&e 1 :19: JBehold. % give you the authority to trample on serpents and s!orpions. and over all the po)er of the enemy. and nothing shall by any means hurt you&&&J With your authority, it isn6t ne#essary to $ray and as& God to #hase the demons a(ay0 :ou #an s$ea& to them dire#tly0 *ames A:7 says: &&&Therefore submit to God& <esist the devil and he )ill flee from you& .here is also a lot about our authority in the 'ame of *esus in *ohn #ha$ters 1A through 1=0 Also, authority to #ommand #ir#umstan#es 77 not Eust s$irits 77 #an be found in >ar& 11:2272A0 .here, (e see that it6s $ossible to s$ea& to obEe#ts, su#h as mountains, and #ommand them to mo3e0 4o( mu#h more, demons, (ho #an hear (hat (e say; 8inally, it is essential, (hen using our authority against demons, to ha3e on the )hole armour 77 not Eust #arry the shield of faith0 .he demons are, after all, intelligent beings, and #an s$ot right off (hi#h $ie#e of armour you are la#&ing0 "ome belie3ers ha3e found it hel$ful to 3erbally go o3er ea#h $ie#e of armour, and #onfess the truth of ea#h $ie#e o3er themsel3es0 We mentioned this $ra#ti#e earlier0 .his (ould fit under the #ategory of the shield of faith, being that (e are a#ti3ely eBer#ising faith in ea#h of the areas re$resented by the armour of God, for that eBtra edge of $rote#tion0 We6ll learn yet more about the shield of faith as (e dis#uss the s)ord of the spirit0 the word of the .irit =E&&&the s)ord of the Spirit. )hi!h is the rhema of God&&& When dis#ussing this $ie#e, one is also reminded of another referen#e to the Word of God being a s(ord, found in the e$istle to the 4ebre(s0 1efore (e #an truly understand the relationshi$ bet(een these t(o $assages, (e must first understand that there are a#tually t(o (ords in the Gree& that mean Q(ordQ0 Dne is rhema, (hi#h (e find in the $resent $assage, and the other logos, (hi#h the $assage in A!

4ebre(s uses0 Logos generally means something that is (ritten0 .hat6s (here (e get the (ord QlogoQ, as meaning a trade mar&0 .he 1ible in its (ritten form (ould be Logos0 8oundational tea#hing on an im$ortant do#trine in the 1ible (ould be Logos tea#hing0 .he tea#hing in this boo& is Logos at its #entre0 /t6s a#tually hard, sometimes to dra( the line bet(een Logos and <hema0 .he 3erse in 4ebre(s is a good eB$os; of the $o(er of Logos: 7eb C-=@ 4or the )ord (lo(o ) of God is living and po)erful. and sharper than any t)o5 edged s)ord. pier!ing even to the division of soul and spirit. and of 8oints and marro). and is a dis!erner of the thoughts and intents of the heart& =B And there is no !reature hidden from 7is sight. but all things are na1ed and open to the eyes of 7im to )hom )e must give a!!ount& .his des#ri$tion fits more (ith (hat (e said about the belt of .ruth0 :ou remember, (e said that 4is Word is .ruth? and also, .ruth is God6s #hara#ter (hi#h is transferred to us as (e re#ei3e 4is .ruth0 .hat is eBa#tly (hat this 3erse des#ribes0 God6s .ruth, as a s(ord $ier#ing into our hearts and dis#erning our 3ery thoughts and intents as to (hether or not they are $ure and honest or if they aren6t hidden agendas and hy$o#riti#al self ambition0 What this des#ribes is, not a s(ord in our hands, but in the hands of the 4oly "$irit as (e allo( 4im to o$en it u$ to us0 .hus, it is more a$$li#able to the belt of .ruth0 .he <hema, (hi#h is a $art of our armour, is a s(ord in our hands0 <hema is the Gree& (ord that means s$o&en (ord0 /t6s a (ord that the 4oly "$irit has ta&en and suddenly made ali3e in our hearts and $ro3ides us (ith a burst of faith need to get a s$e#ifi# Eob done, or a su$ernatural healing, or a burst of ho$e0 Where Logos (ould des#ribe sound tea!hing? <hema is the $ro$heti# (ord that often a##om$anies inspired prea!hing0 <omans =?-=E 55 So then faith !omes by hearing. and hearing by a rhema of God& /n tea#hing Logos, (e are #areful not to ta&e 3erses out of #onteBt and thus misa$$ly them0 1ut a <hema (ord, on the other hand, may be a 3erse in the 1ible that the 4oly "$irit suddenly gi3es ne( meaning to for a s$e#ifi# situation0 .hat6s o&ay, be#ause it6s not laying a do#trinal foundation? but rather, meeting a s$e#ifi# need, or gi3ing s$e#ifi# dire#tion0 Dne #ommon 3erse that is often used in this (ay is /saiah @A:2, QEnlarge the $la#e of your tent, And let them stret#h out the #urtains of your d(ellings000Q /n its Logos #onteBt that6s tal&ing about /srael6s future0 .hat6s (hat God meant (hen 4e originally ga3e the Word through /saiah0 4o(e3er, many ha3e also been gi3en it as a <hema (ord for themsel3es, (ith the message that the <ord is about to eB$and their s$here of influen#e0 .hat is a uni%ue feature of the 1ible 77 its a$$li#ation both as Logos and <hema0 As a (ea$on in our hands <hema is, to us, (hat the flaming arro(s are to "atan6s army 77 eB#e$t mu#h more $o(erful, be#ause they are a $art of God6s arsenal0 When (e ha3e been suffi#iently girded (ith .ruth 77 God6s Logos Word 77 that Word is there ready to be#ome <hema the moment (e need to ma&e a lunge at "atan6s (ea& s$ot0 Juite a lot about (hat (e said about the shield of faith, also a$$lies to the s(ord of the s$irit 77 eB#e$t for the fa#t that one is $rimarily defensi3e, and the other offensi3e0 "o ho( do (e de3elo$ our ability to use our s(ords and shields; .he t(o main (ays are: 1, to re#ei3e .ruth as the 4oly "$irit tea#hes us? and 2, to begin $ra#tising it0 /n the #onteBt of the armour, (e are tal&ing es$e#ially about s$iritual (arfare0 Dur ability to A9

