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Armor All

August 27, 2018

Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. Ephesians 6:13.

Armor All is a line of products used to clean and protect cars—inside and out—to “prevent cracking, fading, discoloration, and premature aging.”  The product promises to protect your car from harmful elements such as ultraviolet rays and oxidation.  In addition to protecting our property, we work hard to protect our bodies from the effects of ultraviolet rays and aging.  We exercise.  We try to follow a healthy diet.  We apply potions to our faces to prevent cracking (wrinkles) and discoloration.

If only there was a salve to protect our faith from the onslaughts of daily life.  But wait—this week’s Scripture texts give us the formula.[1]  There are things we can do to prevent fissures in our faith journey. God has given us the tools to keep our faith fresh and new and to protect ourselves from the evil surrounding us.

The Old Testament reading points us in the right direction: “Keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you” (Deuteronomy 4: 2b).  Moses cautions us against editing God’s laws: “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it. . . “(Deuteronomy 4: 2a).  God’s law is eternal. It does not change.  So the first line of defense in our arsenal is God’s law.  If we follow his law, we are on our way to circumventing many obstacles we encounter on our faith walk.

The psalmist confirms that following God’s law is the gateway to protecting ourselves and leading us in the right direction: “Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.  The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.  I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.  Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.  Direct my footsteps according to your word . . . Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts” (Psalm 119: 129-133).

Jesus shows us the elements that we need to protect ourselves against.  Unlike the UV rays and oxidation in the atmosphere that you protect your car from, the things that threaten our faith come from within: “Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them” (Mark 7: 15).  The threatening traits that we harbor within ourselves are many–jealousy, pride, arrogance, greed, lust, envy, anger, and ambition–to name a few.

The Armor All logo depicts a strongman with a helmet, breastplate, and shield.  He looks like he could take care of your worst enemy.  One wonders if the idea for the name of the product and the logo came from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “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 . . . Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground . . . 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. . . 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” (Ephesians 6: 10-18).

God has given us defensive tools  (truth, righteousness, peace, and faith) as well as offensive weapons (the helmet of salvation and the Spirit).  The helmet of salvation is that sure knowledge and hope that we have in Christ Jesus—that he will one day carry us from this life to more life with him.

While reading this blog some of you have made a mental note to get to work on your car’s interior and exterior with Armor All or similar products.  Fine.  But don’t neglect to put on the armor that you need to protect yourself from the deadly rays of sin that can crack your faith, and make it fade ever so slightly every day, until God is a memory and is not a part of your everyday life.

Use the tools God has given you in your everyday struggles and in your battles with the powers of darkness that would destroy your faith and the Spirit within you.  Go into the battle of life with the confidence that God’s truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and the promise of salvation and the Spirit will keep you safe from any enemy you face.

Suit up.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1]The Scripture texts for Sunday, September 2 are Deuteronomy 4: 1-2, 6-9; Psalm 119: 129-136; Ephesians 6: 10-20; Mark 7:14: 23.

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