The Armor of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-17)
The last entry in John Wesley’s journal date Sunday, October 24, 1790 reads:
l explained, to a numerous congregation in Spitalfields (Central London) Church, "the whole armor of God." St. Paul's, Shadwell, was still more crowded in the afternoon, while I enforced that important truth, "One thing is needful"; and I hope many, even then, resolved to choose the better part.
St. Paul’s imagery in his letter to the Ephesians of the armaments needed for the battles of this world and Wesley’s prayer that we should “choose the better part,” both seem so timely in a day when we put on the mask of containment and the face shield of protection. It seems that every era until the Kingdom comes will be rife with challenges for which the full armor of God is our best protection. As St. Paul notes it’s not just about armoring up as though you were on the Packer’s defensive line, but being alert and praying. Wesley’s last journal words in this context are a prayer that many would choose the better part.
It does seem that the devil’s work is to divide us. I cannot imagine that this is what God wants. Choosing the better part, likely means not labeling, judging or making assumptions about one another. I think it means NOT posting on social media things that are untrue, (or at least unvetted) or unkind. I am certainly not against the exchange of opinions or ideas. I think done well, we come to deeper appreciation and understanding of one another when we disagree well.
Recently I remember hearing a friend repeat that she was asked how she could get along with someone as conservative as me. That same day, a Facebook friend called me “libtard.” “Choosing the better,” is choosing to follow Christ first. While I certainly have opinions and some of my opinions might be classified as one way or the other, I hope that what people will call me is a follower of Jesus. I hope that I will make the choice to choose the better part each day, dressed in truth, righteousness and readiness to share the gospel of peace. Please put on your helmet of salvation and pick up the sword of the Spirit and join me in striving to choose the better part.
Gracious God, embrace us with you love, arm us with the strength to do your will, to love one another and show Christ to the world with the way that we treat each other. Help us to always choose the batter part. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.