eBer#ise <hema ought to be de3elo$ed in other areas as (ell, es$e#ially in see&ing God for dire#tion, and in en#ouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ0 1ut (hat #on#erns us in this #onteBt is using it as an offensi3e (ea$on against "atan0 8or s$e#ifi# s#ri$tures, refer to the ones listed under the #ategory of the shield of faith0 /n $utting both your shield of faith and your s(ord of the s$irit into $ra#ti#e, don6t Eust $ra#ti#e it on e3erything that mo3es0 Also, don6t Eust automati#ally use it on Eust e3ery s$irit shrine, fortune teller sho$, $agan (orshi$ #entre and >asoni# lodge you ha$$en to see0 /t6s best to only do that (hen you6re (ith a grou$ of li&e7minded belie3ers (ith the goal of doing sustained $rayer and s$iritual (arfare against the s$irits o3er a s$e#ifi# area0 .his is (here you (ill en#ounter some of the others of the four le3els of s$iritual $o(er (e mentioned at the beginning0 .his is not a boo& detailing that ty$e of s$iritual (arfare0 / (ould ad3ise you to read others more s$e#ifi#ally on that to$i#0 C0 5eter Wagner, Cindy *a#obs and others ha3e (ritten some eB#ellent ones0 E3en a$art from Qstrategi# le3el s$iritual (arfareQ, as 5eter Wagner #alls it, you (ill still ha3e the o$$ortunity to $ra#ti#e using your s$iritual s(ord and shield of faith on a $ersonal le3el0 2on6t go against the ones o3er your nation until you63e begun seeing 3i#tory o3er the ones #oming against you and your family0 .rayin( alway
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&&&praying al)ays )ith all prayer and suppli!ation in the Spirit. being )at!hful to this end )ith all perseveran!e and suppli!ation for all the saints 55 =G and for me&&& .his 3erse ties it all together for us0 /t $uts the (hole subEe#t in the realm (here it belongs0 .he first thing (e noted is that Q(e do not (restle against flesh and bloodQ, but against s$iritual for#es0 Dne of our $rimary fun#tions in this is $rayer0 .he $hrase, Qall $rayer and su$$li#ationQ brings our attention to the fa#t that there are many &inds of $rayer0 /t6s true, $rayer is sim$ly tal&ing to God0 Dne doesn6t need to be an eB$ert at s$iritual things to be able to $ray0 *ust o$en u$ and start tal&ing0 Dn the other hand, on#e (e begin doing that, and as (e submit to the 4oly "$irit, many a3enues of $rayer begin o$ening u$ for us0 .hese in#lude sim$ly as&ing God for something (e &no( is 4is (ill, and therefore as&ing (ith #onfiden#e ,/ *ohn @:1A,1@-? #ommanding demons, or #ir#umstan#es, as (e mentioned earlier? $raying in other tongues as the 4oly "$irit gi3es utteran#e? groanings that the 4oly "$irit may initiate in us a##ording to Rom !:2=, (hi#h some also refer to as Qdee$ inter#essionQ? and many other ty$es of $rayer0 5hili$$ians A:= has a list of different &inds of $rayer to (hi#h it adds, Q(ith than&sgi3ingQ0 /t6s im$ortant to maintain an attitude of than&sgi3ing as a $art of our $rayer stan#e0 We #ould go into mu#h more detail about all these &inds of $rayer, but there are other boo&s that do so %uite ade%uately 77 some by authors (e63e mentioned earlier0 Q1eing (at#hful000Q 77 after all, (e are in a (ar0 As anyone (ho6s been on the front lines of a battle (ill tell you, it6s no $la#e to relaB and ta&e it easy0 As (e gro( in 4im, (e must, among other things, de3elo$ a 2A hour #ons#iousness of (ho (e are and (hat (e6re doing0 .hat doesn6t mean al(ays &ee$ing a straight fa#e (hen in the $resen#e of our friends and #olleagues in the (orld, nor a#ting li&e (e6re in the #louds0 /t sim$ly means, ne3er forget (ho you are0 )ee$ your s$iritual ear in tune for the 4oly "$irit6s $rom$tings, the same (ay as your natural ears are in tune to the sound of your mobile $hone? or a mother6s ears are al(ays tuned to the sound of her #hild #rying from the other room0 Dne thing that hel$s is to s$end time (ith 4im on a regular basis0 Dn#e you ta&e the effort to tune your heart to 4im on#e in the day, then it #omes more @

