Author Topic: Spiritual Armor  (Read 9844 times)

Certain Hope

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Re: Spiritual Armor
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2007, 11:41:29 AM »
Bella,

That's a sad case indeed. I've been in that place where Scriptural wisdom and truth were nothing but a philosophy to me. I knew the words, but misunderstood and misapplied them. These principles were not a genuine spiritual reality in my life... because that only proceeds from a genuine heart change.

One flagrant example which comes to mind is the controlling husband who behaves as though he has free reign over his wife, because of the Biblical command that she must submit to him. Conveniently, he ignores the Lord's command that husbands must love their wives just as Christ loved the Church, giving up His life for her.

I absolutely agree with you about the need for believers to take responsibility for their choices. When I hear stories like this, I think - what happened to the girdle (belt) of truth? Then I think of the book of Proverbs, overflowing with wisdom for your future mother-in-law... for all of us. From what I've lived, I know that some folks are apparently addicted to suffering. I think that I was. The idea seems to be that as long as there's continued association with those who will happily "victimize" any willing participant, there is a ready excuse...
and plenty of "if onlys".

Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble... that's a given.
What helped wake me up is the rest of the story - "But take heart, I have overcome the world!"

Bella, your statement re: faith is so good...Thank you for that. It was just what I needed to hear this morning!
"He offered his believers the gift of Faith because faith is what enables a person to make the right decisions, even when it feels lonely and causes pain in the short term."

There's something I read in a commentary recently about the armor of God - specifically the footwear portion of it.

"The preparation of the Gospel may be as it were shoes to you: and it is very fitly called the Gospel of peace, because, seeing we have to go to God through most dangerous ranks of enemies, this may encourage us to go on bravely, in that you know by the doctrine of the Gospel, that we are travelling to God who is at peace with us."

And then this, re: the Shield -

"This is the shield, faith; that is to say, full and entire trust in God, the consciousness of grace and of His favour maintained in the heart. Here faith is not simply the reception of God's testimony (although it is founded on that testimony), but the present assurance of the heart with regard to that which God is for us, founded, as we have just said, on the testimony which He has given of Himself-trust in His love and in His faithfulness, as well as in His power. "If our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God." The work of the Spirit in us is to inspire this confidence. When it exists, all the attacks of the enemy, who seeks to make us believe that the goodness of God is not so sure-all his efforts to destroy or to weaken in our hearts this confidence in God and to hide Him from us, prove fruitless. His arrows fall to the ground without reaching us. We stand fast in the consciousness that God is for us: our communion is not interrupted. The fiery darts of the enemy are not the desires of the flesh, but spiritual attacks.

Thus we can hold up our heads: moral courage, the energy which goes forward, is maintained. Not that we have anything to boast of in ourselves, but the salvation and the deliverance of God are fresh in our minds. God has been for us; He is for us: who shall be against us? He was for us when we had no strength; it was salvation, when we could do nothing. This is our confidence-God Himself-not looking at ourselves. We have the helmet of salvation on our heads. The former parts of the armour give us freedom to enjoy the two latter."

(from Darby's commentary)

This helped to round out the entire picture for me... giving the basis for every move the believer makes in this life and the mind/heart-set from which to operate.

And one more thought -
where is the joy?
"Rejoice evermore" is just as much a command as is the directive to put on the full armor.

Again, thank you, Bella! God bless and keep you.




Bella_French

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Re: Spiritual Armor
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2007, 06:18:30 PM »
Thanks so much for writing Certain Hope, and for offering me some ideas about the situation I described (hugs to you!!). I really think you hit the nail on the head when you suggested that this often has to do with being addicted to suffering. When you put it like that, I can see how this could happen quite naturally, and also how difficult and frightenng it must be to break out of the cycle if its ingrained over many years.

One thing they never really say in the ` how to be a whole and strong person' type of self-help literature, is that breaking out of victimhood also means forgoing the flow of energy and attention that comes from others, because of their care and compassion for you. `Getting strong again' is a bit like being a bird being kicked out of the nest when it starts testing its wings. Suddenly you have to do it all on your own. The soft, cosy nest of attention and care from others due to your frailty is almost abruptly removed. I have occassionally thought that this is someting to do with the fact that a `strong' or `stronger' person is more threatening than a victim. People seem to feel safer around someone they perceive as vulnerable. But maybe its also that people with full lives of their own feel easily drained and have only so much energy to give. Again, I feel this is natural but it can be a harsh reality to face if you are the person who was safe in the cosy nest of care, and then suddenly have to live without it.

