Colossians is from Paul written to the saints and faithful in Christ at Colosse (and through Christ us). The chapter begins by Paul stating that they (him and Timotheus) pray and give thanks for the saints and their faith in Christ.

            Paul states that he has heard of the faith known in this church, he had also heard that these were saints who had a heart and compassion for other saints. They were known for their love in the Spirit. How do others see us? Do they see God’s compassion and mercy in us? Do they see love for humanity in us? We need to be mindful of how we come off to others, but we also need to be mindful of our hearts. Do we love others like we should? Do we care for others like we should? Have we grown selfish and self centered or do we show love when others see us by our actions? Ask God to help you address matters of the heart, see if anything like this needs to be addressed and replaced with His love, grace and mercy. When others see the body of Christ, they should see people who love others, who show compassion and mercy to all. Traits that go opposite of this would be slandering, mocking or gossiping. This is something the body of Christ gets tempted with; gossip and slander. I have often been asked, how can you tell if its gossip verses just having a conversation? The answer I was told years back that still seems accurate today is: if you aren’t apart of the solution then you have no right to be talking about whatever the conversation is. If you are apart of the solution but the person you are sharing the story with isn’t, then that is gossiping. Regardless of if we are involved in helping the solution or not, we should never, ever slander, mock or make fun of anyone. Regardless if that person is doing evil things or not, they are still a creation made by Christ; pray for them to receive the Holy Spirit and not be prey to the evil spirit working in them making them do those evil things. We need to have compassion for ALL of Gods creations, no matter how evil their actions may be. (Dislike the sin but love the sinner.)

            We as the body today, need to learn from where the body of christ was in the New Testament; what they looked like and how they imaged Christ and things they needed to work on. Paul said that he prays for the saints (us) to be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding so that we might walk worthy of the Lord, being fruitful in every good work; increasing in the knowledge of God. We need to always remain teachable, humbled and ready to learn and constantly growing and transforming in Christ. We should never get to the point to where we think we know it all, or anywhere close to that. We should be in a place that the more we learn, the less we really know.

            We need patience and we need to be patient with joy. The other day I was at an appointment and I was in the waiting room for an hour and a half before being seen. I was waiting patiently, I wasn’t complaining to the staff like the gal sitting next to me, however I wasn’t filled with joy. I started in joy and after 15 minutes of waiting it began to fade. After about 40 minutes of waiting I started to, for a moment, get annoyed. Then God convicted me and showed me that instead of falling into impatience and annoyance I should be praising Him that I have time now carved out in the busy day to pray, worship and commune with Him. My attitude was wrong, but because I was open to being renewed in my thought God showed me how I should have been viewing this situation. I had an hour and a half carved out of a busy day to sit and praise Him, talk with Him internally and just fellowship with Him without interruption and I almost waisted the whole time by losing patience and joy in the patience. Seeing how the church at Colosse was known by, shows us how we should appear to others and how our mindset needs to be renewed in Christ, in His constant knowledge and wisdom. We don’t seek after that, we simply seek Him. Seek first the kingdom of God and all things will be added. When we stop seeking Him is when we lose the patience, the joy in patience and we miss out on Knowing Him more and receiving His knowledge and wisdom that we can’t gain from the world.

            The body of Christ is entering a new season of learning that starts by evaluating our hearts, seeing where we are with Christ and where we need to be. The first half of this chapter really gives perspective on where we need to be, and the things that can prevent us from being there. I encourage everyone to go to God this week and ask Him, how is your heart? What needs to be addressed. Repent and allow Him to purify you, making you more in His image and closer to Him; resembling His Love to all who see you.

            Why do we need to understand, know and USE the armor of God? Ephesians tells us that we do not fight battles of flesh and blood; we fight battles against principalities in the spirit. Anytime God is doing something good (which is all the time) evil will try to come against it. Now more than ever, the church needs to put on their armor; we are in the beginning of the last great awakening, the biggest revival I believe the world will ever see. This revival isn’t going to be temporary thing, its going to be a habitation of revival and the enemy doesn’t like that. Dark forces are trying to come against all of this, for that reason we need to be education on how to use the our armor in Christ so that we can stand in victory we are are seated. When a follower doesn’t know this subject, they operate beneath their authority and can become trampled on. We are seated in heavenly places the moment we get born again and if we choose to we can operate from that position with authority. To do this, one needs to first know that they have authority in Christ, and they need to know how to use it. Ephesians chapter six teaches us this and we are going to dive deeper in it now.

