Spiritual Armor: IllusionsJuly 6, 2023
What is that to You?July 19, 2023
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness – right choices – in place …” —Eph. 6:14 (italics added)
Today let’s consider “righteousness” in the protective sense of a breastplate guarding us from bad and/or less than the best choices.1
What if I asked you to write down the three or four most important things in your life? Or put another way, what do you think you will wish you had made more of a priority as you one day look back over your life? What I call, “Living from the grave backward.”
Many of you would respond with something like: 1. Relationship with God 2. Relationship with my spouse 3. Relationship with my children.
Good answers. But would the way you spend your time and energy look anything like this? I doubt it. Your time is typically spent – not invested – in good things, but not the best things.
Each day the world is coming at you fast and furious, with noise and distractions, and all manner of choices to be made in the midst of it all. Are you able to cut through the fog to make the right choices, or do you repeatedly find yourself wondering, “Why did I agree to do this? Why did I (or my children) get involved in this? What was I thinking?” (Hint: you weren’t.)
If you could see the never-ending invitations, opportunities, and pressures in slow motion, and therefore see them in the clear light of truth, you could avoid many of the less-than-the-best choices you make. And by slowing down you could even avoid many of the mistakes, and out-and-out sins you commit.
How will you slow everything down? Ask for clarity through the power of the Holy Spirit to see and to follow Jesus’ truth. The Spirit of Truth will then lead you to see the right choices, as you put on the full armor of God.
Just as truth is your most vulnerable area, because there is no truth anywhere to be found in this culture, right choices are critical, because they have such lasting ramifications.
You’ve made a lot of choices to do good things, but you gave little or no thought to if they were the best. The good will often be the enemy of the best. The best choices allow you to invest time with your Lord, and your spouse, and your children, all priceless, as opposed to spending your time on so many busy activities at work, at church, in the community, and at play.
So, when someone approaches you with an invitation or an opportunity, please remember to think through these three simple questions:
What will I wish I had done 3 weeks – 3 months – 3 years – or even 30 years from now?2
Is this good invitation or opportunity, but a potential enemy of the best?
If I say ‘Yes’ to this good thing, what best thing will I have to say ‘No’ to?
Please do not miss that: If I say ‘Yes’ to this good thing, what best thing will I have to say ‘No’ to?
And when you are tempted to do something hurried or busy or even sinful, put on your Breastplate of Right Choices by asking the Holy Spirit to help you see the potential consequences. Because you can choose your sins, but you cannot choose your consequences.3
- Randall Smith
- Susan Hilton – my sister
- Cubby Culbertson
- Eugene Peterson’s The Message
If You Want a Little More
Learning to follow Jesus and his “unforced rhythms of grace”4 will slow you down enough to see the potential pitfalls ahead of you, and enable you to make wise choices. God cautions us with this wisdom proverb:
“A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 22:3)
Allow me to rephrase this: “A thinking man or woman puts on his or her Belt of Truth each morning, by asking the Father for the power to see the truth, know the truth and filter the truth. This person then sees with clarity the potential pitfalls of this busy culture, and slows down. But the person who is not thinking keeps going busy and fast, and they, and their families, suffer for it.”
- Matthew 11:28-30 The Message