Sola fide 5

We are exhorted to take the shield of faith in Ephesians 6:16, for it is only as we see ourselves in the Scriptures that we see ourselves at all.  Only when the world’s twisted, ungodly images of us are filtered or deflected do we begin to see ourselves as God sees us and live Christly lives.  The first four of God’s ten commandments can help us to do this, so long as we are looking at them through faith in Christ:

1.  Thou shalt have no other gods before me (v. 3) can help us to deal with the blinding light of Satan, outlined in 2 Cor 4:4.  As one thinks upon the 1st commandment and how Christ alone did fully keep it, one’s mind is protected from beholding other gods which will ultimately ruin our testimony, making shipwreck of our faith (1 Tim 1:19).

2.  Any likeness of any thing (v. 4) refers to that intimate connection between the eye and the mind, thus linking the 1st with the 2nd commandment.  Anything which could distract us from beholding more and more of God’s glory is to be put away or at least held at arm’s length, never to be embraced or coveted.  We are in the world (Jn 17:11) but not of the world (v. 14), a paradox that only the believer can understand.

3.  The tongue, the medium through which souls are saved (Rom 10:4) can be a source of great evil if abused (Ja 3:8).  In vain (Ex 20: 7) surely applies to unbelievers and believers alike, in that a loose or shallow use of God’s name is universally admonished.  The unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8) are such that they will never be exhausted, and so must render the thinking or uttering of His name to be undertaken thoughtfully, wondrously and humbly.

4.  Behind the mind, the eye, the tongue dwells the person.  Our whole walk is to be interrupted and checked, one day in seven.  We are to Remember (v. 8) God, so that our weekly approach to life will be regulated and submissive to His will.  Our bodies need rest that our souls be more alive.

The shield of faith, then, is the whole word of God which is turned to, opened up and meditated upon by the struggling yet joyful Christian soldier:

He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. (Pro 2:7)

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The mask

The mask that slowly we become

is shattered at conversion,

the sinful clay we used to love

is now to us coercion.

 

Meanwhile the world is still at work

to form its Babel version,

our roles are scripted day to day

to God there is aversion. 

 

The uniforms we tend to wear

are styled in Satan’s vision,

from wigs to hats to skirts to jeans

we mirror television. 

 

And yet God is longsuffering

so patient His decision,

your narrative needs saving faith

without it, there’s perdition.

Sola scriptura 5

It is remarkable that the Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days; more remarkable still that during that time he was incessantly tempted of the devil (Lk 4:2).  As with His baptism, the lesson of the three recorded temptations is of practical importance for all believers.

Firstly, the devil attacks our PRIORITIES.  Knowing that every word of God (v. 4) is indeed precious to the true believer, he instead endeavours to get us to ‘minor’ in the word of God and ‘major’ in the bread alone (v. 4), so that the things of this world become our main priority.  It is his desire for us to become fruitless believers, in a bid to stop God’s glory from manifesting through our lives.

Secondly, he attacks our fundamental PURPOSE.  Under the guise of outwardly respectable, perhaps prestigious yet ultimately time-sapping worldly opportunities, the devil will promise us all this power (v. 6) so long as we become progressively cooler towards the deep things of God, eg. Bible study, prayer, fellowship, meditation.

Thirdly, he attacks our PERSEVERANCE.  The third temptation is the only one of the three in which he quotes Scripture.  Yet he twists things in such a way that the duty of zealous, heartfelt perseverance in Christ gets transmogrified into a lukewarm wallowing in God’s preservation of us, as we presume upon Him to keep us (v. 10) as we aim to do nothing in particular for Him.

Our true and proper resting, though, should be upon sola scriptura, as seen in the way in which a (humanly speaking) drained Jesus Christ stolidly recites three verses from Deuteronomy.  Our blessedness and usefulness in God’s kingdom will abound as we consciously seek to live more and more by every word of God (v. 4), resisting the temptation to cherry-pick.

The Stronger

Satan, man’s greatest opponent

Satan, sin’s primal exponent,

was defeated at the Cross

as promised – bruised; eternal loss.

 

Satan, scripturally well versed

our ancient foe, tempting, rehearsed,

yet not a match for Christians true

a pied piper of rats, untrue.

 

Satan, leading souls astray

most fears the soul which starts to pray,

the rest like pigs within his palace

blindly snort at Bible’s arras.

 

Satan, mocker of the Christ

did tempt Him thrice but realised,

that through the cost of Calvary

the Stronger purchased victory.