You are not needed by God. I am not needed by God. God is all powerful and all sovereign, He is perfect in his character and has always been, long before the creation of the Earth. Yet here we are, living out our lives to share the gospel and make disciples, spending each day aiming to glorify God in all we do, pursuing knowing Jesus and make Jesus known. We do this despite not being needed. Why?
No one really enjoys sharing their weaknesses, let alone their sins. Even if we understand the great benefit that can come through sharing and confession to others (for both ourselves, our fellowship, and even for others learning from our mistakes), it can feel humiliating. We are often ashamed of our sin, discouraged by our failings, and now more than ever through social media, we can really portray ourselves how we want to be seen, having it all together in a ‘perfect’ life – so why would we want to tarnish that by sharing how short of the mark we fall?
As I explored a bit in my first reflective post Reflecting on Reflecting, I think that vulnerability and, alongside it, openness and authenticity is a vital part of Christian growth and community, so I want to share with you one (or some!) of my recent failings and what I have been reflecting on it.
” And, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” (Eph 6:15)
When thinking about our preparedness for a spiritual battle, being ready for war against Satan and evil, ‘peace’ is probably not the first word that comes to your mind. In fact, when I first sat down to look at this verse in Ephesians in order to write this post, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say. The Belt of Truth and Breastplate of Righteousness are rich and deep, but at face value are also somewhat self explanatory- they make sense in the scene of battle. But shoes of peace – maybe not so much. Does it mean we should be pursuing peace? Or searching for peace? Or if we wear these said shoes we will have peace despite a raging battle around us?
If I was to ever be sent into battle and was only allowed one piece of armour (a ridiculous hypothetical situation I know, but bear with me), I think it would be a tough choice between a breastplate to protect my heart and lungs, or a helmet to protect my brain. An injury almost anywhere to the body can be life threatening if you lose enough blood, but ultimately without a functioning heart or lungs (or brain to control them) you have a death sentence. Hence in battle, protecting these vital organs is essential for survival. So today we continue our series on standing firm by looking at the breastplate of righteousness, and how righteousness is a fundamental part of our battle against Satan’s schemes.
Today I witnessed my first serious trauma admission in the Emergency Department. When a trauma call is made, it is ‘all hands on deck’. As soon as a call comes through from the paramedics, the team starts preparing—the room, the equipment, the medications. Everyone knows their roles and there is a set protocol of what needs to happen to stabilise the patient. Specialist teams are on standby, so specific skill sets are available if necessary – an anaesthetist for managing the airway and ventilation, neurology and neurosurgery teams for looking after the brain, and surgeons in preparation for managing the sustained injuries. Trauma is unexpected, it can be messy, and outwardly, it is often very clear what is going on—if a leg is cut open and bone is sticking out, you know that there is a fracture and probably a lot of blood loss.
Our previous post in this series ‘Stand Firm,’ took a look at The Lies We Believe and ways which we can expect Satan to be working in the battles of Spiritual Warfare. We found that deception was not only a key component of his arsenal, but also his character. In light of this, it is not at all surprising that, in reading about the armour of God, the first item we are to put on in order to stand firm in battle against Satan, is the belt of truth. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Eph. 6:14). As we begin looking at these different aspects of the armour, it is important that we realise that these are primarily not virtuous actions that we are to start doing when we sense Satan is at work; rather, these are all ways of describing the impact of the gospel. That is, as we meditate and apply the gospel to our life daily, the belt of truth will always be buckled around our waist, and we will always be in a position to stand firm.