• This is a fight - a real fight with real consequences - 
    • a real race with a real prize - a real war with a real enemy
  • Know your enemy - you are not fighting against the other racers!!! - it is easy when we enter into the race to think of the other racers as the enemy - Paul says NOPE - 
    • we have a real enemy but it is not the other racers it is Satan and His demons - it is the atmosphere in which we race - the course and the weather, and our own weakness.  You are fighting against them no one else!  
    • Stop blaming the other racers for you difficulty!!
  • Know your helpThe apostle Paul begins to describe the strength of the Lord by using the metaphor or the armor of God - He is calling us to understand the help we’ve been given!  More than enough help to win the race
    • Loins girded with truth - I don’t want to say what it is…. certain supportive garments….. people wear to make it easier to be vigorously active….. you can fill in the blank….
      • The point is! - Jesus said you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
      • The truth frees us to run / move without difficulty 
        • the truth about God
        • the truth about ourselves
        • the truth about those around us
    • Breastplate of righteousness - the heart monitor of righteousness
      • This isn’t our righteousness he’s talking about - this isn’t the apostle Paul saying “ya’ll better be good out there!"
      • We PUT ON the righteousness of Christ Jesus
      • I call it the heart monitor because it checks our pulse for us - when we daily put on the righteousness of Jesus we are doing a heart check with the Lord - reconnecting with the one who is our righteousness and aligning our hearts with him again.  When we are in touch with His righteousness and our hearts go out of sink with His we will know it.
    • The preparation of the Gospel of Peace on your feet
      • The running shoes of peace
      • a firm foundation - because of the Gospel we have peace with God - the wrath of God is not hanging over our heads - fear 
    • the shield of faith - the sunblock of faith
      • protects from the fiery darts of the enemy - the sun!  As you know my family and I are gingers we fight a daily battle with the sun.
      • in running you are exposed to the rays of the sun and you can get burned!  - this world we live in is a constant attack on the belief system we hold.  It tells us every day that God’s ways are foolish, that God doesn’t exist or is irrelevant,  that we cannot trust Him
      • A daily application of the sunblock of faith restores our resistance 
    • the helmet of salvation - the sweat band of righteousness
      • the emblem - the helmets served to protect the head but also bore symbols of their gods emblems of the strength a lion an eagle etc.  they were telling themselves covering their minds with the knowledge of who was helping them fight the battle - when I was a kid just putting on a nike emblem psyched me out.. I can do this!  
      • protect the eyes - a sweat band keeps sweat and hair OUT of your eyes - you cannot see to run if you have an eye problem - being reminded of the hope of our salvation gives us eyes to see the path we are really on.  
      • Jesus said if our eyes were dark our whole being would be dark we have to set our eyes and our minds on things above. Col 3:1-31 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
        2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
        3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 
    • the sword of the spirit - the Word of God
      • Praying in the Spirit with all supplication  - get that sword OUT use it in prayer and clean house!!

18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19and [pray] on my behalf,that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in [proclaiming] it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

21But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. 22I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.


23Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord JesusChrist. 24Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible [love].