Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. – Ephesians 6:13
If you’re like me, Scripture passages about war and armor are difficult. I don’t like the idea of violence. I don’t want to encourage militaristic ways of looking at the world, and I especially don’t want to perpetuate some idea that Christians need to arm ourselves against others. Every time I read this Scripture, though, I wrestle between these fears and something else: hope.
This is sometimes not an easy world if you try to be a person of integrity, no matter what your faith. You will withstand attacks on your conscience daily. You will be told that you should change yourself or your beliefs in order to get ahead. You will be asked to compromise on what is right with the promise that you can repair any wrongs somewhere down the line.
This is not a battle of our own choosing, but it is one from which we sometimes simply cannot steer clear. So, as I picture someone getting ready to go out into the world to start their day, someone who for whatever reason will face anger, pressure, or manipulation from others, I think about what it means to put on just enough armor to be able to walk through the arrows untouched.
So, put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of justice. Tie on your shoes of peace. Put a shield of faith out in front of you to block those arrows. Put on the helmet of your salvation. Carry a sword of the Spirit that will cut a path for you on those days that you have to forge your own way in the wilderness. You are covered in an armor that is far stronger than any that could be forged by our own hands. It’s there not to harm others, but to keep you going when you need it the most.
God, on the days when the arrows fall all around me, be my armor. Amen.
Emily C. Heath is the Senior Pastor of the Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire, and the author of Glorify: Reclaiming the Heart of Progressive Christianity.