Thanks so much for giving me another perspective, Certain Hope. Your words actually make me feel a bit more postvie about the situation with my mother in law. hugs to you!






Certain Hope

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Re: Spiritual Armor
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2007, 09:52:23 PM »
Thanks so much for writing Certain Hope, and for offering me some ideas about the situation I described (hugs to you!!). I really think you hit the nail on the head when you suggested that this often has to do with being addicted to suffering. When you put it like that, I can see how this could happen quite naturally, and also how difficult and frightenng it must be to break out of the cycle if its ingrained over many years.

One thing they never really say in the ` how to be a whole and strong person' type of self-help literature, is that breaking out of victimhood also means forgoing the flow of energy and attention that comes from others, because of their care and compassion for you. `Getting strong again' is a bit like being a bird being kicked out of the nest when it starts testing its wings. Suddenly you have to do it all on your own. The soft, cosy nest of attention and care from others due to your frailty is almost abruptly removed. I have occassionally thought that this is someting to do with the fact that a `strong' or `stronger' person is more threatening than a victim. People seem to feel safer around someone they perceive as vulnerable. But maybe its also that people with full lives of their own feel easily drained and have only so much energy to give. Again, I feel this is natural but it can be a harsh reality to face if you are the person who was safe in the cosy nest of care, and then suddenly have to live without it.

Thanks so much for giving me another perspective, Certain Hope. Your words actually make me feel a bit more postvie about the situation with my mother in law. hugs to you!







Thanks so much for writing Certain Hope, and for offering me some ideas about the situation I described (hugs to you!!). I really think you hit the nail on the head when you suggested that this often has to do with being addicted to suffering. When you put it like that, I can see how this could happen quite naturally, and also how difficult and frightenng it must be to break out of the cycle if its ingrained over many years.

One thing they never really say in the ` how to be a whole and strong person' type of self-help literature, is that breaking out of victimhood also means forgoing the flow of energy and attention that comes from others, because of their care and compassion for you. `Getting strong again' is a bit like being a bird being kicked out of the nest when it starts testing its wings. Suddenly you have to do it all on your own. The soft, cosy nest of attention and care from others due to your frailty is almost abruptly removed. I have occassionally thought that this is someting to do with the fact that a `strong' or `stronger' person is more threatening than a victim. People seem to feel safer around someone they perceive as vulnerable. But maybe its also that people with full lives of their own feel easily drained and have only so much energy to give. Again, I feel this is natural but it can be a harsh reality to face if you are the person who was safe in the cosy nest of care, and then suddenly have to live without it.

Thanks so much for giving me another perspective, Certain Hope. Your words actually make me feel a bit more postvie about the situation with my mother in law. hugs to you!

Dear Bella,

I sat down to write a response to you and veered onto a completely different track.... and I'd like to try to put that into words. In trying to decide where to begin with my reply to you, I typed, "I'm glad to know that what I said helped you".

Well, you know how often people will say something just as a sort of stock phrase... or not say something because they don't want to "sound" this or that or the other way... ?
For most of my life, I'd get so caught up in all the various aspects of such non-dilemmas, that I'd wind up saying nothing at all. But when I typed that one sentence, I realized - I truly am glad... for you! And I'm glad for me, too... because it's becoming more clear to me that I'm no longer offering my thoughts and perspectives attached to a need to be understood, valued, or needed. When you've spent most of your life explaining and defending and "fixing", that's a monumental hurdle to leap. It seems that my sidetrack into codependency-education wasn't a sidetrack at all. My mother-in-law is the one who led me in that direction. She's what I lovingly refer to as a "peach".
Recently I told her of some of my endeavors and she wrote back with statements like, "You sound pleased! I'm pleased that you're pleased!!"
I read that and shook my head, mystified, but now - I think I get it!!
So - thank you for taking that little detour with me, Bella... and now, back to suffering.

