If you’re like me, you most likely get pulled in multiple directions on a daily basis. Interruptions abound and your self-identity is as apparent and flittering as the steam on the bathroom mirror. And that’s if you even got a shower that day. You’re a mother, a wife, someone’s assistant-boss-you fill in the blank, the maid, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. My job changes according to what time of day it is. Yes, I can see the bobbing heads already. You know exactly what I mean.
So often our lives become more about what’s going wrong than what’s going right. How can it not when we are barraged moment by moment by the same circumstances or new ones compounding the old? By the end of the day, our brains feel like a battlefield and our hearts have the holes to show for it.
How much longer can we continue, we wonder? What would happen if we just stopped? Or maybe you’re standing there having one of those “Christmas Story” daydreams where your family falls weeping at your feet when they realize your current death sentence is due to their lack of help, understanding, and appreciation. (I’m laughing as I type this because I did this very thing as I emptied the dryer last night.)
During this briefest of pity parties, I realized it was time to step back, time to retreat and find shelter in the only One who can bring relief to our war-weary hearts and restore our strength for the next battle. And to do all this, we need our armor. And boy, do I need my armor.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.—Ephesians 6:12-17
There are two parts to this that I seem to continually forget. The first is that very first verse about what or whom we’re battling. It’s hard to fight something we can’t outright see. You swing a baseball bat at me, I’m gonna duck. You insult me, I’m gonna get mad. But how do we battle an enemy we can’t see, touch, or just kick? (Now there’s a great mental image. Come here, Satan, and meet my foot.)
The second is the standing part. Did you miss that like I did? These verses don’t tell us to don our armor and rush into battle. They don’t tell us to slash wildly and leave a wake of destruction. No, God tells us to stand firm. In fact, the word “stand” is used three times and in close proximity.
I did some searching, and this is what I think. God is our commander. He’s the one directing the battle, our lives, everything. If we’re racing into battle with only the sound of our raging voices in our ears, how on earth will we hear him tell us when to strike and when to fall back? He has the big picture. He knows the lay of the land. He’s the one who’s going to get us through the war alive. And kicking I might add.
Of all the calls to the Christian life, I think this is the most challenging. It falls into that faith and trusting area. We have to trust God is there, and we have to believe the battle is all around us. We can walk blindly through and let the repercussions knock us off our feet, or we can go into battle prepared and armored.
And with that final note (or should I say explosion?), I gotta ask. Anybody got any silver polish?