Priscilla Shirer - Children With Power
I came to make sure that you know you are not just children, you are children with power. And I'm saying to you, what a shame it would be, what a travesty it would be for the enemy to believe more about your potential than you do. Because you need to know that even if you are not convinced about what it is that the Word of God declares to be true about you, even if you're not sure about the nuances of your inheritance as a co-heir to the kingdom of God, even if you aren't convinced that you have rights and privileges, that you have access to the throne room of God, as the Scripture says, even if you aren't convinced, you need to know that the enemy is.
He knows who you are, he knows that you have been made competent by the Spirit of God, he knows that you have been qualified, he knows that you are already forgiven, he knows that you've already been made free, he knows that, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus," he knows that he can form a weapon against you, but that that weapon has absolutely no possibility of prospering in your life. He knows that in the end we win. What a shame it would be for him to believe more about your power than you do. And I believe, at least in part, that is why the Apostle Paul writes to us in the book of Ephesians.
Now, y'all know the Apostle Paul was a bad brother. He wrote letter after letter to the first century Christian churches to make sure they knew who they were, to disciple them, to mature them, to bring them into full knowledge and awareness of what it would mean to be in relationship with Jesus Christ. And of all of Paul's writings, which gives us about two-thirds of our New Testament, scholars say that the pinnacle of all of Paul's writing, the cherry on top of the cake, really, the creme de la creme of all the Apostle wrote to us, really, Ephesians is that cherry on top of the cake. And part of the reason why is because, of the six chapters, he spends more than the first half of the book just telling you who you are. I mean, he keeps tripping over himself with robust language to try to communicate to the people of God the power that they have access to by virtue of their relationship with Jesus.
He wants you to know that you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. He's gonna tell you that God's grace has been lavishly poured out upon you. He wants you to know, in the 1st and 2nd chapter, that you are holy and blameless and forgiven, and that you are free. Oh, if you haven't taken time to read it, read through the book of Ephesians, because it's going to tell you that you are a co-heir with a hefty spiritual inheritance. He wants you to know that even if you've been rejected by everybody else, your God has hand-picked, hand-selected you, chosen you, adopted you, grafted you into the family of God. He wants you to know you've been snatched out of darkness and flung into his marvelous light. He's gonna trip over himself to make sure you know that you once were dead in your trespasses and in your sins, but you've now been made alive together with Jesus Christ.
He wants you to know that you are his workmanship, you're a masterpiece, a piece of art, recreated in Christ Jesus for good work, so that you can walk in them. In fact, the Apostle Paul, y'all, he gets so worked up trying to make sure we know how powerful we are that before he even gets through the 1st chapter, he bursts out in a prayer and says, I'm praying that the eyes of your heart would be opened, because if you would just know, "The hope of His calling," in choosing you, the riches that have been made available to you, it's gonna change the course of your life. So he spills over himself, going over and over trying to figure out, "How do I make sure the believers know who they are so that they can walk in some semblance of victory and freedom as they live the abundant life to which they have been commissioned"?
I want you to see the Apostle Paul writing this letter. He is in a Roman prison at the time, probably on house arrest. See the Apostle Paul in your mind's eye sitting on the cold, hard floor of his cell, trying to figure out the right words, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to make sure that the sacred text communicates exactly what it should. And he gets to the end of this letter, having given us all this robust language about our inheritance and our power and our potential in Jesus Christ, and he's trying to figure out, "How do I close this letter? How do I make sure that they don't get tripped up, that they live in the victory that is there"?
See the Apostle Paul sitting on that cold floor, hanging over his parchment paper, ink quill in hand, waiting for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to figure out, "How do I put an exclamation point on this letter? How do I make sure that they will walk in victory all the days of their life? How do I make sure to close this thing with such clarity and such power that they will know at the end of this letter, and at the end of this era, they've been called to walk in victory"?
