At some point every winter, I stop wearing a coat. Most people refer to that point as spring, or perhaps summer. But I’m talking about the dead of winter, in freezing temperatures. I really loathe wearing a coat. I tolerate it for awhile because it has a usefulness–mainly, warmth and protection from the elements. But at a certain point, I reach critical mass, and that coat gets left in the closet for the foreseeable future.
The sense of freedom gained completely outweighs the consequences of potential frostbite, in my opinion. Or so I led myself to believe. The truth is, though, that when I ditch that coat, it becomes a habit not to wear it, and it doesn’t cross my mind at all. That’s where my life choices get me into trouble.
You see, I went on a trip to Columbus and left that coat behind. And it snowed while I was there. More than a little. And to top it all off, I didn’t pack any real shoes with socks. Because, yes, you guessed it, I hate socks too. I was a mess. I had to borrow snow boots and warm socks and a sweatshirt and shivered my way through the weekend.
So I must have learned my lesson, right? Wrong. I still often wander without a coat clothed only with the carefree attitude of the unencumbered (well and shirts and pants, of course). Except now, I at least throw the coat in the car. 😂 Progress, not perfection.
I’m shamelessly unprepared for winter on a regular basis, but I never want to be caught in the same stage of unpreparedness in real life, especially my spiritual life. And neither should you.
So, how can we don our spiritual winter coats and scream at the world with reckless abandon, “Let it Snow”? Ephesians 6 talks about this:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17
We struggle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of wickedness. It’s not the politicians we’re fighting or the moral decline all around us or our own sinful flesh. It’s more than that. But God has given us armor to protect us and to help us stand firm. How much of this armor are we putting on daily? Notice it’s an active and intentional putting on.
Are we leaving that shield of faith sitting in a closet? Do we think that girding ourselves with truth matters? Ah, what about that breastplate of righteousness gleaming in the winter sun? And the word of God, our weapon, the sword of the Spirit–it’s useless if it’s collecting dust in the corner. Is this putting as part of our routine as brushing our teeth or putting on makeup? Do we even think about it?
Will you stand firm and put on truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.
Don’t leave the house without your spiritual fur coat and mittens because it’s snowing out there!