Weapons of Righteousness
In 2 days and 17 hours, we will be stepping foot on a plane and leaving this land that I love for one I’ve never been to. We won’t return for 3 years. Even now, in the comforts of home and the ease of a stress free schedule, I feel the battle intensifying. We’ve given away most of our earthly possessions for the single most valuable Possession in existence. We have in our possession the most priceless treasure and the most powerful force. We hold tightly with our hearts to the treasure of Salvation…to Jesus…and we prepare to open eyes and set captives free with and through our King. This treasure we guard carefully cannot be stolen from us, but our enemy wants to do what he can to stop us from living surrendered to the King and from sharing this treasure with those that are in bondage to him. Yes, it’s a battle and preparing for the time we’ll spend on the front lines of warfare have proved to be a battle themselves.
In this war, we walk around dead in order to live fully alive. We take the teachings of Jesus serious. Obedience is a joy because of the hope that anchors our soul and keeps our eyes fixed on the author and finisher of our faith. Loving Jesus and making much of Him is worth this battle.
“Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” -Mark 8:34-37
Jesus said to give up our life for true and everlasting life – for Life Himself – and so we have. This week has been hard, very hard. We’ve battled sickness, sleepless nights with children, discouragement, guilt, fear, sorrow, and separation anxiety from those we love.
Yesterday morning, as our nation was beginning the celebration of the land of the free, I sat down with God’s Word in order to hear from the One who brings true freedom. I had a crying baby making it nearly impossible to sit and I had 11 year old memories of burying my mother after her late June death on my mind. Although distracted, I was continually drawn back to read the scripture that not only inspires the theme of this blog, but has become the theme of my life – joyful sorrow! Joyful sorrow was inspired by Paul’s writings in 2 Corinthians….
“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” – 2 Corinthians 6:4-10
I usually zero in on verse 10 about being sorrowful yet always rejoicing, but yesterday morning I saw something new. I saw verse 7…
“in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;” -2 Corinthians 6:7 NIV
“By [speaking] the word of truth, in the power of God, with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand [to attack] and for the left hand [to defend]” -2 Corinthians 6:7 AMP
God’s Word proved active and alive and to be the transformative phenomenon that it is. My life seemed chaotic and the battle wounds left by the enemy’s lies that are being shot at me from every direction suddenly seemed small in comparison to the weapon of righteousness that He has given me. As my heart hung on for dear life and fought hard to spend time with the King, He took what seemed to be barely beating and shocked it back to life – His Word resurrected my heart and reminded me to focus. The Bible, a weapon of righteousness, always wins and always redirects my perspective to a Heavenly one. God has given me both defensive and offensive weapons and His righteousness works through me to help me overcome every type of conflict. Like Paul instructed Timothy, his dear son in the faith, to be a good soldier for Christ, so am I encouraged to move forward as a soldier of righteousness who is both empowered and equipped by the Lord.
“Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:3
“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12 AMP
“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”-2 Timothy 3:16, 17 AMP
With a deep sigh and still chaotic circumstances all around me, the power of the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to understand the resurrection words found in 2 Corinthians 6:7. My truthful speech – saying what I know to be true of the character of God and of who I am as His child (even if I don’t feel like it) – battles every lie and situation that tries to keep my feet on American soil. The Truth in scripture is my weapon and each time I use it to battle my own selfish desires and the father of all lies who tempts me to not trust God, I win….God wins….the Kingdom wins. God is always good and always trustworthy! He fights for us and equips us to follow Him completely!
So as I continue walking in this battle that tempts me to stay, I fight hard with my weapons of righteousness that are etched on my heart and held in my hands. I speak Truth to myself and others through the power of God whether I feel like it or not because I know the Truth will transform my heart. With sold out hearts and crucified flesh, we joyfully endure on this race that He has set before us because we know that the hope we have in Him will not disappoint!
“Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. ” -Romans 5:3, 4 AMP