Just a few mornings ago an armadillo ran across my path while I was running. Out of all the blessings God bestowed on armadillos a sharp vision was not one of them. As the critter scurried in front of me, he realized I was close. So he shifted into a speedier gear and, not being able to see well, plowed face-first into the trunk of a small tree. Fortunately, God endowed armadillos with armor that muted the pain of his front-end collision. Onward he went unphased.
You and I don’t always have the greatest vision either. As the Bible says, “We walk by faith, not by sight,” and, “Now we see in a mirror dimly.” But even with our inability to peer beyond things like COVID-19 or political wrangling or cultural shifts, and even with our blurry perception of life during suffering or struggle or pain, God fortifies us with a special gift. He gives us armor.
You may be familiar with the great news of Ephesians chapter 6:
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:13–17).
You are equipped with the armor of God!
You see, faith is not a pipedream or a placebo that provides an escape from reality. Faith is armor that fortifies you for the challenging journey of life in a broken and sinful world. Faith is supernatural protection for your heart and mind as you travel through the storms of life—even storms in your own heart and soul.
With the armor of God, you don’t have to resort to worldly strategies for self-preservation. Exerting power, spewing meanness, tossing out comparison or reverting to cynicism isn’t necessary when you wear the armor of God. Why? Because the One who wore the armor first set your course. The prophet Isaiah says, “[The Lord] saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head” (Isaiah 59:16–17).
In our sin and helplessness, God stepped in. Jesus wore the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation when He did battle with sin and death. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Spirit clothed us with Christ and outfitted us with His armor in our baptisms. Now, with the sword of the Spirit in hand, we bring the living Word of God to a dying world. We bring hope and God’s eternal embrace to pessimistic people. We bump into new and puzzling obstacles with fortification that guards our hearts and minds and keeps us moving forward in grace and truth.
The people in our lives are more ready than ever to receive the Good News of God’s unconditional acceptance and care in Jesus. My question for you is: Are you relying on your eyes during this turbulent season, or are you trusting in your armor?
By Rev. Michael Newman
President, LCMS Texas District