Road Trip! (Part 1)
Is your spiritual life going through a summer slump? Check out the Go Deeper section at the end of Amanda’s study on the Armor of God and stay tuned for Part 2 this Thursday!
Last month, my husband and I made a trip out to Ft. Worth so I could take a class at Southwestern. Before I had Makaylan, these trips were incredibly easy. I would pack only what I needed for the week, along with my books, assignments, and computer. There was no need for my husband to go with me, and it was a time in which I poured over my studies. Much has changed in the last year. Now, someone, whether it is my husband or my mother, goes with me, and we have to pack the car with a baby bath tub, toys, pack-n-play, baby food, bottles, walker, portable high chair, and the list goes on. I would not dare leave any of these valuable items behind.
As I prepared to leave, God began to convict me of how often I do not pack well for myself, leaving valuable items behind, making me unprepared in my spiritual life. In Ephesians 6:13 Paul, through the Spirit, reminds us to “take up the full armor of God.” God wants us to be prepared when the evil day arises. He not only wants us to be prepared, He desires for us to be able to stand firm when that day comes. In the verses that follow, God then lays out for us six things to take along with us to help us in this journey.
We are first to take up the “belt of truth.” (vs. 14)
We live in a world where we are bombarded with lies and deceit. Situations that appear to come from God can actually be a scheme and ploy of the enemy.
The only way we will recognize the enemy and his tactics is if we know the Truth, which is found in God’s Word.
Life is busy, and if you have little ones, it seems like there is no time in which you can get alone with God. But if we do not spend time pouring over God’s Word and knowing His truth, then we will be unprepared. Since becoming a mother, my idea of a quiet time has drastically changed. During my single days and pre-motherhood days, I used to spend an hour in communion with God. I did that for years. But when Makaylan blessed our lives, things changed. God has often reminded me that it is not necessarily the rigid amount of time I spend with my eyes closed in prayer or my head down reading His Word, but it is the fact that I daily come to Him seeking to know His truth. Some days I still get my beloved hour, and some days I get only 10 minutes of quiet before she wakes up or before something happens. The wonderful thing about being in relationship with our God is that He is personal. He knows each situation we face, and He desires to give us His truth as we come to Him.
Secondly, we are to put on the “breastplate of righteousness.” (vs. 14)
If you notice, the “belt of truth” comes before the “breastplate of righteousness.”
We cannot live a righteous, holy life unless we first know God’s truth.
When looking at the Greek word for “righteousness,” one of its meanings is “correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting.” As women, it is easy for us to begin not to think and then feel correctly. My daughter just turned one, and I will have our second daughter in 3-4 weeks. I used to pride myself in how calm and collected I was in my thoughts and emotions, but that is no longer an issue of pride for me. One moment I can be OK and in control of my emotions, and the next moment the enemy attacks or my flesh desires to take control. I have often cried out for God’s righteousness and holiness to be displayed in my emotions. We live in a culture where women’s emotions can and do control their actions, and it is totally acceptable. We blame our outbursts on hormones, pregnancy, our children, our husbands, etc. Yet, God’s Word commands us “put on the breastplate of righteousness.” This putting on is an intentional action, and it does not happen by accident. God made us to be women who display His glory, and living in an unrighteous manner (through our emotions and actions) is not acceptable. Let us make a commitment to no longer use the excuse, “I’m just being hormonal today!” Instead, let us put on the breastplate of righteousness and show the world that, through God’s help, we can be women who live with their emotions and actions under God’s control.
The third step is to put on the shoes of peace. (vs. 15)
Peace. I think that is a word that most women wish characterized their lives. This use of the word peace is so beautiful when you look at it in its original context. Strong’s says, “the word does not primarily denote a relationship between several people, or an attitude, but a state, i.e., ‘time of peace’ or ‘state of peace…’” And what gives us this peace? Scripture says the gospel of Christ is the only source of truth and abiding peace. I love that! If you were to walk into my home, you might see toys on the floor, a one year-old scooting around, and a mother playing with her child (sometimes very loudly). I used to define peace as an absence of noise and a place of tranquility. Now days, my house is far from tranquil, but I am thankful God often allows it to be a place of peace.
I can be at peace with my husband because of Christ’s gospel. My house can be a haven of peace because of that same gospel. And I can be ready to share that peace with others because of the gospel.
But, we cannot know and experience peace unless we first have put on the “belt of truth” and the “breastplate of righteousness.”
Packing for a road trip is not always easy, especially with a little one. We work so hard not to forget anything that is critical. Likewise, packing for life is, oftentimes, also a difficult task, but it is something that we do not have to do in our own flesh. Actually, we cannot stand firm against the enemy apart from relying on God and the Spirit that lives within us. My prayer for us today is that we would know and be affirmed in the truth that God is for us, and He desires for us to live a victorious life, through the power of Christ.
GO DEEPER! For your own personal reflection, or with a group:
- Has there ever been a time when you left the house unprepared? How did that affect the rest of your day? What about a time when you were unprepared for what faced you in life (a troubled relationship, a diagnosis, a personal difficulty)? How did that affect your responses?
- According to Ephesians 6:10, how is true strength defined? How might that change the way you approach spiritual struggles? Check out Ephesians 3:16 and 20. Whose power is at work in us through our spiritual battles? (Compare with Philippians 2:13 and Romans 8:12-17)
- In Ephesians 6:11, what is the verb used to describe why we are to “put on the full armor of God”? (For even more encouragement to “stand,” check out this SWBTS chapel sermon by Josh Smith from 2/09/12!)
Amanda Walker is in the Doctorate of Educational Ministries program at Southwestern. Her greatest joy is serving alongside her husband who is the University Minister at Cook Baptist Church in Ruston, Louisiana, and being the mother of an incredible daughter with a second daughter on her way. In her “free” time she enjoys a good chat over a cup of coffee. Connect with Amanda on Facebook!
 Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley and Gerhard Friedrich,eds. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol 2 electronic ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964-), 400-01.