I have suffered UNKNOWINGLY under spirits of oppression MY ENTIRE ADULT LIFE AND I'M SICK OF IT!!! I had no idea about these spirits and I have always wondered why I didn't feel the freedom and joy I knew I should feel as a Christian. Why was I so consumed with depression, fear, worry...you know, all those things we are told not to feel??? What was making me feel so held down, held back, and blocked? Oppression!!! But no more. Oh heck no. I am so glad God showed me this because I was desperate for an answer and to overcome it.
Wondering how to overcome a Spirit of oppression? Well, that answer is found in the book of Ephesians. Chapter 6.
I am so thankful that God sees into our futures and prepares us ahead of time for what we are going to face. He knew I was going to face this, this morning. He knew what scripture I would need to have etched into my heart to battle this and he gave me HIS armor to do it!!!
Paul wrote this while imprisoned. Talk about oppression!!! And since he was literally bound during this time, I feel like he has some room to talk.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of HIS might. Put on the WHOLE armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of TRUTH, and having put on the breast plate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of PEACE. In all circumstances take up the shield of FAITH with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of SALVATION, and the sword of the SPIRIT which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep ALERT with all PERSEVERANCE, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth BOLDLY to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
God has given us the tools we need to come out and defeat ANY spirits in our lives that are oppressive. Not too long ago, the small group that I am in at church did a bible study by Priscilla Shirer called the Armor of God and ladies...I can't recommend this book and bible study highly enough (fellas, her dad Tony Evans has done one too called Victory in Spiritual Warfare). What I learned in that study was brought to the front of my mind this morning to be used to SQUASH the influence of the enemy in my life. NO MORE WILL I BE OPPRESSED BY THE FORCES OF DARKNESS!!! I am a daughter of the King of Kings and I'm going to live like I'm favored.
Let's talk about these pieces of armor.
This is based on the armor of the roman soldier.
- The belt of truth. This was not some piddly little belt y'all. This was a big utility type belt. This belt was very functional. This belt was used to secure the robes the soldiers wore so they didn't hinder them, their scabbard was attached to the belt, and the best was used as a support for the breastplate. That's what the truth of God's word does for us. But, first we have to decide that it is ABSOLUTE truth. No buts. We have to adopt a "thus saith the Lord" mind set. The Bible says it, I'm going to do it. We are supported by the truth. Living according to the word of God will keep us out of trouble, It keep us from tripping and falling over our robes. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tell us that we destroy arguments and every loft opinion raised against the knowledge of God and for us to take every thought captive to obey Christ. James 4:7 says for us to submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee from us. In order for these 2 things to happen though, we have to have the word etched on our hearts so we can apply it and stand on it. Reading the word of God isn't enough. We have to LIVE the word of God. In order to live the word of we must study the word. There's a very big difference between reading and studying. We have to look over a passage, see what the facts are, see if there is a command or example in it for us to follow, a promise for us to claim, or a sin we need to repent of. Unrepentant sin and disobedience robs us of our power. Then we have to apply it to our lives. I know this is sometimes easier said than done. We live in a fallen world. But we have to do our best and trust God for the rest. He told us his grace is sufficient and since we are speaking of the belt of truth, I chose to believe that his grace is sufficient.
- The breastplate of righteousness. This is beautiful guys. Did you know that we don't have to depend on our own righteousness here? Our righteousness is as filthy rags so thank goodness. Nope, if we are born again believers in Christ Jesus, we get to put on HIS righteousness!!! That's right y'all. We are RIGHTEOUS!!! Thank you Lord Jesus!!! The breastplate of the roman soldier went from shoulder to hip and around the sides. It protected all the vital organs from attack. It also rested on the soldier's belt. Our righteousness comes Jesus and rests on the truth of God's word. We are protected when we apply the truth of God's word in our lives!!! I can't stress enough y'all that it's not enough just to read your Bible. It was given to us for instruction, not a little light reading. That's the living word of God!!! Hebrews 4:12 says the word of God is living and active. We have to act on it.
- Shoes of the gospel of peace. This is where we are able to stand firm. The roman soldiers' sandals were designed to stand firm. They hand to walk in all kind of terrain, even loose rock and mud. They needed food wear that would allow them to have solid footing no matter what. They needed the peace of know they wouldn't slip and fall. The bottoms of a roman soldiers' sandals had hob nails screwed into them. Kind of like cleats. The gospel brings peace. We know that God is in control and if we are under the shed blood of Jesus, we know we are princes and princesses of the king of kings. Guys our kingly, heavenly father loves us SO MUCH and everything in this world is his. Why would he NOT bless us? I think alot of times this boils down to us not trusting God. I think it's us not trusting in his character and believing the lies the enemy whispers in our ears. Once again, we have to saturate our minds with the word of God.
- The shield of faith. Guys, make no mistake, if you're not under attack now, you will be. It's only a matter of time. Attacking Christians and keeping us oppressed is how the enemy gets his jollies!!! He loves to spread fear, deceit, and confusion. He loves it when we are wallowing, bound, and pressed down because then we are no good for kingdom work. We become useless. I have been there very recently. I took a step of faith scared to death but this morning I wet my shield. The roman soldiers would wet their shields so that when "night" arrows were fired, they would be extinguished right away and not set their shields on fire. Once we start to study and live according to the word of God, we have a wet shield to extinguish those fiery darts of the enemy but sometimes more than one shield is needed. Some we need to get into turtle formation. The shields of the roman soldiers were made to hook together and form a solid dome around the soldiers for protection. Imagine all those wet shields. Y'all we are not meant to go through this alone. We need mature Christians in our lives that have a working faith to be there for us and with us. We need them to pray with us. encourage us, and lift us up. We are meant to be there for one another so please don't let pride and satan talk you out of the blessing of going to a friend. Hook those shields together!!!
- The helmet of salvation. Think about this for a minute. Helmets are meant to protect our heads. There's sooooo much more to salvation than just being saved from hell. I mean don't get me wrong...I am soooooo relieved that I don't have to depend on my own righteousness to get into heaven because I didn't just miss the mark by a little honey, I missed it by a country mile; but were are joint heirs with Jesus. He protects our minds and gives us a peace that surpasses all understanding according to Philippians 4:7. There's a key here though...living by the word of God. I urge to search out all you are as a child of God. Seriously. Google it if you have to. I would tell you here but this is turning into a book.....
- And that brings us to the sword of the Spirit. That's the word of God. It's sharper than any two-edged sword. Able to cut bone from marrow. Or soul and spirit. We are naturally "soulful" people. Our soul is made up of our mind and emotions. We often do things based on feelings. We shouldn't do that. You know that saying "follow your heart"? Don't. Your heart (mind) is easily deceived. Instead follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. When we study the Bible and we have received the gift of salvation, the Holy Spirit will let you know when you are not living right!!! Always make sure you pray for God to give you His wisdom before you begin to read his word and don't just sit down and read and read. When we do that, God's voice becomes background music. Instead, we need to take just a few verses or a passage and break them down and really listen to what our precious Lord has to us. He wants to communicate with us. He wants to correct us but he's not the abusive father that most people think he is. He corrects us because he loves us. His word not only corrects us, but it protects us.