Ephesians 6:10-20 (New Revised Standard Version)
The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our[a] struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these,[b] take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I’m walking through the mall. And I’m never in the mall. The bookstore? Yes. The mall? No. (One should note that said bookstore is attached to the “BIG” mall in my city.)
I’m walking through the mall when I notice something strange. At the entrance of each store front one or two women are looking in my direction. At first, I’m concerned. Did I leave my zipper open? Nope. Is my hair standing on end? Nah.
Then I get it. The attention isn’t on me, it’s behind me.
Not one to be discreet, I turn around to check out what’s grabbing their attention and see him. Him, being about 6’6” of masculinity and muscle, dark hair, short beard. Handsome? Yes. But that’s not the reason for the looks.
It’s the uniform.
Not the usual uniform of the R.C.M.P. Highly recognizable to any Canadian. Rather, this imposing figure is completely decked out in a tactical uniform. All black. The tools of defense and offense on display. I couldn’t tell you what each item was for, but the effect was striking.
This was not a man to be messed with.
The image of this man stayed in my mind for several days. No, not because he was handsome. Rather because of his uniform. His armor.
Without the uniform, he was still an imposing figure. Yet, I think if he had been in shorts and a tee shirt the reaction wouldn’t have been so profound.
I’ve been going through a rough patch this summer. As I’ve written before, summer isn’t my most fruitful time. How ironic. This summer it seems to be worse. My prayer life is dull. My enthusiasm is blocked. I’m attempting to be obedient, but I’m faced with opposition.
Worst of all, I am enduring what I choose to call “depression lite” – not full blown clinical depression, but a lasting period of blah. Interspersed with this are attacks of anxiety. Fear for the future. Distrust in God. Hopelessness. These don’t last long, but boy, do they ever take a bite out of my peace and joy!
After an emotional meltdown several weeks ago, I was reminded that my place and role in the Kingdom of God includes spiritual warfare. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His power” – let His power and strength be evident in your life.
Remember the police officer in full tactical gear? Big? Yep. Strong? Certainly! But it was the uniform that communicated, “Don’t mess with me.” The uniform made him instantly recognizable as someone that represented justice, protection and in the worst cases, capable of battle.
Does my countenance communicate that I represent the Kingdom of God? That I am a warrior for the King of Kings?
Meh. Lately, not so much.
Underneath it all, I’m suffering. I don’t have it all together. And I’m not going to shame myself into believing I always need to.
Which is why I must dress myself in the tactical uniform of Christ. Truth. Righteousness. Peace. Faith. Despite my frail self, I can cover my head with salvation. I arm myself with the Sword of the Spirit, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction to the enemy: The Word of God.
I’m not trying to “fake it until I make it,” rather I’m living out the reality – “in my weakness, He is strong.” It is my right as a child of the King to wear this uniform. I choose it. I live it.
I claim the right to wear your armor. I am not at my strongest right now, but I am protected. If need be, I am prepared for battle. You are the giver of life and commander of my soul. Take this life and use it as you see fit. Unending thanks to you. Over and over. Amen.