Dr. Rebekah McCloud
One summer I worked at a Girl Scout camp. It was a wilderness camp. It had no inside plumbing and no electricity. One morning on the path to the shower, I saw an animal I had never seen before. The animal walked like it owned the path. As I got closer, I became a little leery so I looked for something I could use to defend myself, if needed. I found a good-sized stick and hesitantly moved forward.
I tried to side-step a little bit, lost my balance and fell backwards into a thicket of Palmetto bushes. As soon as I landed in the bushes, about a hundred Palmetto bugs shot up and flew everywhere. I started swatting and rolling and screaming.
Meanwhile, the animal slunk by unscathed by all of the drama that was going on in the bushes. It was an armadillo. It was suited up; nothing was going to crack its armor. Nothing was going to stop it as it continued on the path. That’s the way we need to be, steadfast as we go toward the mark. Nothing or no thing should stop us.
You’re probably thinking that’s easier said than done. Of course it is. We all have challenges, stumbling blocks, twists and turns, hills and valleys, stops and starts and drama in the bushes. That’s life! But we can combat these things. God has provided us with the ability to suit up; to put on the full armor of God.
Ephesians 6:14-17 tells us to, “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.” Amen.
Suit up! I have a few questions for us to ponder. First, do we always wear the belt of truth? Are there places in our lives where we need to synch the belt a little tighter? John 8:32 tells us that, “the truth will set you free.”
Second, is our breastplate of righteousness polished so that it gleams? Can we see our reflection or have we let it collect dust or rust. Proverbs 4:18 tells us, “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”
Are our feet fitted with readiness? Or are we too tired, too busy, too lazy, too broke, too burdened or too over it to be ready? Matthew 24:44 cautions us “to be ye also ready”. We know not what the future holds.
Is our shield of faith galvanized so that it can withstand the flaming arrow of evil? Or did we tire of it and trade it in for a new model, an imitation made of aluminum or fiberglass that’s light weight and easy to carry? It looks like the real thing, but is totally ineffective in battle. Do we have faith in its ability to shield us? Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Can we locate our helmet of salvation? Is it out of sight and out of mind? Have we stopped wearing it because it’s “old school”, it might mess up our hair or it doesn’t go with our outfit? We all need God’s salvation. Psalm 62:2 tells us, “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Finally, are we always equipped with the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God? Hebrew 4:12 tells us, “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Is our sword sharp?
We should always be suited up! Without the full armor of God, we cannot fight against those things that so easily beset us and keep us from fully embracing our jobs as stewards. Ephesians 6:13 tells us, “After you have done everything, to stand.” Amen.
Let’s stay suited up! Remember the armadillo: unscathed, steadfast and armored. Or remember the super heroes. Clark Kent is always suited up in his Superman costume. Wonder Woman gets suited up with a twirl and Batman gets suited up by sliding down the bat pole. Or, remember the Christian soldiers suited up in the full armor of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit.
Dr. Rebekah McCloud
30 years of service in education. Authored more than 50 publications , made more than 150 presentations, designed workshops, and facilitated training On the C-SPAN Networks:
Rebekah McCloud is a Director for Minority Programs in the University of Central Florida with one video in the C-SPAN Video Library; the first appearance was a 1999 Forum.
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