Monday, July 16, 2012

Doing Battle

One night last week at Jr. High camp, I lay awake praying.  And praying.  Opposition from the girls was fierce—their disinterest in chapel services, constant arguing, conflict, and resistance to instructions.  On that particular night a fourth girl in our cabin made a profession of faith.  When we got back to the room after post-chapel counseling, the others were stewing and steaming.  Someone bumped a mirror and it shattered on the cement floor.  My bedside light was unplugged.  Plugging it in resulted in a hiss, pop, and show of sparks.  We lost power.  Girls screamed and jumped at each other, calling out names from horror movies.

I slept after power was restored and having read from Psalms, but awoke at 2:30a.m., restless.   At some point I found myself musing over the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and was thankful for the many sermons and illustrations over the years.

My first thought was for my head and mind.  I had a very real need for the helmet of salvation.  Not only would it protect my ability to think and function, it was a very real barrier between life and death.  I was comforted by its weight and fit.  It did not shift.  It would not impair my vision or ability to fight.

I remembered the belt of truth.  Gathering the uncertainties and self-doubt rumbling in my mind, I quoted Scripture.  Taking hold of untruth and pulling reality into folds, I rearranged and tucked it in where it belonged so deceit would no longer hinder my freedom to act in faith.

Next, the breastplate of righteousness.  Not mine, Christ’s.  As sin and guilt surfaced, I confessed my sin and asked God for the gift of repentance.  My vital spiritual organs are vulnerable—my emotions, my memories, my inner workings—but in Christ they are covered , beyond the reach of the adversary.  Christ Himself stands between my guilt, my sin, my shame and the accusations of the evil one.

Oh, the gospel of peace.  I desperately needed and asked for this.  In my fight against rulers, powers, world forces of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness, I recognized my weakness to strike out at people and circumstances.  I needed spiritual feet that could stand, settled and confident, fully resting in God’s ability to wage war while I stood rooted in peace and serenity toward those around me.

Even as I prayed, the shield of faith was moving, darting, blocking distracting thoughts, thwarting excuses, justification for my own sinful choices, and random musings.  How necessary to know, to believe, to take hold of, God.  He was.  He is.  He will be.  And He provides the faith necessary to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

With the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, in hand, I prayed.  For those who had trusted in Christ, for those who hadn’t, for my weakness and tendency to sin, for those around me, for the speakers, for my family at home.  It was a couple of hours before I had peace and rested into morning.  And now, on this side of that specific battle, I have a greater understanding of the armor of God.  How necessary each piece is and how God has armed us to stand firm.  And having done all, to stand.

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