This is not a drill.
You are in a battle today, one far more intense than you imagine. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your enemy is invisible:
What could be worse than an invisible enemy? How about one that is on the march and intent on taking you out:
So just to clarify, you are beginning your day against an invisible cosmic force determined and delighted with thoughts of your demise.
Welcome to Thursday!
No worries. God has supplied the armor you need. You must "simply" put it on.
"Wait a minute! Do I really 'put on' the armor of God? Do I buckle my belt, pull my breastplate over my head, slide into my sandals, put on my helmet, and pick up my shield and my sword?"
Of course not. The armor is not something you wear outside your body. God is using this language to help you live with the internal fortitude and power that are yours in Christ.
In his book, Practicing Resurrection, Eugene Peterson relates G.K. Chesterton's observation that Christians are either crustaceans or vertebrates.
"Crustaceans have their skeletons on the outside; vertebrates have their skeletons on the inside . . . The armor of God is the embodiment, the internalization of the life of the Trinity -- truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, word of God -- Christ in us, the hope of glory."
As you read God's Word below, think of the armor he has given you. How does that change your approach to your day?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-20 ESV
God has given you the armor because you have entered the war. As Peterson notes,
The six military metaphors -- belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, sword -- sharpen the sense of danger, heighten the the apocalyptic urgency involved in the battle between light and darkness, God and the Evil One. This is serious war, war in heaven. The hosts of Yahweh and every last 'Christian soldier' are called into battle. The metaphors make sure that we never for a moment forget that it is a battle, requiring full participation.
While this is "your battle" it is God's armor. It is what you have in Christ -- truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the word of God -- that enables you to win the war.
God loves you. Christ is in you. The Holy Spirit empowers you. This is your armor for today's battle. So let me suggest a strategy:
Be bold. You are a beloved son or daughter of the King of Kings and Ruler of the universe. His love for you is so great he outfits you with his finest -- you are wearing the very armor of God, empowered by the Spirit of God, and walking with his sword, the Word of God.
Be humble. It is not your strength that matters (John 15:5). I love Henry Cloud's definition of humility: "Humility is not needing to be more that you who are." You are a child of the king (Galatians 4:6). No bravado necessary then as you step into your day. You must fight, but it is God whose got this.
Your battle . . . God's armor. It is going to be an exciting day.
Quotes and the idea for today's post came from Eugene Peterson, Practice Resurrection: A Conversation On Growing Up In Christ. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 2010. Page 263. Henry Cloud's definition of humility is found in his book, 9 Things You Simply Must Do, page 193.