            1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us to be well balanced and always alert, because the enemy roams around like a lion look for its prey to devour. Some bibles translate this to looking at whom he may devour. Whom or looking for his prey both means that he can’t simply devour anyone he chooses. When we surrender to God we become His, when we follow Him we walk in His grace and protection and His armor! Notice I said when we follow Him, not when we believe. What I mean by this is, reading the word of God, beleiving and doing nothing with it doesn’t keep us in Him. To be in Christ, to stay in Him, to dwell in Him and to walk in His armor we need to do more than just believe in Him, we need to follow Him. Following Him means we surrender to Him and not just read the Bible but live it. There is a big difference between reading the word of God and living it. For example, one who lives Ephesians chapter six walks with the armor of God on and stands in the authority given to him by Christ. One who reads it but doesn’t live it, well they are like prey that the lion is looking to devour. I’m not saying this to frighten you, I want you to awaken you sleeping bride, awaken and take your place in Christ, put on His armor and stand in the authority that Christ has commissioned to you.

            So, how do we do this? First, we apply the word to our lives and do more than merely acknowledge it. We prepare for battle and deliverance by defining our strength. Our strength is found in the Lord, to be strong in the Lord one needs to know who they are in Christ, their identity. This is why the book of Ephesians tells us that we are predestined, chosen by God to know Him and by His. We are taught on our identity because we have to know who we are in Christ to effecitively be strong in the Lord and wear His armor. If you are unsure about this topic, refer back to our recent bible studies on the book of Ephesians. You can’t read that book and not know who you are in Christ if you allow the Holy Spirit to teach you and guide you in it. Luke 10:19 declares that God gives us the power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you. You in Christ are unstoppable because Christ within you is soveriegn and nothing can overcome Him.

            So, the armor of God; the first five pieces of armor have a defensive purpose in battle, while the remaining two pieces are used in offensive action. Defensive armor protects the vital organs. However, all of the pieces of armor need to be used.

            First, we gird up the loins with truth; your loins deal with your mind. 1 Peter 1:13 says that we gird up the loins of our mind. Meaning, we fill our mind with the word. We keep our minds on Christ and His word and we meditate on His word. To know God we have to know His word, He communicates with us through His word; if we don’t know His word than we don’t know Him. So, we stay in His word, the more we know Him the more we are protected in Him in His word by His truth.

            Second, we have the breastplate of righteousness. This covers the vital organs and speaks of the heart; when we surrender to God and we spend time with Him and allow Him to prune us, to transform us, this happens through the heart. The more He renews our hearts the more we are in His righteousness and we reflect Him; the more we being to look like His image, our original form of creation. To transform one has to have revelations from God, this cuts to ones heart and allows them to be renewed in that area through Christ. We are righteous in Christ and the more we allow Him to transform us the more we reflect His righteousness because the more we allow Him to shine through us. One has to be surrendered to God, following Him not just believing Him for this transformation to take place.

            Third, the feet are shot with the preparation of the gospel of peace. For one to walk in peace, in Gods peace; one has to have the heart change from God. The more time you spend with God, the more time you absorb His word the more your heart with change, the more righteous in Him you will be and the more your actions with reflect His peace. One can’t walk in Godly peace without first surrendering Him and knowing Him. Are you catching a common theme here? Its not about religion, or traditions, or “steps” its about knowing Him, personally and intimately in a relationship. TO APPLY THE ARMOR OF GOD YOU NEED TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. You can’t do it on your own merit. These battles and warfare are of the spirit, you can’t in the flesh do this without God, you need Him and your soul needs to KNOW Him not just know about Him.

            Fourth, the shield of faith. Faith in Christ and His word is needed. You can’t doubt Him or who you are in Him, you need revelation in this to have faith. Ask God to give you deep Knowing and revelation on this if you are in doubt or lack of faith. Faith joined with the Word in your mind and heart will allow you to quench the fiery darts from the evil one. With faith and the Word of God you can render the fiery darts ineffective.

            Fifth, the helmet of salvation. This deals with your nature, your character, your doctrine. When you know who you are in Christ, you know His word and you know Him and are able to discern things then you won’t be taken by false preaching. You will have humbled yourself to receive Godly wisdom and knowledge needed to protect your mind, your heart and your soul from things you should be engaged in. You will be able to shield yourself and protect yourself from traps that can lure the lost because you will have the spiritual knowing needed to stay who you are in Christ Jesus. The application of Gods word makes you balanced and well guarded.

