Gratitude is an art I am trying to learn. Disappointments and setbacks, such as occurred yesterday, when I discovered my return to work would have to be delayed yet again, happen frequently. Life isn't always easy, but finding the positives in any situation helps.
Thankfulness and praise are both actually weapons of spiritual warfare. They bring us near to God, our Father, and then he often fights our battles for us. On more than one occasion, the Israelites marched into battle with singers who were praising the name of the one, true God. There were some pretty miraculous victories in the Bible, when they were vastly outnumbered with more primitive weaponry and they still defeated their enemies. Sometimes God intervened so they didn't even have to fight at all. This happened at the Red Sea and again when Hezekiah was King, as well as on other occasions.
Our battles today are different. We are not fighting physical enemies, as our battle is not against flesh and blood, but we are fighting against the spiritual enemies of our souls. Sometimes we battle our own flesh when we are faced with a tempting situation. At other times we are fighting demonic powers who are determined to undermine our faith and trust in God. We may unfortunately at times have people who are our enemies as well, but Jesus makes it clear we are to love them and pray for them. Prayer is another weapon against evil.
When we put on the armour of God, we must not forget the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, shoes fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, shield of faith, and belt of truth are all defensive weapons. But the Sword of the Spirit is an offensive weapon and with it we can fight against injustice, unrighteousness, poverty, and division amongst God's people and the world. That is, if we are doers of the Word, and not hearers only, and we have built our lives on the solid foundation of obedience to Christ's commands.
Other items we cannot forget to put on are the robe of righteousness and the clothes of love. My personal favourite is the cap of peace, although I cannot find a scriptural reference for that. The thoughts we entertain in our minds are so crucial to our mental health and spiritual well-being, so I think of that cap as my filter for the negative thoughts and worries that often bombard me as well as the messages I receive from the media and entertainment industry.
|Me at my baptism as a believer quite a few years ago.|
Gratitude, prayerfulness, watchfulness, and readiness for trials, sufferings, and battles, are all things that can be developed over time as we mature in the faith. Healthy habits with our minds, bodies, spirits, and souls will gradually change us into people who are more like Christ, if that is what we are truly seeking. When we are more Christlike, we also will be more uniquely ourselves. We are created to be God's masterpiece and though the picture has been marred, the beauty is still there!
|Grateful for my family! This is a picture from my birthday celebration this year.|