naturally later on0 8inally, (e6re told to in#lude, along (ith the other forms of $rayer, Qsu$$li#ation for all the saintsQ0 'ot only is it our obEe#ti3e to $rote#t oursel3es by (earing the armour, but our #on#ern is also for all our brothers and sisters in Christ 77 some of (hom may be only $artially dressed0 1ut e3en the ones (ho are fully dressed need our $rayer0 /t6s no use to Eust be (ell $rote#ted all by oursel3es0 When (e arri3e before the Eudgement seat of Christ, it6s not our obEe#ti3e for God to smile at us and say, Q:ou, out of all my #hildren, are the only one (ho &e$t my (ord 6till the end0Q Wouldn6t that be terrible; .hat6s not our obEe#ti3e at allC We are a body0 /t6s together, (ith all the saints that (e must finally #ross the finish line0 *esus is #oming for a bride #om$osed of the entire #hur#h 77 not Eust one or t(o (ho #an $ride themsel3es in being more s$iritual than the rest0 .he reason (hy (e63e de3elo$ed a mentality li&e that in Charismati# and 5ente#ostal #ir#les, is that early in our history, (e (ere (ounded0 "ome of us began re#ei3ing the fullness of the 4oly "$irit, and mainline denominational #hur#hes #ouldn6t a##e$t it0 .hey began shooting arro(s of a##usation and #riti#ism at us0 "o (hat did (e do; 2id (e see& the fa#e of *esus for healing; 2id (e adEust our breast$late of righteousness and our belts of truth; 'o0 We dre( off by oursel3es and began li#&ing our (ounds0 We allo(ed our bitterness to(ards them to be#ome a do#trine, as it (ere, that )e are the ones God has #alled, and as they ha3e ob3iously reEe#ted us 77 (ell, they63e Eust reEe#ted God ha3en6t theyC 'o(, sin#e they6re on the outside loo&ing in, it doesn6t matter )hat they say0 Q"ti#&s and stones 000et!000CQ .hat (as the $rote#ti3e me#hanism (e $ut into $la#e instead of the full armour of God0 .he $roblem (ith that attitude, is, they are not on the outside loo&ing in0 We6re all on the same side of the (indo( 77 all of us (ho #all on the 'ame of *esus, that is0 .he 5o$e is on our side0 /an 5aisley is on our side0 /t6s essential that (e, as the 1ody of Christ realise this, and begin truly identifying oursel3es (ith the (hole 1ody of Christ, e3en if it means being de$ri3ed of the false $rote#ti3e me#hanism (e had built against their #riti#ism0 .he only $rote#tion (e, as belie3ers, ha3e any business using is the armour of God0 And (e don6t e3en get to use all our (ea$ons to fight ba#&, be#ause they6re our brothers and sisters in Christ0 We #an only use our $rote#ti3e $arts of our armour, li&e our breast$late, belt, helmet and shield to fend off their arro(s0 /n this &ind of situation, (hen our o(n brothers and sisters in Christ ha3e allo(ed themsel3es to be#ome tools of "atan in laun#hing arro(s of slander and a##usation at us, Qsu$$li#ation for all the saintsQ is the only o$tion (e ha3e0 Anything (e #ould $ossible say other(ise, may be #onstrued as #ounter7a##usation, and may further (ound them instead of heal0 We don6t (ant that0 1ut than& God, $rayer is a $o(erful tool 77 $erha$s the most $o(erful (ea$on in our arsenal that (e63e mentioned so far0 With it, $eo$le (ith no armour at all ha3e sought God, and re#ei3ed, in ans(er to their $rayer: #ountless souls for the &ingdom of God, (hole re3i3al mo3ements, and e3en the $ie#es of armour that they la#&ed0 Women ha3e (on their unbelie3ing husbands to the <ord (ithout a single (ord 77 Eust $rayer 77 (hen anything they #ould ha3e said (ould ha3e only dri3en them e3en farther from the <ord0 8inally, 5aul said, Q5ray 000 for me000Q .here are some, (ho say that #ertain $arts of the 'e( .estament (ere only for the $eriod of the a$ostles0 At least they6re right about this 3erse, be#ause (e ob3iously #an6t $ray for 5aul no(C /f you (ant, ho(e3er, you #an $ray for me instead0 Also, the $eo$le (ho (ere so &ind as to $ublish @1

this boo& #ould use your $rayers0 What about your $astor, your #ell leader, others in your #hur#h, missionaries; >any others (ho are on the front lines #ould also use your $rayers in the same (ay the early belie3ers $rayed for 5aul0 After all, (e6re all in this together0 )))&<obby6harters&!o&u1

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