EXPLORING THE WORD
By Lauren Birago
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I woke up that day and the armor didn't come to mind until I started to see the mishaps, one after the other. The blows were significant enough to jar my memory of a sermon I heard not many days before. It had given me a deeper understanding of God's holy armor and our need for it. As I recalled this, I mentally and spiritually put it on. Throughout the day I still felt afflicted. It seemed like the armor was not doing what it is said to do. I gained understanding later. I thought of a soldier going into battle without his uniform specifically designed for war. He receives a blow to the shoulder that penetrates the skin creating significant pain and an open wound. This soldier runs back to put on his gear and returns to battle. He still feels the pain of the injury. He is still impaired by the loss of perfect functionality, but the enemy fire that comes his way does not penetrate. I was dressed in my armor and for the remainder of the day, the blows did not pierce. My wound wasn't healed because healing is not the purpose of the armor, so I still felt the affliction as I proceeded. Unfortunately I was so focused on the pain of the wound that I did not fight my battle well and made little progress on the path that was set for that day.
The next day I proclaimed that the day would be great. I woke up encouraged, put on my armor and anticipated a battle. I expected warfare because experience has shown that it is inevitable. When walking in the ways of the Lord or for his purpose, there will always be opposition. I thought my spiritual confidence this day and the armor I wore would keep me feeling strong. Instead, I watched the fiery darts, and without surprise they came my way only to shove me hard enough that I had to convince myself to stand though I wanted to retreat. I became discouraged and almost doubtful. The legitimacy of the armor came into question as I felt the strikes. I realized later that it is not the armor that is malfunctioning nor is it fictitious, but my expectations were misplaced. I expected the armor to act as a fortress, solid and unmovable as the fire pummeled its walls. As a fortress it would protect me from feeling the blow. As a fortress it would secure anything I held behind its stone walls. As a fortress however, it would also disable me. I would remain in one location and defeat the purpose, which is to progress in God's will; the reason I'm in the battle to begin with.
The armor does not prevent the enemy's attempts, but it does not leave me as vulnerable as I might feel either. It covers the vital areas of the body. The head, chest, loins, and feet are covered allowing me to think of my victory, be led with my heart, and have the core of my body intact for standing and producing in truth. Lastly, I still have my feet for mobility. With that God gives a defense, the shield. All of this is a spiritual covering as I prepare to use my sword.
Today the battle invaded my home despite the fact that I had on the armor since this morning. I literally laid on the floor in a mind of defeat fumbling though the scriptures that make up my sword. I could not think of complete verses, I could not recall the ones that would be most effective in this case, and I couldn't benefit from the power of it. In my belief that I had prepared myself with the Word in my daily reading, I was stunned to find that I couldn't use it in time of need. My emotions had gotten in the way. The blow shoved my heart with a force that left me crying out "how does this help God, how does this help?" It was then that I realized I'm not trained. Though I have a personal relationship with God, an active prayer life, and I read the Word daily, I have the tools but do not know how to use them when the blow is so personal and in my face.
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Photo credit: Israel Defence Forces; Some rights reserved
Tags: Christian-Life | Hardships | Personal-Life
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