Picture the possibility that he looks up from his parchment paper, his Roman cell, and he looks up to see two Roman soldiers standing right outside of the doorway posted up to make sure their prisoner stays put. And he would have seen the Roman soldiers equipped in their Roman regalia, and then he crafts these words in Ephesians chapter 6, verse 10. He says, "Finally," in conclusion, in the very end, after you've heard so much and I've written so much and I've entrusted so much to you and I've explained so much, after all these messages and all this teaching and all this seed that has been planted into the soil of our hearts, after all has been entrusted to us, after everything we've gotten from a co-pastor, Susie Owens, and a Sheryl Brady, and a Bishop Jakes, and a Serita Jakes, and a Cynthia James, and a Jackie McCullough, after our lives have been poured into for 30 strong years, the Apostle Paul says, finally, you ought to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
The Apostle Paul says be strong, get some spiritual meat on your bones, be fortified in your faith. Don't you dare leave 30 years of ministry and walk out of these doors and be weak-willed women, pulled aside by every new age ideology and philosophy of our culture, be strong. Don't you dare walk out of these doors and be pulled aside by every impulse of the flesh, be strong. Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. We've been too filled up and too blessed and taught beyond what we deserve, people have poured their lives into us, we better leave here and be strong. Y'all, we can't keep waiting on other people to spoon-feed us the Word of God our entire lives, we gotta grow up and be strong.
At some point, you gotta decide that I'm not gonna sip on the milk of the Word my whole life, I need some meat, because I'm mature, I've grown up, I need some strength. And I believe that part of the reason why the Lord has allowed you and I this privilege to be a part of this final "Woman, Thou Art Loosed" is because, for so many of us that are in this room, these 72 hours is about getting you your strength back, to remind you that the joy of the Lord is your strength. Paul says, finally, you be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. And he says, here's how you're gonna be able to do it, put on the full armor of God, so that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes.
Somebody say, "Schemes". Come on y'all, say, "Schemes". You gotta stand firm against the schemes of the devil. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood," but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness that are in the heavenly places. Therefore, you ought to go ahead and put down all the weapons that haven't been working for you anyway, and take up some weapons that actually have power, take up the full armor of God so that you can stand in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm, stand firm therefore.
The Apostle Paul tells us how to walk in victory, to remember that we're not just children, but we're children with power. And he introduces for us, in these three verses, almost for the very first time, at least this overtly in the context of the New Testament, it's been inferred throughout the Old Testament and at different places throughout the New, but this is the very first time that somebody comes right out, point blank, and says, "You have an enemy". And your enemy, listen to me, this is a revelation that's gonna change somebody's life, your enemy is not the person that you're sitting next to this morning, your enemy is not the spouse that you left at home a couple of days ago, your enemy is not the boss that you work for or the coworker you sit next to, you know that one that, if she says one more thing to you, you gonna knock her out, that one? The Apostle Paul says your enemy-enemy is not flesh and blood.
I am a fairly easy-going personality, I think that the folks that know me best would agree, I'm just easy. If someone offends me or someone hurts me or does something to me, it rolls off my shoulders pretty easy. If somebody comes to me and says, "Hey, will you forgive me for what I did to you"? I'm gonna forgive them and say, "Girl, come on, let's move on, we good, it's alright". I'm just, I'm wired that way, I'm easy going, but if I find out... I'm saying, don't get it twisted. If I find out that someone's been scheming, that's a whole different story, because scheming implies pre-planning. If you've been scheming against me, that means you've been watching for a little while, you've been trying to figure out what it is about me that is most weak, most frail, most vulnerable, so that you can take advantage of me.
You've been studying me to find out what my patterns are and what the predilection of my flesh is, and what my preferences are, so that you can figure out the best time to take most-full advantage of me and the people that I love. And when I find out that you haven't just been scheming against me, but you've had your eyes on this man that God has given me to be married to for the past 23 years, I find out you've been studying him so that you can figure out what his weak points are so that you can try to take advantage of him. And when I figure out you've been looking into his history to try to figure out how you can make what's in my history and in his history combust so that we can't have real smooth passion and intimacy and friendship in our marriage.
And when I find out that you haven't just been scheming against me and my man, but you had the nerve to be watching these three boys that the Lord has given to me to raise into men of God, when I find out you had your eyes on my kids, and you've been studying them. So you can already figure out at this young age how you can trip them up so that they do not reach the destiny that has been assigned to them, when I find out that you've been scheming against me and the people that I love, well, if it's a war you want, it's a war you gonna have, it's a war you gonna have. Because I'm not just gonna stand here and let you run roughshod over my family, and over my own peace of mind and peace of heart, and over my marriage and over my finances and over my health and over my business and over my ministry, I'm gonna be a woman guarded in the armor that will bring me victory in battle. We gotta be strong. Speak, Lord.
Paul says get dressed for victory, he says you're gonna need some stability in your core to make sure that you're not pushed to the left or the right with the schemes and the ploys of the enemy against you. You're gonna need to be guarded in your core with a belt called truth. And then he says you're gonna need something to guard your heart, you're going to need a breastplate called righteousness. And then he said that if you want any hope of being able to move forward successfully on the terrain of this life, you're gonna need something for your feet, your feet better be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. He says, "And oh, you're going to need a shield," because there are not just arrows, but flaming arrows that are going to be sent by the enemy into your life.
