The Weapons of Our Warfare
Ephesians 6:16,17 “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
I wrote the following blog months ago to enter in a contest. It didn’t win, but I held onto it, thinking I might post it here. As I read back over it the other day, I couldn’t help thinking that it seemed silly to let my day and my perspective be thrown off by something as petty as a squabble between my children. Even as I thought it, however, my girls started arguing in the other room, and I, once again, felt irritation and annoyance rise up within me.
The enemy can and will use anything against us. He’s crafty, insidious, and duplicitous. He gets pleasure from wreaking havoc, especially among God’s people, and if he can accomplish nothing else, he gets great enjoyment from stealing our peace with minor annoyances and trifling inconveniences, just to see us lose our cool. Here’s an example of how he enjoys tormenting me…
I had a lot to do that day. I had barely started on my next blog, and the deadline was almost upon me. So, I woke up extra early to spend an hour writing before the kids got up. After my prayer and devotion time, I had a clear outline for my piece, and the words were flowing. I was confident that with another hour of work after I dropped the kids at school, I could finish the first draft. Then, I could turn my attention to cleaning the house and prepping the evening meal. I’d give the blog a final polish the next day and get it posted.
We had friends passing through town, and they were coming to dinner that night. I’d let the housework go the last few days as I worked on other things, and the dinner party had been arranged last minute. Laundry was piled on the couch. The guest bath needed a spruce, and thanks to our canine friend, the floors definitely needed a good, thorough vacuuming.
My hour was almost up, and I felt good about my planned schedule for completing my piece and the preparations for our dinner guests. I just had to stay calm and focused. I have a tendency to get a bit anxious and scattered when I have a tight schedule, my perfectionism getting the better of me.
I could hear the girls moving around upstairs. Suddenly, the din of bickering began in the hall above my head. I listened, trying to make out what they were arguing about, as the sound descended the stairs and carried on into the kitchen. I took a deep breath, said a prayer for patience, and left the office to intervene in my children’s squabble.
As I attempted to get my girls ready for school, their arguing continued with the added bonus of frantic searches for misplaced items. My nine-year-old punctuated her frenzied run around the living room with a stubborn, high-pitched insistence that, “Yes, she DID need her phone!!” using the tone that she knows irritates me. (The phone isn’t even in service. It’s just an old iPhone that she uses to listen to music and play games.)
I tried valiantly to hold my temper, but as we started pulling out of the driveway already late, my teenager stopped me because she’d forgotten her practice jersey. My patience snapped. Once we finally, officially left, now hopelessly late, I ended up berating my kids all the way to school for their disorganization and disrespect for each other and me.
By the time I returned home, I felt frazzled, frustrated, and a little guilty for letting my temper get the better of me, no matter how justified my feelings were. Hadn’t I just been working on a blog about controlling the tongue? My confidence in my ability to complete the day’s tasks ahead of our guests’ arrival had entirely dissolved, along with my creative energy and train of thought. Not to mention, I now felt like a complete hypocrite. I spent the rest of the day cleaning the house in a whirlwind and prepping dinner so that I could present our guests with a clean home, a tasty meal, and a showered hostess.
Do you have days like that? You start out filled with Heavenly peace, ready to conquer your day, armed with a plan and the Holy Spirit, and then things start to go wrong and your feeling of invincibility fades, your plan falls apart, and you end up anxious, stressed, and upset.
Turmoil, chaos and accusation are the enemy’s hallmarks and some of his favorite weapons against God’s people. He may not be able to snatch us from Jesus’ hand (John 10:28), but he can certainly try to destroy our peace, and I’m sure he got an extra bit of glee out of delaying my writing of that particular blog and causing me to speak harshly to my children in the process.
Ephesians 6:11 tells us to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” One of the most pivotal pieces to a suit of armor was the soldier’s shield, which he used to block his enemy’s attack. In our key verse, Ephesians 6:16, we are told to use our shield “in all circumstances,” and it will allow us to “extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” At all times, in every circumstance, no matter how mundane or routine the activity, we have to be ready for the enemy’s attack.
Satan gets great pleasure from causing one of God’s children to stumble. That day I set down my shield and allowed him to rob me of my patience, my self-control, and my peace, but I’m thankful we serve a loving, merciful God who gives us His own armor and helps us to use it through the Holy Spirit. So, dear sister in Christ, even when we drop our shields, we are never completely exposed. We also have the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness given by the gospel of peace as shoes for our feet, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:14-17)
The enemy may have won the skirmish that day, but he won’t win the war!
When my kids got home that afternoon, I hugged them close and reminded them how much I love them. Then, I made sure they put everything they would need the next day in the appointed spots, including that old phone. I had managed to prepare both the house and the meal. (I’d even showered!) A smiling, peaceful family greeted our friends at the door, and we had a very pleasant visit.
The next morning, I hit the reset button. I got up early, read Ephesians 6:11-17, picked up my shield, wielded my sword, and completed my blog. We may be imperfect, weak humans, but we serve a perfect, powerful, and merciful God who doesn’t leave us to fend for ourselves. He’s given us the tools to fight back against the “cosmic powers over this present darkness.” (Ephesians 6:12) We just have to use them.
Our generous, Heavenly Father, we thank you for the perfect armor that you have bestowed on us, your children. We ask that you would help us to use it effectively for You and for our protection and to wear it appropriately at all times. Help us to stay on our guard against the enemy, hold up our shield of faith, and keep our sword sharp and at the ready. Bless us, O Lord, with power and protection through your Word and Spirit. Please forgive us when we stumble and help us stand again. In Jesus Christ’s holy and precious Name - Amen