The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Protection for Dark Days ... Peaceful Protection

Here in the U.S., we are living in fear-soaked times. The economy is staggering, jobs are scarce, many homes are in foreclosure or "under water" ... with more owed on the house than it is worth, political extremism is on the rise ginning up fear and anger in the streets, and we have scared ourselves silly listening to pontificating pundits telling us how scary the world around us is without ever taking the time to peek out the door and peer around for ourselves to ascertain the truth. As Paul wrote to his readers so long ago, when we are fearful we are likely to be reduced to our lesser selves and lash out as "children of wrath." Rather than stoop to rage and lash out against one group or another (all too often some helpless, hapless minority group whose members cannot defend themselves against our rage ... see how low we can go as children of wrath).

Instead of giving in to fear and stooping to rage, I highly recommend we turn instead to Paul's recommendation in Ephesians 6 and strap on the whole armor of God. What is God's armor? I'll let Paul tell you that. He was a far better writer than I'll ever be:

Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

Paul was living in extremely dangerous times for a new movement and was facing immanent death as he spread the Gospel among us Gentiles. Christians were the helpless, hapless minority group of the day.

Note that all the components of the armor of God are peaceful. Note that the only weapon in the arsenal of God is the word of God. Described as a Roman short sword, using the sword of the Spirit is close work. You have to get close to others, interacting with them in peaceful ways to use the sword of the Spirit. Note well that the first component of the armor of God is truth. In an age of spun facts and wild invectives, we need the belt of truth more than ever. Second comes shoes that make you ready to move out among others to proclaim words of peace ... not anger, not vitriol, not one-sided "us against the world" rage, but words of peace! Your defense is faith, faith in a loving God who wants the best for you and everyone else, a God who commands all to love one another (love your neighbor as yourself ... and your neighbor is everyone), a God who sends you out into the world because God created us for loving community, not for hiding behind the walls of our homes or the personal barricades we create with all our clever little electronic gadgets. Get out there peacefully and talk reasonably with others. Your helmet is salvation, given to you by the grace of a loving God alone ... which should strengthen your faith if you take that seriously. Finally, your only offensive weapon is the word of God, a word of peace and truth to be spread throughout the globe in all you say and do.

So, in these difficult, dangerous times, God calls you to strap on the whole armor of God, pray powerfully that God's Holy Spirit will guide you and give you words of peace to use, read God's word so you are equipped with truth rather than angry opinion, and head out among the terrified and angry masses as loving soldiers in an army of peace and light, soldiers who by word and deed spread the very best of news: The creator of the universe loves you and wants to walk with you and guide you to a better life here and now ... and for eternity. Spread peace and joy wherever you go.

Excuse me now, I've got peaceful work to do.

May God bless you and protect you as you head out in these dark and difficult days. I will be praying for you, praying that you use your armor well and spread God's love wherever you go. God bless you.

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