Advent 1: Psalm 25 & Ephesians 6:10-20

From Lisa Puckett

Even following our Thanksgiving holiday of rest and rejoicing, as I imagine tomorrow’s transition to the work/school week, I feel anxiety.  There is a noticeable shift in the posture of my spirit from reclining to a heart-hardened, battle-ready stance.  I am surprised.  How can I shift so quickly?  Why do I feel the need to be poised for battle?  The others who will sit around that table on Friday say they are on ‘our TEAM.’  They say there is ‘no battle.’  Should I trust them, even though history proves otherwise?  Is it not more ‘Christian’ to be meek, trust, and seek peace?

These are my thoughts as I wonder what scripture is selected for my reflection. What does God have for me as the challenge of next week looms large and I tremble in its shadow, thinking I have little spiritual insight to offer?  I read the list of readings and almost chuckle at my assignment: Ephesians 6, The Armor of God.

Clarity comes immediately from the scripture.  Paul calls it what it is: a battle.  We are fighting against schemes of the evil one, against the powers and authorities of this fallen world as well as the forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Our heavenly Father is not caught off guard, unaware, unprepared.  In fact, He promised us battles and has provided the armor necessary for the fight. 

In faith, I take it up, piece by piece, preparing to fight the battle ahead:

I buckle the belt of truth around my waist, giving me strong posture, helping me to stand upright and fight for what I know to be true.

The breastplate of righteousness is set in place.  It is Christ’s righteousness, not my own, which gives me courage to stand tall.

My feet are fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace – I am ready and eager to run towards peace; but only when it is rooted in the Gospel of Truth, uniting each of us as God’s masterpiece, as fallen, beloved children offered forgiveness through His obedience on the cross.

I take up the shield of faith as I am given God’s vision and His supernatural gift of “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  (Heb. 11:1) With this power, I will cast off all arrows of the devil which strive to knock to me the ground in doubt and despair.

The helmet of salvation covers my mind.  It puts the battle in its rightful place, that of utmost importance but not one providing salvation.  It dislodges all idols from their place on the throne of my mind including education, career, prosperity, and future plans for those I love dearly.  That throne is filled with salvation which comes only from Christ. 

I am armed with sword of the spirit which is the Word of God, praying in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Prayer is my weapon.  It is my only offense; not my imagined play-by-play rehearsals at 2 am; but PRAYER. God says that it is mighty.  God says that it is enough.

Like Paul asks of the Ephesians, I ask you to join with me in prayer, for your own battles, for those of your friends, and for ours as well.  This is how we are made “Strong in the Lord” for the battles that rage in this time as we await the return of our savior.

I am wife to Jason, mother to Cory and Joel, and one who loves to create, whether it be family dinners, solutions to challenging problems, databases, or oil paintings.  (I do not like to fight battles.)