I think of it as an addiction to "doing it (whatever 'it' is) the hard way"... as though somehow that makes "it" more pure, more holy, more... righteous.
That was my personal addiction.
My line of thought was something to the effect of... if it's difficult and painful, and I find it distasteful, then that must be God's will for my life.
It never occurred to me that it's possible to rest in the arms of the God who made me and loves me and wants nothing more than to be united to me for eternity, and let HIM be God, instead of me. That perspective certainly shines a different Light onto life in this troubled world!
And then, because I was such a loner, the energy and attention which reinforced my own vicious circle of suffering was not caring and compassion from others. I couldn't let any "others" in close enough to offer a hand, so...
it was all internal... because, to me, it was all about "doing the right thing".  Since I thought the "right" thing was naturally the "difficult" thing, I continued to feed my own sense of self-righteousness by swallowing these great gulps of evil and trying somehow to struggle through the muck, instead of speaking the truth in love and allowing the muck to be washed away. Too bad I didn't have a clue that the "right thing" didn't mean dying to self... that there was already one death which covered it all.

It's funny, Bella... that cozy nest you mentioned... well, I can see now that I  made my own. Each little twig and bit of fluff consisted of occasions where I did not confront something unacceptable... either in others or within myself.
I was my own victimizer and persecutor long before anyone else had an opportunity. Simultaneously, I held myself to my mother's standard of perfection, all the while refusing to hold anyone else (outwardly) to the same standard. Oh, I was bound and determined not to be like her. Hah!  Thank God He was gracious enough to show me that if I didn't receive Him, I'd end up more like her than she is... a caracature.

Well, I hope this all makes some sense. Reading through it, that X up at the top right corner beckons... just close the box and skip the whole thing.
But there's been more than enough of that for one lifetime.
Hugs back to you, Bella. Just feeling that I could burst and wishing that I could put into words the difference between dying to self and denying self... but I can't quite... yet. All I know is that the sort of suffering I've endured could only have been prevented by my own choice, earlier on, to obey God instead of trying to be Him.

With love,
Hope

Bella_French

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Re: Spiritual Armor
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2007, 02:48:18 AM »
Its nice to hear from you again Certain Hope!

Yes, the bible is difficult to interpret by nature, and no doubt everyone interpets its messages according to where they are at. Certain Hope, you can only do your best and its sounds that your best came from a good place in your heart, and that you were doing what you felt was right. And I can definately see where you would get the idea that suffering is `righteous' or even something that is `meant to be'. In fact, I think that in many ways you were right all along,  and that perhaps the only thing missing from the picture was knowing the right context to allow yourself to suffer. I feel that there is a difference between suffering because you are on the wrong path, and suffering because you're on the right one. In the latter scenario, your spirit should feel alive. In the former, it feels dead and the suffering is immeasurable.

X hugs Ceretain Hope. I'm enjoying hearing what you have to say:) Thakyou for sharing your thoughts with me.








Kacia

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Re: Spiritual Armor
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2007, 01:33:59 PM »
Hey,

I've been browsing through these boards--not really sure what brought me here, but I definitely recognized my mother.

There was something said earlier that struck a chord. Something about how the one woman who feels like she is constantly rolling over for her husband needs to stop putting so much stock into what he thinks. Amen. You can be happy now. You can, no matter where you are, no matter the situation. God intends for you to be happy now, in this life. Think of how many times the apostle Paul links suffering with rejoicing in his letters. I know this is possible.

I too, have struggled with the idea of leaving or not, in certain relationships, and I think back to Jesus who didin't abandon Judas, of all people. He was so confident in himself and his mission that Judas' actions could not control him--and you will note that Judas punished himself, eventually. You be happy, you do what you need to to keep yourself and/or your children safe, and everything else will fall away on its own.

I think the key is that we have to know, absolutely, who we are, and that we are doing God's will--even if we can't see very far down the road--we know that we are listening and following and he will guide. This isn't coming out very clear.

I have come to a place where it doesn't matter what any N says or does or thinks, I know that God loves me, and I do whatever that peaceful feeling leads me to do. My motto has become "God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." I repeat that to myself and my children constantly.

If you have to make a choice--WHEN you have to make that choice, day after day, incident after incident, you make that choice using the intelligence God has blessed you with, and then you take it to Him, and you say "this is the best choice I could come up with, what do you think?" He will either give you a peaceful feeling (go ahead) or a stupor of thought (bad choice) or nothing at all. In my experience, Nothing at all means "I trust you, do whatever you think is best" and as you go along that path you deemed best, either the peaceful feeling will come, confirming your decision was right, or you will be warned to change direction before anything bad happens. Just remember that fear does not come from God. Don't make choices based on Fear.

I don't know how much sense that made.

Kacia