Landing on your feet. Like a cat with nine lives, we want to finish upright and standing on our feet. Upright and hopeful. Standing and stronger than before. When it’s all over except for the shouting, we want to be standing on our feet. Fighting is hard work. When you really consider all the moments in our lives, we are fighting for or against something every day of our lives. We want to land on our feet.
Daily we face challenges that can either knock us down or take us under all together. How do we survive life’s obstacles and come out upright and stronger than we were yesterday? We should be equipped to encounter the day with our weapons ready and prepared. What weapons? The weapons that God has given to each and every one of us.
Ephesians 6:13-18 (MSG) describes our weapons and how to prepare each day.
“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
Preparation. We are up against things that we can’t handle on our own. True that! Each of us can attest to the truth of that statement. We need God. We need the Holy Spirit in our lives leading us, teaching us and guiding us. We need all the help that Jesus provides. Every day and in every way possible. Do we forget to put on our belts sometimes? Yes, we do. Maybe we want to go barefooted or leave out some other part of our weaponry. We might think to ourselves, ‘Oh I don’t need this today. It’s going to be an easy day’. I am here to tell you, that this is just the day that we end up needing every weapon at our disposal.
Truth. The Belt of Truth is knowledge and wisdom about yourself. Knowing (and believing) that you are a Child of God. We are Children of the Most High King and we should act like it. Know your own limits, maintain your personal integrity, and realize that you have the courage to face whatever comes your way. Buckle your belt and be prepared to defend your honor with dignity and courage.
Righteousness. The Breastplate of Righteousness is about your own heart. What is in your heart? If we are intolerant, morally superior and smugly sanctimonious we are being self-righteous. <buzzer sound> When we are compassionate, empathetic and loving we are being righteous. <ding, ding, ding – we have a winner> Righteousness comes from filling yourself with God. Are we actively learning, studying, and more importantly, retaining the Word? When our hearts are bursting with the love of Jesus, our righteousness is in place and doing its job.
Peace. The Gospel of Peace is all about taking the love, joy and peace of God with you wherever you go. You aren’t getting anywhere unless your feet are taking you, so wherever your feet go, you take Jesus with you. It really is simple, until … we lose our tempers or … something distracts us … or our plans don’t happen the way we planned them ... or … you get the idea. We put on those shoes every day. We can choose to kick them off and we can choose to put the back on. Everyday. All day long.
Faith. The Shield of Faith is up and at the ready. Or is it? Faith is believing. Trusting that God has your back. In a battle, you are standing back to back with God. He is covering your right, your left, and your back. Get that shield up and cover your front. Yes, God is omnipotent and He has your front too, but this is about you not taking God for granted. You have to believe that He is there. You have to believe that no matter what, God has a plan and a purpose in what is going on. It’s hard to see it sometimes, but that is only because our shield is in our line of sight. Have faith that God has it covered.
Salvation. The Helmet of Salvation is on your head the minute you receive Jesus as Lord. Yep, you get a hat. Not just any old hat, but one that is perfectly made to fit your head. It is super strong and can not be broken or even cracked. The Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit is the Holy Spirit. At salvation the Holy Spirit comes to live in you. Yep. He Lives in you. Your part is to listen, be aware, and to talk to Him. Have a relationship with Jesus.
God’s word is an indispensable weapon. INDISPENSABLE. You only know the truth and recognize a lie because you know the Word. You can’t know the Word, if you don’t read the Word. Study, investigate, research things, ask questions and seek answers. The Word is an indispensable weapon.
Pray. Pray every day. Pray for your family, your friends, your co-workers, and even your enemies. Pray for the ability to show love, grace and mercy to those in your own personal world (and to yourself). Pray. Talk to God. Thank Him for everything. Talk to Him about anything. Prayer is a conversation. You talk, then He talks. Don’t forget to listen.
When we put all of these things together, we will land on our feet. God provides each one of these weapons, BUT we have to choose to pick them up. We have to decide if we are going to be prepared. We have to choose to think about these things every day.
We all get dressed every day (except for the occasional pajama day), so make it part of your routine as you get dressed. Is my belt is buckled and my hat in place? Yep. My shoes are on, and my heart is covered. Are you upright and righteous with your shield at the ready. When we are prepared and take our weapons with us, we are ready to meet the day and we will land on our feet.