And the flaming arrows are not meant to kill you, they are meant to set fire on everything around you so that you're so distracted putting out fires that you don't have time to advance against his kingdom. So you're going to need a shield to extinguish the flaming missiles of the evil one, and that shield is your faith. You're gonna need something to cover your mind, because the enemy is trying to erect strongholds, which are basically partitions that stand against the knowledge of God, so that you can't hear clearly the voice of God in your life. You're gonna need a helmet and that helmet is your salvation.
And then he says, you're going to need a sword of the spirit, the sword that he's referring to is not the 3 ft-long sword that we most picture. No, this is a 12-inch dagger, he says you're going to need a dagger of the spirit. It was reserved for when the enemy encroached beyond the first lines of defense and the enemy was in close combat, he's all up in your face. He says for the moments in life when you're encroached upon by the enemy, you're gonna need something to make sure that you stave off the enemy, you need a dagger of the spirit, and that dagger is the Word of God. But he does not stop with six pieces of armor, because in verse 18, he adds seventh.
He says pray, it's the seventh piece of armor. He says be alert and pray, not as a secondary activity, not as a pastime, not a prayer-a-day to keep the devil away. Nope, you pray as a priority of spiritual warfare, prayer is the key that Almighty God has given us so that we can unlock the resources of heaven and have them unleashed onto the landscape of our earth. I wish I had time, because if I did, I'd take you through all the pieces of the armor. But there really is just one other one that I really want to harp on for just a few more minutes this morning if y'all are still with me. Everybody still with me? There's one that I think in this hour is a seminal priority and necessity for us to talk about. Because, in verse 14, the apostle says you need a breastplate, the breast plate is righteousness.
Ok, y'all bear with me, I got stories this morning, they keep popping into my head, about these kids, these boys. Across the street from our house that we raised our children in, there was a pond, our neighbors had a pond. We would go over there and we would go fishing on the pond. We'd walk over with a couple of fishing poles that I bought on sale at the local super Walmart, a tackle box, you know, we got stuff in the tackle box of extra bobbers and extra hooks and a couple of pairs of gloves, because y'all know I don't mind going fishing, but I ain't gonna touch no fish. So we take whatever hotdog meat is left over from the week, because we're professional fishermen in our house, we walk across the street. And normally, we'd fish right there on the edge of the pond, but it's a big old pond.
So they have a little metal rowboat that they bought on Craigslist, it's just an old little thing, but it's seaworthy, it can hold you up. So every now and then, when I'm feeling adventurous, I would get in the boat with the boys, we would push out to the middle of the pond and we'd fish from there. The only problem is that I knew that in order for us to get in this boat, before we could ever get in it, we had to turn it over, because it was always left upside down on the shoreline, upside down so that water would drain out of it, or so that when it rained it wouldn't collect any more water.
And so, rightfully so, it was upside down. The problem was to get in it we were gonna have to turn this sucker over, and I knew that the environment that had been created underneath this upside down boat was damp and shady and moist, and the perfect environment for critters to be underneath this boat. So I knew, when we turned it over, something was either going to hop out from underneath it, something was going to waddle out from underneath it, or worst of all.
So, every now and then I'd feel adventurous, I'd stand way back at the edge of the boat, the boys would get the sides, and we'd turn it over, and inevitably something would come out. It occurred to me that never once did I have to send a golden invitation into the brush nearby to tell the critters, "Hey, we're here at one o'clock today, if you'd like to come and join us, you are welcome". The critters did not have to be invited because the environment created by the upside down boat was invitation enough. Righteousness is right side up living that aligns with the truth of God, that invites the sunlight of God's favor and blessing on your life. Unrighteousness is upside down behavior that is out of alignment with the truth of God to where you don't have to invite demonic influence in your life, you just keep living upside down and your lifestyle will be invitation enough.
The Apostle Paul says live right, he says be righteous, because righteousness is a breastplate over your life, it will protect you from a full frontal attack of the schemes of the enemy. This is old-school, flat-out, great-grandmother, wooden-pew holiness, old-school holiness, y'all. You're gonna have to make a decision to live right, to choose to live holy, because you can be in your war room praying until you're blue in the face, but if you come out of that prayer closet and you live in a raggedy, wayward lifestyle that is out of alignment with the truth of God, then your prayers will have been wasted. You got to be holy.