" Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God..."
It was clear from the very beginning, around 12 weeks of age to be exact, that this one was going to be a fireball. She was "strong will" personified.
Our beautiful daughter knew what she wanted and wasn't shy in expressing her thoughts. Capitulating to her was, well, just easier. Most of the time. But as is the way of life, there are just some things that are non-negotiable. Dressing appropriately for day and season was one of those. No, you cannot wear a T-shirt without a coat in the dead of winter. No, you cannot wear a mini skirt sans underclothing to school. Morning rituals in our home were rife with rebellion and resistance and typically resembled a scene straight out of the movie--Curly Sue. The struggle became such a battle that I eventually coined a ditty just to accomplish the conflict of dressing: "One little arm(y) in there, that's half the battle, another little arm(y) in there and the battles' done." Got it. Shirt on. Whew! The rest followed somewhat uneventfully. Eventually the feat of getting the day rolling was accomplished, but not without a battle plan and intentional strategizing.
At times I have experienced a similar scenario played out in the mornings between me and my heavenly father. Getting dressed, biblically dressed, in the morning is sometimes a sloppy, slothful and truth be told, sinful endeavor for me! Yes, I spend quality time in prayer, meditation and worship every morning. But I don't always take time to dress myself by deliberately reading this passage and applying its truth to my routine before I set out. Not wise..the world is not a safe place to be when your spiritually naked!!!
Chuck Swindoll, in his daily devotional Insight for Living, stated this well; "Because the path of servant hood is so perilous, we need to cultivate a sensitive walk with God marked by obedience."
God has laid out a daily attire for us; a complete ensemble of armor. The belt of truth. A breastplate of righteousness. The gospel of peace for our feet. The shield of faith. The helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit. Eph. 6:10-18. Sometimes, however, I simply don't have time to dress as commanded. Sometimes I underestimate the spiritual climate of what the day could hold. Sometimes I just plain feel contrary. Those are the days I simply kneel and pray; Lord, Dress me, I don't have the energy today.
As my heavenly FATHER, He carefully clothes me as a parent would clothe a young child incapable of attending to the details of dress yet. Patiently and meticulously He raises my arms, lifts my head and moves my body to clothe me with the spiritual armor He knows I must have. Armor that not only protects us from the spiritual assaults of our enemy but guards and protects our mind and heart, our faith and our witness. Holy garb is a necessity.
Taking us by the hand, He escorts us to the door and takes us into the world with a promise, I love you, I am with you always, I will protect you. Don't forget.
On her first day of kindergarten, I gave my daughter a gold locket with a picture of me inside as a reminder of home and my love for her. Feel for the locket over your heart whenever you miss me, or want to be reminded of home, I told her. This was one way I clothed her for the hours ahead when she might find herself feeling lonely, scared, homesick, rejected or insecure. A locket of love around her neck and over her heart. The heart, the wellspring of life. We need to guard the heart. No wonder one of the pieces of spiritual dress is a breastplate.
Lately I have followed a thread of verses that have spoken to me about an inner attire as well.
*Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,faithfulness, gentleness and self control. (Gal. 5:22) .
*Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12).
*Goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, love. (2 Pet. 1:5-7)
Overwhelmed by the preponderance of preparation required in your daily routine? Don't be, God doesn't demand anything from us that He isn't willing to do Himself. He also dresses. For us. On our behalf.
He goes before us to prepare the way. He went before us to the cross to gain our salvation. He has gone before of us into our day and will show Himself faithful through anything we might encounter. If there is a battle you face, be assured, He has armed/clothed you with strength for the battle. With His help you can scale a wall and advance against a troop. And remember, "There is no place where God is absent, no time when He is silent." (1)
So go on, get dressed, and if you just can't find the strength or desire, let Him do it for you.
He put on righteousness as His breastplate,
and the helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance
and wrapped Himself in zeal as in a cloak.
And may you be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God. 1 sam 25:29
Matthew 28:20 Ephesians 2:4 Psalm 121 Proverbs 4:23 Deut. 31:8 Psalm 18:29,39
(1) Eugene Petersen. Praying with the Psalms