Action and adventure moves are some of my favorites. In watching these movies, I always wonder how the leaders of the Mob or Cartel got all the power and control. How do they get followers, and so many of them? Is it all threat, is it love with threats… I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. So, I started thinking about my life and what I give in to and how do I fall into it?
It starts with small things here and there. I think about food all the time, so my mind went there. It’s just a bite of cookie, and then it’s only half, and before I know, it is like 5 cookies. Sometimes I fall into is negativity and complaining. If I’m talking to someone who is unhappy about something I empathize with – I join right in instead of looking on the bright side, even though I know better. So, what about the bigger things we might fall into like lies, cheating, stealing, unkindness, gossip… It’s not wholly the act of doing wrong it’s also the guilt and fear we carry after we do something we aren’t proud of.
And then it dawned on me, that’s how the Mob gets their people to submit to them and continue to follow. They take advantage of the guilt and fear, trapping them in it, so they feel like there is no other way out. Now that I think about it, we have a mob boss too, a potent and supernatural one, It’s Satan. He starts us off small by poking us to act selfishly and to do little things against our values. Convincing us that “it’s not that bad” or that “we deserve it.” Before long we realize we’ve done a lot wrong and want to set it right, but Satan threatens us by reminding us of all our mistakes. He fills us with fear…the fear of being found out, fear of failure, of not being loved – mental threats that keep us on a dark path. He knows fear is the absence of faith, so he has us right where he wants us and the hope of freedom fades away.
Using the Broken
Nothing we can do is wrong enough not to be forgiven and be used. The paths I’ve chosen in my life have left me broken and disappointed, but, God kept pursuing me, never quitting and now I’ve discovered the freedom from my guilt within His grace. It’s taken years, and Satan still tries to remind me of my wrongs, but it doesn’t work, because I know through my brokenness, God will use me to do great things.
It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or where we’ve been, God will use us. Look at the bible for proof. Abraham, he was old. Elijah was suicidal. Joseph was abused. Moses had a speech problem. Gideon was afraid and small. Samson was a womanizer. Rahab was a prostitute. The Samaritan woman was divorced. Noah was a drunk. Jacob was a cheater, David, a murderer. Jonah ran from God. Peter denied Jesus three times. Martha worried… Listen, no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done – God will use you to Shephard others. He works everything out for those who love him.
Side note – this doesn’t mean that you’ll never have troubles, because you will, and turning to go the way God wants you to go, will sometimes be hard, painful, cause tears, lost friendships… but the freedom and the way he will use you to change lives… That’s the ultimate joy.
If you ever feel like you’re not enough, remember, God has used many flawed people to share hope and love to this imperfect world, and He wants to use you too!
Preventing the Attacks
We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, we battle against Satan and sin. The unseen but strongly felt enemy. We are, however, soldiers of Christ. Ephesians 6 lays out for us what we need to arm ourselves from the ‘spiritual hosts of wickedness.’
The belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14): As a fitness person, your core is one of the most critical parts of your body to have security in all that you do, plus, with a strong core you can prevent injury. The Belt of truth is the first piece Paul says we should put on. As a soldier when into battle, his secured belt would be a sign he was ready for action.
Truth should surround us with a belt. Satan fills our minds with lies and fear always and, the only way to defeat his deceptions is by being entirely truthful with ourselves about who God says we are. We can only overcome the lies from Satan with the truth from God.
The Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14): The breastplate protects our hearts, without it we are easy targets for Satan’s attacks. To be righteous, we need to repent and be forgiven of our sins and then turn and do what is right in God’s eyes. He uses us and forgives us all – but we must continue to turn to him for forgiveness and grace – this is what will protect our hearts – our truth, honesty, humility, and trust in God’s grace.
The Shoes of Peace (Ephesians 6:15): Shoes may not seem that exciting, but if you’ve ever gone for a long walk, run, or hike with poorly fitting shoes – you know how important a good pair of shoes are. We should be prepared and eager to preach the good news of peace to others. This is our mission, our marching orders to teach and serve others as our firm foundation.
The Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16): Paul says, “above all” take the shield of faith. When our faith in God’s love and power is active, it’s impossible for Satan to break through our shield. Paul states that Satan is shooting fiery darts at us, and without the knowledge and faith that not only God exists but that He is for our good, we can’t block those darts with the shield.
The helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17): Our minds can often be discouraged and at times seems like it’s under constant attack. But, by putting on the helmet of salvation, we will be able to keep our minds set on the hope and comfort that is found in our freedom and forgiveness because of Jesus’ sacrifice to save us.
The Sword of the Spirit – Our Only Offensive Weapon (Ephesians 6:17): Remember how Jesus used the Word of God to defeat Satan? We should too. Hebrews 4:12 says that the word of God is stronger than any two edge sword able to pierce through soul and spirit, joint and marrow… This Sword of the Spirit will help us conquer real enemies like a Roman soldier, but it can also help us defeat the more difficult enemy – our own sinful weaknesses. We need to sharpen our sword daily to be ready for the attacks that are to come – so Get in the word and be prepared.
When we put on the full armor of God we are ready for the attacks that come before us like pride, jealousy, lust, discouragement, doubt, fear… and through prayer, our armor will be stronger and more resilient. We are at war, continuously. We need to be on guard and aware of the spiritual ‘Mob Boss’ attacks – so put on every piece of the Holy Armor of God and don’t fall victim to the cycle of being ruled by Satan, Instead be lead by our faithful and loving leader – God.