            Sixth, the sword of the Spirit. This is the first line of offense, all the others have been for your protection in defense. The sword of Spirit is the Word of God specifically. All other areas have needed you to be in the word of God and to know more of it, but the sword is the word specifically. The word of God is an offensive weapon against the enemy. Picture this; when you speak the word of God a white beam comes out of your mouth in the spirit and pierces the darkness thus pushing it away by exposing the darkness and filling the area with His light. Jesus refused satan’s tempting in Matthew by saying, “It is written,” and quoting scripture. We need to follow His lead, we sew seeds of life into the situation by speaking Gods word into the area we are battling. Find scripture in the area you are feeling attacked in and speak it into life.

            Seventh, prayer and supplication. We should always be praying, praying is the act of talking with God. Notice I said talking with God, not at Him. We often times make the mistakes of talking at Him rather than allowing Him the time and attention to actually talk with Him. Talk to Him and give Him the time to respond, expect a response. Many christians today don’t expect God to respond, they don’t give Him the time or attention to respond, they merely talk at Him and expect Him to bless whatever it is that they choose to do. We need to stop this. We need to surrender to Him. Give Him the time that He so rightfully deserves, talk with Him and expect a response because He wants to talk with us. He wants that closeness and intimacy with us. He wants us to approach Him with childlike faith. If you take a child on a road trip they will ask a thousand questions on the way to your destination. Why is it that we can’t ask our Abba Father questions expecting answers like children? Surrender to Him. Get to know Him more. Talk with Him not at Him. Give Him time to respond and stay in His presence. Stay in His word. Stay in Him.

            (I’m so sorry for the delay, I was out of state the last two weeks. I’m just now realizing that I never sent the email with the Bible studies while I was out of town. We will do Ephesians Chapter 5 now and on Sunday, the 18th we will continue on Ephesians chapter 6. So sorry for the delay and confusion.)

            This chapter begins by Paul telling us that we need to be imitators of God. To be a christian means to be like Christ. Therefore, we need to always be mindful of what does God want us to do, and is everything that we are saying and doing bringing Him glory? All that we do should be something He would be proud of, we shouldn’t waste our moments on things that wouldn’t make God proud of us. If God wouldn’t do or say something, we shouldn’t either.

            How does one achieve this? By seeking God out, that simple. The more we seek Him and get to know Him the more He will transform us to who He created us to be and the more our actions will reflect Him and His goodness. To stay spiritually sharp and close to Him we need to stay in His word.

            We shouldn’t be involved with sexual immorality or any type of obscene and vulgar joking. If you can’t imagine God telling a certain joke, then you shouldn’t be saying it either. We should ask God to give us His sense of humor and personality, we should reject that of the worlds. What we do in private reflects who we are in public, we need an internal change to have our external change reflect our hearts. This can only be done in surrendering to God.

            We shouldn’t be greedy or immoral, we shouldn’t put anything before God. If we are wanting something more than we are wanting to commune with God, we are dancing with greed and need to put ourselves in check spiritually. He should be all that we want and seek and everything else needs to be an afterthought to Him and what He wants for us.

            Paul tells us not to let anyone deceive us by conniving us that any sin, but especially these sins, are ok. We need to know better and staying in His word keeps us prepared and aware of His truth verses a lie. The more we seek God the more we will learn what is pleasing to Him and the more we will grow into the person He created us to be.

            We should live reflecting honor, purpose and courage to others. We shouldn’t represent the world, tangled in fear and hopelessness. People should look to you and see Christ within you; they should see boldness, grace, faith and fearlessness. What do you reflect to others? Do you like more like Christ or more like the world?

            Verse 18 tells us not to get drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit and constantly be guided by Him. This tells us that when one is drunk they are currently not being guided by the Holy Spirit and are spiritually operating under evilness. This alone should be encouragement not to get drunk, we should never want something to get in the way of us and the Holy Spirit.

            We need to speak to one another in psalms and hams and praise God singing with all our hearts. We need to be worshiping God, when we worship Him our soul communes with Him and we grow closer in Him. We need to worship Him and the more we do the more His presence will consume us.

            Wives need to subject themselves to their husbands, they need to be accepting of their husbands and abide in him for when you get married you two become one and as one you both need to be bound and abiding in Christ. Always stay in submission to him and God, never fall astray or fall into ones own ways. Wives need to stay in Christ, honor Him and their husbands, delight in them, love them, treasure them. Wives need to be encouraging and motivating to their husbands, they need to show love and admiration for them.

