Ephesians 6:12-18 (NIV)
12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish 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.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
I am drawn to these verses. I am naturally a fighter. Growing up, my brother and I used to bloody each other noses. Generally, I’m really not that competitive, so channeling this energy into sports wasn’t going to be as healthy of an alternative as it was for my brother. I was an angry kid, that grew into a rebellious teen before going to college (where I learned to fight with class and poise… most of the time). I get passionate about a cause and I want to charge at it with the same intensity. This year I’ve been charging toward Sex Trafficking.
Dear God, What does this mean for your will for me… my “Anything?” This automatic response… is it a tool that I’ve been equipped with for your use?
Light and dark have been a theme over the past week for me. I had coffee with a friend while we discussed how we can serve in those ‘dark places.’ This friend had some amazing ideas to volunteer serving people in the community with AIDs. She also had on her heart to show love to the LBGTQ community by representing Christ’s love to them. I’m not suggesting these are dark places but are Christians stepping up to be the church and showing love, real love, to these neighbors? Then I got my morning email from Christine Cain telling a story about her daughter testing a flashlight in a Wal-Mart. Her daughter said, “Come on, Mum! Let’s go find some darkness.”
In all seriousness, there are very dark places in this world. These places are not very far. I’m sitting on my comfy couch in New Orleans, praying my husband doesn’t get shot tonight. Less than a mile from our home, a child got shot in the foot with a stray AK47 bullet from a drive by shooting. Two days ago, there was mass shooting in a Louisiana theater. My news feed is also flooded with sex trafficking news and updates. Meanwhile, I walk down the street and pimp calls out to an assumed male companion, “Hey! I don’t have a white girl yet. I could use one.” Evil is very real. Now read Eph 6:12-18 again.
Belt: /belt/ a strip of leather or other material worn around the waist or across the chest, especially in order to support clothes or carry weapons.
Helmet: /ˈhelmət/ protective hat, protective gear. Protects heads from injuries, worn my soldiers, athletes, etc.
Breastplate /ˈbres(t)ˌplāt/ armor covering chest, protecting the heart when under attack.
Sword /sôrd/ a weapon with a long metal blade used for cutting, thrusting, striking, has handle or hilt to protect hand.
Shield /SHēld/ used a protection agains blows.
We are being called to fight by standing our ground in truth & righteousness. We are to be ready and prepared with knowledge from the word, specifically the “gospel of peace.” Keep steady in faith, knowing there is salvation. Then there’s the sword of the spirit, that spirit fueled passion. What this means for me, is that I’m not compromising my morals by being a silent observer to injustices. I must be willing to boldly claim my faith in mixed crowds. Which is easier to say than do, when you’re playing a card game with colleagues and a friendly favorite says, “religious people are stupid.” Even through hurt feelings and disagreements, I should continue showing love to everyone. Treating everyone with integrity and kindness, even to someone who idolizes a flag from an extremely oppressive and abusive moment in time. I also keep myself charged within a Christian community that will challenge me and have dialogue regarding the word. Most importantly, being intentional by praying for the Holy Spirit and being in the word, daily.
My take away… God is my armor and he wants me to fight for His purpose. The fight He gave me is for social justice by showing love and compassion for the difficult to love. He wants me to boldly go into the dark places, places where others are not as equipped to go and be a light.
What is your armor for?