Day 19 – Cardio Training

Now we are going to engage in the verses that prepare us for our mission o One More, for our ministry of Encouragement. Our next section in the Disciple’s Heart primer is Getting Dressed based on the verses in Ephesians 6:12-18.

Scripture Reading

Ephesians 6:10-12 (MSG)
10 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. 11 So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. 12 This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

We will be digging into these verses together over the next several weeks. These verses talk about the armor of God and being prepared for the spiritual battle that we are all facing.

1.) We are engaged in a spiritual battle

Ephesians 6:10-12 (NIV)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

As we go into battle, we do not need to be afraid for God himself is with us. I think some people might have trouble with the whole warfare, battle illustration and yet it is something that we have throughout the Bible. The only thing more horrible than war is passiveness in the face of evil. Standing by while the enemy leads countless numbers of people to destruction is not an option for a follower of Jesus. As His disciples we are to get engaged in the battle that is raging on around us.

2.) We are a part of a spiritual special forces unit

In the following verses, the Apostle Paul refers to the people He ministers with as fellow soldiers:

Philippians 2:25 (NIV)
25 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs.

Philemon 1:2 (NIV)
2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home:

We are not only on the front lines, we are behind enemy lines, letting a discouraged world know that God loves them and is for them!

3.) We have the best possible equipment for the battle

Ephesians 6:13-18 (NIV)
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

We will be looking into this awesome equipment in the weeks ahead.

Scripture Reading

Matthew 16:13-17 (MSG)
13 When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” 15 He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am.

Ephesians 6:12-13 (NIV)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

The Battle is On

I believe that the evil one uses a very clever trick to promote evil. The trick is distraction. The evil one wants to distract people from the truth. When he does, evil flourishes. How does he do it? By keeping people more fixed on the natural than the supernatural, on the physical more than the spiritual, on the things of men rather than on the things of God.

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. It is so easy for us to get distracted into putting the things of men first, rather than the things of God. Focusing on the temporary instead of the eternal. The starting point for standing up to evil is knowing the answer to the following question.

1) Who do you say that Jesus is?

When I was in the tenth grade I had an English Lit teacher who on the day before a test, would stand in front of the class, read every question word for word from the test and give the answer. While she was doing this, you were allowed to and actually encouraged to take notes. You could write down every question and answer as she read them so you could prepare for the test the next day. Easiest tests I ever took. Everyone should get a 100 right? A rather large percentage of the class would either fail or do poorly on the tests. I used to think they were just really stupid. Looking back, I can see that it wasn’t a matter of intelligence, they were just distracted. They weren’t living for a bigger picture, they were consumed with what they thought was most important (themselves, their love lives, partying, etc., certainly not school). The answer to the most important question you will ever answer in life is given to us by Peter who had it revealed to him directly from God.

Matthew 16:13-18 (NIV)
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

The answer to the question of who Jesus is, is:

Jesus is the Christ (messiah, anointed one), the Son of the living God.

This rock, (knowing the answer to the question) will determine how you live now and forever. It is the foundation of a life in Christ and allows us to stand up to evil (the gates of Hades will not overcome it). It reminds us of what is really important, of what really matters, that it is all about Jesus. With the answer in mind we need to move to point number 2…

2) Don’t get distracted

Look how easy it is to get distracted. In the very next recorded conversation between Jesus and the disciples watch what happens to Peter.

Matthew 16:21-26 (NIV)
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

What was the distraction that the enemy used to get Peter? He got focused on the things of men rather than the things of God! Jesus makes it clear that our focus needs to be on the things of God to experience real life…”whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”

3) How the enemy distracts you

The evil one uses the same tricks to distract you as he did with Peter. He tries to tempt you to get focused on the things of man rather than the things of God. To be more concerned about the temporal than the eternal.

1 John 2:16 (NIV)
16 For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.

The enemy uses the same three tricks to distract you over and over again.

The lust of the flesh

If it feels good do it

The lust of the eyes

You need it, you deserve it, and life will not be complete without it

The pride of life

How the enemy most likely distracted Peter, I got the answer right, revelation from God, I am the greatest disciple, now let me counsel Jesus on how things are going to be

Remember the answer to the question and live your life as a reflection of who Jesus is.

Back to Top