            Husbands need to love their wives like Jesus loves the church, He gave His life for her. Husbands need to love their wives like their own bodies, for man left his parents to become one with his wife and for that reason are now one. When man makes this covenant before God; the husband and wife are now forming a covenant with God and they are now one in Christ. The husband needs to love his wife, care and provide for her; the wife needs to subject herself and abide in him through Christ. Marriage is a serious thing and the covenants formed are not something to take lightly, because its a covenant being made with God. However, when a married couple chooses to make this covenant in Christ they now have God as the foundation of their marriage

            Children are to obey their parents in the Lord, as His representatives. Children should honor their parents; love them and respect them. Honoring your parents comes with a promise: to live a long life in the land that the Lord has given you.

            Fathers, do not irritate or provoke your children to anger, this is done in evilness. Provoking someone to sin is evil and we shouldn’t do that, especially our children. We should be teaching our children love, because God is love. We are made in His image, He doesn’t provoke us to anger so we shouldn’t do that to our children or others either. Like us from our Heavenly Father, children need tenderness in training and discipline and love.

            Servants be obedient to your master; employees be respectful to your boss. When God has blessed you with a job you need to work your hardest to honor God and respect your boss to show respect to God. Put your whole heart into whatever it is you are doing, don’t just do it for attention or gratitude. Even when you aren’t being noticed, do your best. God sees all and He will notice and that’s all that matters.

            Our service is always to the Lord, not to men. Whatever good anyone does, he will receive his reward from God.

            On the contrary, masters and bosses should be respectful to the hands and the help that they have. We should all treat each other with love and respect because it shows honor to the Lord.

            Be strong in the Lord, be empowered through your union through Him. Draw your strength from Him. Put on Gods whole armor so that you may withstand the attacks of the devil. We do not wrestle with flesh but with spiritual darkness of the enemy.

            Put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, your feet in the gospel of peace, pick up your shield of faith in which you will deflect all of the fiery darts from the wicked one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.

            Next week we will do an in depth study on the armor of God and that will conclude our studies in Ephesians, for now.

            Paul begins by telling us that we no longer have to live as gentiles, rather we can now be made new in Christ. People who don’t know God have a darkened understanding and reasoning. Those in Christ are called to be the light in Him and should no longer be that way. They are self-banished from the life of Christ; self-banished because God doesn’t reject them. Due to their hardened hearts they have rejected God and therefor have self-banished themselves. They have made themselves prey to sensuality, greed and an eagerness to indulge in every form of impureness. Notice they have made themselves pray, not God. God is good, He doesn’t tempt anyone but He especially doesn’t make anyone prey to these things either.

            We are to strip ourselves of our former nature and put off our old ways; we then put on the new and be renewed in the Spirit of our minds. We need to allow God, and work with God to renew our minds. We have to make the choice to let Him renew us and remove things that need to be removed. We have to surrender to Him to allow Him to prune us so that way He can restore us to our original creation in Christ. We have to make the choice to reject things that we know wouldn’t honor God or make Him Happy. We need to ask Him to convict us when needed so we can be aware of our traits that need to be removed; so we can repent and ask God to renew us and remove that from us. We need to make sure we surrender it all to Him so we leave no room for a foothold.

            We are to represent God in all and honor Him in all. We shouldn’t cuss, say bad or vulgar things or have bad attitudes. These acts and acts similar don’t bring God glory and it gives others a false idea of who God is. We need to bring glory to Him even in our actions. We aren’t to drive the Holy Spirit of God, we shouldn’t offend or sadden Him. By Him we are sealed and marked as His own. For this we should praise God and all that we do should show praise to Him.

            Let all bitterness and anger be banished from us. We are to be peacekeepers, not the ones starting or entertaining strife. The day we surrendered to Jesus we gave away the option to be offended. If we are truly surrender, we won’t be offended and that takes away the foothold to bitterness and quarrels. If you ever find yourself offended, ask yourself if you are truly surrendered in that are to Jesus.

            We need to be useful and helpful to one another. We should be showing love and compassion towards everyone. Forgiveness is a must and helping others to forgive their trespassers is important too. The love of God is powerful and we need to ask God to help us be the love to others as well. A powerful testimony I want to end this chapter with is based on Gods love and how powerful it is. A prophet had an encounter with God and He told her that He wanted to fathom what His love felt like. It was so strong and amazing that she couldn’t even stand, she fell to her legs then laid flat on the ground fully covered in His love. He told her that His love heals people and she was going to go out and spread His love to others and they would be healed by it. A few days later she saw a lady who was so saddened by her pain that she couldn’t help but feel compassion for her, the moment she embraced her and hugged her, Gods love took over and encountered them both and through that single hug and act of love God healed the woman. God is love, He is powerful and when we receive His love and choose to show love to others He can work through that love and signs and wonders happen