Small Groups Ministries at LNC

All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training

 

in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
 
2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

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Bible Study Groups

Mid-Week Devotional

Learning to Handle the Shield

 

I was anxious.  I was dealing with some distressing thoughts.  And, every time I started to be overwhelmed by those thoughts, the Holy Spirit countered them with His own.  He invaded my gloom with phrases based on Scripture. 

One of those Spirit inspired thoughts was a line from Matthew 6:32, “Your heavenly Father knows what you need” (my paraphrase).  Of course the actual wording in the Bible is a little different.  But, those words kept coming to my rescue.  They were always there when I needed them, almost like a song stuck in my head.  The Holy Spirit often talks to me that way.  And, when He does it helps me to lift the shield of faith once again.

Ephesians 6:16 says “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (ESV).  I wish I was better at handling the shield of faith.  I wish I naturally walked through each and every situation without having to battle the dread that so often comes into my mind.  I think, “What if this or that happens?  What will I do?  How will I handle it?”  Do you see the flaw there?  Read my questions again.  Look closely.  When I ask what I will do, or how I will handle something, my emphasis is wrong.  I’m putting the weight on myself and my earthly circumstances.  Instead, the emphasis should be on God and His kingdom.  I should be thinking something like, “Father, this might get rough, but, I know you’ve got this.  You will carry me through!  Help me to focus on you and your kingdom.  Help me to be faithful.”  Rather than trying to work it all out for myself, I need to put my hand in God’s hand and walk with Him.

Thankfully, God coaches me through those issues.  The Holy Spirit used that phrase from Matthew 6:32 to correct my thinking.  Later, I looked it up.  I read all of Matthew 6 several times.  In particular Matthew 6:25 through 34 spoke to my issue.  I won’t reprint that entire passage here.  But look at how it begins and ends.  Matthew 6:25 says: 

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing (Matthew 6:25, ESV)?

 

And, Matthew 6:32b-34 concludes:

…your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (ESV).

 

It’s more humbling than I like to admit when the Holy Spirit reminds me of such basic things.  Yet, it’s comforting that He does.  Here’s the bottom line.  God loves us and He takes care of us.  He might not spoil us with earthly overabundance.  But, He will certainly get us through to His heavenly abundance.  If we let that truth take root in our hearts, we can be like the Apostle Peter who’s faith enabled him to sleep soundly between two guards while facing possible execution (see Acts 12:6).  We should grow to be like the Apostle Paul who was able to say:

 

…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11b–13, ESV).

 

By the grace of God, I want to be able to say that too.  I want to be better at handling the shield of faith!

 

Dean Claus

NDI Director, Longmont Nazarene Church

-Sunday morning Adult & Teen classes at 9:00 am

-Thursday Prayer time at 6:30 pm