As my son had a moment of streaking after the last diaper change tonight, the section in the Bible about wearing the Armor of God popped into my mind. Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV describes the Armor of God to include the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, a shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. I don't feel qualified to get into the depth of this Scripture but it is what initially came to mind.
I personally believe in the spiritual wars going on all around us, especially trying to destroy marriages and families. A friend of mine gifted me Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young and the author talks about her own experience with spiritual warfare in the intro. She says "Our combined ministries subjected our family to intense spiritual warfare, and I prayed for protection every morning."
Ephesians 6:18 NIV says "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people."
How do you prepare yourself for the day? Do you begin the day with prayer? Are you preoccupied with what to wear or how to send out the right message with your appearance? Have you ever been late to something because you couldn't decide if what you had on was good enough? I have. I struggled when wearing jeans to church first became acceptable because it was so different than how I grew up. The back in forth in my head about whether or not something was appropriate was exhausting. Now, I often wear jeans and I've found peace about balancing being respectful and comfortable.
After starting to dig deeper into preparing for this blog, I remembered the following section of Scripture, and I'm compelled to include it:
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:12-15 NIV
As someone who struggles with self esteem and my identity, I love how the verse begins by reminding me that I am chosen and dearly loved. Personally if I feel loved, I tend to act more loving. If I accept God's forgiveness, then I'm more able to forgive. When I remember how patient God has been with me, I'm more able to be patient with others. When I focus on Jesus, I am able to be at peace. When I am intentional about being thankful, my attitude shifts from defeat to recognizing God's power at work in my life.
Do you run around with a naked or barely clothed heart? Do you fight off the protection God provides because you just want to feel free and perhaps you view God as restricting and mean? Are you just getting by each day?
I don't know who I'm talking to. I don't know if you are someone who is far from God or someone who may be hurt by church folk somehow and there is a wall up. All I know is that God loves you enough to send his Son to die for you to offer you the same grace he gave me. I didn't think I deserved it. I struggled to accept it because I didn't understand how special I was to God, that I was chosen and dearly loved. I had to learn to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient with myself too. I had to learn to forgive myself. I was trying to earn grace and beating myself up along the way. I didn't understand then and I'm still learning now but I'm able to have peace and hope on the journey.
So when you wake up tomorrow or the next time you get into your clothes closet, what are you going to be thinking about? I pray God will stir something in you and encourage you to dress your best.
Jesus, thank you for Your Holy Word and I pray that I'm using it appropriately. Bring these words to someone who needs them and guide them to You. Show them they are loved and worthy. In Your Precious Name, Amen.