by Gloria Copeland
Do you realize how close we are to the Lord’s return to this earth? The signs are all around us. Every day there are reports of wars, terrorism, natural disasters, famines and epidemics. The world today is just as Jesus described it in Matthew 24. And, as He warned, this is just the beginning!
But Jesus also said something else in that chapter-in verse 6, He said, “Don’t panic” (New Living Translation-96)! And in verse 14, as He sat down with His disciples, He told them: “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then, finally, the end will come.”
Glory to God! Before the end comes, every nation will have an opportunity to hear the good news that Jesus is Lord! And who are they going to hear it from? From you and me, that’s who! That’s the important part you and I play in God’s plan for these last days.
We’ll get the job done because we are personally committed to be part of His plan. We will be right in the middle of the battle. He has provided everything we will need to stand and give the world Jesus! We are His Body in this earth and He has us totally covered.
As we live our lives before others in these last days, they will take notice of us. They will ask us: “Why aren’t you panicking?” “Why aren’t you caving in to the circumstances?” “How do you do it?”
How Do We Do It?
Almost every day we see images from around the world of military personnel on the front lines in all kinds of situations. In the war zones, they are protected by body armor, trusting that their governments have given them the best equipment and tools to keep them safe from enemy attacks.
Just like those military personnel, we stand against an enemy-against the strategies of the devil-with God’s perfect equipment and tools protecting us.
So here’s our answer to those who watch us and ask their questions: We don’t panic, and we don’t cave in by the power of faith and love-our body armor!
In 1 Thessalonians 5, the Apostle Paul gives a clear picture to the Church as we prepare for the Lord’s return:
But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night…. But let us who live in the light think clearly, protected by the body armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation (verses 4-5, 8, NLT-96).
The Hebrew word for armor is a word that means “circle.” Armor makes a circle around us for protection. Faith and love, then, encircle us to protect us always from the tactics of the devil. They are the foundation of all we are as children of God.
A day came for each of us when we heard how much God loves us. And through faith we believed and received Jesus as our Savior, the fulfillment of God’s love. The salvation Jesus provides covers every area of our lives where the devil might be able to get a foothold. It covers our peace, our health, our prosperity and our relationships.
From the day we received the covering (the helmet) of our salvation, we began to grow and mature in faith and love. The more we learned from God’s Word about how much He loves us, the more we fell in love with Him and His Word. And the more we began to see that the devil has nothing in us or on us, we discovered he is powerless over our lives because of the faith and love that cover us as body armor!
Faith has never failed us, and neither has love. And they never will!
Rule #1 – Faith Always Works
Ken and I have walked by faith for many years now. We’ve lived by faith, have been healed by faith, have prospered by faith and our family has been blessed by faith.
We know that faith in God’s Word always works!
We have no place to go but to His Word to live our lives. We are totally dependent on it. It has seen us through more than 43 years of gospel ministry. It has raised our children and fulfilled God’s plan for each of their lives.
I believe these are monumental days on earth. Every day is dangerous and presents opportunities to overcome. Just like you and your family, the Copeland family has faced some pretty challenging days. But, our armor of faith has always been in place, it has always held fast and sure, and it has always protected us-no matter what the challenge. We are ready for whatever may come.
But that’s not because of anything we’ve done in ourselves. Jesus gave us His Name and the authority to overcome in every battle. We have the Word of God directing us, and keeping our thinking straight-increasing our faith. As we keep the Word in our eyes and in our ears, it tells us how to pray, how to act, how to respond, how to speak in every situation. We have the Spirit of God teaching us, guiding us into all truth, praying with us and empowering us. We really have no excuse not to face every situation with confidence!
Whatever happens in this world today or tomorrow doesn’t have to unsettle us, because we’re not of the world. The Apostle John said, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). That means, believing what the Word says-that Jesus is the Son of God (verse 5), and being armed with faith-is the victory that overcomes the world. That means depression, recession, war, famine-whatever you can think of-faith knows how to handle it all. Hallelujah!
So, we don’t have to face the days ahead in fear. We don’t have to panic! Because we live and walk in faith, we are not normal people. We are supernatural people, connected to the Lord Jesus Christ, to our heavenly Father and to the Holy Ghost, who made this world and to whom it all belongs! We are connected by faith, and faith always works!
Rule #2 -Faith Works by Love
Faith gets its strength and power from love!
God loves you! That’s probably the first word of God any of us heard that began to build faith in our hearts.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
We are not in this world without a savior. When we believed that God sent Jesus to save us and received Him, we were born again. Before that, we were like a disaster going someplace to happen. Now we minister to people in disasters and say, “We’re here for you! We’re here to let you know God loves you! We’re here to help you get in on His love!”
God loves us and He loves every person in this world. What a great privilege to be messengers of His love, telling men, women, children-people everywhere-that God loves them. We get to demonstrate His love, reaching out to them in their time of need-walking with them and sharing the truth of His Word with them.
God has commissioned us to be His love in action. But we’re not out here on our own-we have His Word to show us how we are to respond to situations, regardless of what they are or how intense they may appear. We have the Holy Spirit to give us direction and understanding as He guides us through those situations. And we have the Body of Christ-we have each other-to partner with, to join resources and to do so much more together than any one of us could do alone.
Love is the fuel of faith. Paul helps us understand this in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (New King James Version):
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails….
This is what the love of God looks like in His children. Love reaches beyond itself and right into the lives of others. Our love puts other people before us. This is who we are and how we live out God’s love by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It’s what activated faith looks like as it is fueled by love. This is how the body armor of faith and love works!
Rule #3 – Stay Covered!
We may soon be facing some pretty tough times in our nation and in the world. And Jesus says we’ll see worse. But we do not have to panic or worry, because we will be continually covered and protected during these times.
There is no end to our body armor. We cannot slip out from under its cover unless we remove ourselves. The key to staying covered is simple-the Word of God.
Faith is built in our hearts and increased by the Word of God. There is no other way to receive faith and keep it built into our lives except by the Word.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:8-17, NKJV).
We were all saved by faith in God’s Word. We live every day of our lives in faith by the Word, and will continue to do so until Jesus returns. Nothing can take the Word from us-not the devil; not religious traditions. All the devil can do is lie to us about the circumstances in our lives. And religious tradition can try to make us think we can get by without the Word of God-without our body armor of faith and love. But as we spend time with the Lord in His Word, neither the devil nor religious tradition can shake our faith or stifle our love.
We can face the days ahead knowing we have nothing to fear, and that the gospel of Jesus will be preached to every nation.
Nothing can remove your body armor of faith and love-God’s got you covered!
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