Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11
How many times do we ask ourselves in daily life “Do I have what it takes?” As much as we try or as hard as we work, we are still left “feeling” lacking sometimes. Some of this comes from our societal training. We are taught to strive for success and we are given pictures for what our successes “should” look like. If our success doesn’t look like the success of others, it is easy to think we have missed the mark. We abide in a comparison and confirmation driven society. We are constantly seeking validation from others. And, if we don’t get the recognition we need, it’s easy to assume we don’t have what it takes to succeed. The truth. however, is this way of thinking is nothing more than a death sentence for our personal success. In short, it is a trap that, if we buy into it, does nothing but set us up to fail. As Christians we know that we are “in” the world, not “of” it. But sometimes we forget what that looks like. It’s easy to forget that we put on the “Armor of God” already. Sometimes we need to reflect on that.
As with any trap set by the enemy, the devil himself, Jesus always provides a way out. The first thing the enemy does with a new believer is try to go after the knowledge of salvation. Once we are secure in our eternal destination and that nothing can derail that, Satan begins working from the head (Helmet of Salvation) down. The next stop on his agenda is to attack our understanding of righteousness as in the “Breastplate of righteousness“. Righteousness, simply put, means to allow God to put our steps in the right order through our relationship with the Holy Spirit. To “do the right thing” as a result of “walking with God”. Religion can get us twisted on this and we can be left believing that we are to “do all of the right things all of the time and if we don’t God will punish us” instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work of righteousness through us. Another confusing factor is the understanding of the word “holy”. Holy means to “be set apart”. A set apart life requires reliance upon Christ, and cooperation with Him, for Him to change our behaviors. Even when we know this for ourselves, outside pressures come from those who hold us to their understanding of religious righteousness. We have to stay secure in the fact that God is ordering our steps and He is not through with us yet. The purpose of any “breastplate” is to guard your heart.
To be successful at most anything, we need to stay mindful of our very own self talk and thinking. Steven Furtick refers to this as the “Chatter Box”. Joyce Meyer calls it the “Battle Field of the Mind”. It’s the conversations we have with ourselves that determine whether we walk in success. As well as our understanding of why we lack. When we ask ourselves if we “have what it takes”, we need to be ready with a response to shout back to (or silence) ourselves. Instead of asking ourselves that question, we need to be asking God to show us what His word says about our lack and how that pertains to success. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth on the topic of needing man’s approval in 2 Corinthians 3:1-5. He said, “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant-not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” In this passage Paul is pointing out that those around us are the “letter of recommendation” that proves our walk with Christ. (And that we are a virtual “letter of recommendation” for someone else’s life of sacrifice with the Lord). Not because of anything we have done. Not because of anything anyone has done for us. Not because of anything anyone else has said or not said about us. Not even what we say about ourselves or our abilities has the power to prove the existence of Christ or make us competent. Our training helps us understand and use our talents but this is not where our true confidence lies. We are competent because of the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us. Any genuine confidence we have at all comes as a natural result of putting Christ first in our lives. This is a foundation of truth with which without we can not build anything for Christ in the Kingdom. In short, we have to make sure our “Belt of Truth” in this area stays completely fastened. We are not doing the “building”. He is.
Later in the text, Paul teaches about the things that can not separate us from God. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 he writes “But we have this treasure (Jesus) in jars of clay (us) to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” When we allow God to use us, our lives, not our actions, testify to the power of God all by themselves. Do we need to “do” what the Lord is asking of us? Of course. Do we need to seek righteousness and apply it to our circumstances accordingly? Yes. Do we need to set an example for others to follow? Of course. But it is not our obedience that causes God to move visibly in our lives. It is our obedience that makes room for God to move in and through us. We must stay mindful to seek the Kingdom of God AND His righteousness first so that our weaknesses may be made strengths that He can use mightily. We have to be cognoscente of the fact that our weakness is, in fact, a testimony to the power of God in itself. His Spirit IS our strength. Does this mean we continue in our sin? Of course not. It means we must be vigilant about keeping the truth that, no matter what we are going through, no matter what we do, we “can not be separated from the love of God” somewhat forefront in our minds. This “Shield of Faith” is the very thing that protects us from the wiles of the enemy. Would the Lord provide a shield if He did not already know we are weak? The Lord equips us each with our own abilities. But it is the Lord’s ability to use the talents He gave us for His Glory in any given situation that the miracle always lies. It is the Holy Spirit’s spoken word that penetrates any circumstance that truly changes things. The knowledge that we have the “Sword of the Spirit” working with us is where we as a collective church are often lacking. The fact is that Christians are going to be attacked verbally by those who do not understand. We don’t need to add to that by being our own worst enemy and questioning our abilities or His. We need to trust Him. We need to let Him speak through and for us. And we need to take time to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying in our place of weakness.
The truth of the matter is that the Lord is a loving Father. He has given us what we need to succeed already. He has given us Himself. And He has given us the peace (Shalom, the knowledge that the Lord’s love for us is unshakable and unending) that prepares us for walking through just about anything. He has given us “Shoes prepared with the gospel (the peace that comes with the good news of Jesus Christ)”. So, if we are lacking in any area, it is merely an indicator of an area the Loving Father want us to bring to Him, place in His hands, and trust that His Holy Spirit will do the correcting. To answer the question “Do I have what it takes?” Yes. You do. You have God the Father, His son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit living on the inside of you. What more could you need?
Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?
If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:
"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay. I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"
If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can welcome you into the kingdom. We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.