You put on your armor when it is time to go to war. Soldiers preparing to deploy, or receiving the news that the enemy is approaching their camp, know a rush of adrenalin. There’s a sense of urgency. They check their equipment. They put on their body armor and helmets. Paul writes,
“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy (Romans 13:11-13).”
As Christians, we fight the darkness. We fight most effectively when we fight like people who live in the day. This requires spiritual discipline. We conduct ourselves as Christians. We speak truth. We pay our bills. We honor and respect those who are owed that. We worship together to encourage one another. We don’t abuse one another physically or verbally. We pray, we study, we sing songs that reinforce values that affirm love for other people and for God. We put on the armor of light. So what is the armor of light? It is behavior and relationships that strengthen our love for God and for one another. Passages like Ephesians 6:10-18 define that armor: truth, righteousness, readiness in the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer. When we maintain our equipment and know how to use it with love, we’re going to win our spiritual battle. We can’t do it alone. Quarreling and jealousy have to go away. They distract us from our mission; they cripple our love for one another. Our worship assemblies are our formations; at those meetings and classes we encourage one other and strengthen each other. In our world, we’re exposed to distractions that can hurt us both spiritually and physically as they draw us away from God and encourage us to hate one another. Our mission of love requires that we be trained and ready. Readiness requires prioritizing time and activities. It also requires focus and perspective. When we try to obey and enforce God’s command from a sense of obligation more than from love, we calcify faith and distort it, damaging the reputation of Christ’s church.
- Biblical quotations are from the English Standard Version.
O God, help us to strip away activities and attitudes that distract us from loving you and one another. If others perceive us as hateful and arrogant, give us clear vision of ourselves when we peer into the mirror that is your message in the Bible. Give us courage as we evaluate ourselves before we consider judging others. Give us the sensitivity and patience to listen. If your armor seems too cumbersome and heavy, may we have the discipline so that through exercise in prayer and study of your word we may develop the spiritual musculature to wear it with ease. In Jesus’ name, amen.