Location: Grocery Store
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)
"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" (Eph 6:14-16, NIV).
It was a lazy Saturday and my husband and I desperately needed creamer for our coffee (I can’t drink my morning coffee without my special flavors!). So, we headed to our neighborhood Kroger. As is custom during #Covid19, we put on our masks as we were about to enter the building, solemnly preparing ourselves to smell our own breath for the next twenty or so minutes and thinking note to self: put some essential oils in your bag next time to put on your mask…
As I walked down the aisles, I couldn’t help but notice all the people wearing masks around us. I started thinking about the purpose of the mask. The purpose of healthcare workers wearing a heavy duty mask like the N95 or surgical mask is so that you don’t receive the potentially deadly coronavirus from others (1). Similarly, when you wear even a simple cloth mask to the store, it helps you from spreading the virus to others (2). Masks can protect you and masks can protects others.
I couldn’t help but think this is what the armor of God does, too. When we put on the full armor of God we not only protect ourselves—we also protect others. Everything we do impacts those around us. We often tell ourselves the opposite to justify our behaviors thinking well if I do this I’m not hurting her or you know what, I’m actually saving him trouble by deceiving him…but the truth is, when we sin we hurt others and ourselves. If I’m wearing the belt of lies around my friends instead of the belt of truth, then I could potentially damage relationships I’m in, as well as damage myself because I’ve lost those relationships when the lie backfires. If I’m wearing the breastplate of unrighteousness at work, I could damage not only me and my reputation, but also my company, my boss, and my coworkers.
Therefore, when we put on the armor of God, we can stand firm knowing that we are protecting ourselves and others from the forces of evil. And this protection fits us to be ready for the gospel of peace—the promise of full restoration and reconciliation with God and others.
"...this protection fits us to be ready for the gospel of peace..."
You see, by wearing our masks to protect us and others from coronavirus, we are preparing to live again in community. However, we can only live together in community again—hugging and touching without masks—if we are well and whole. If there’s still a contagious virus going around, we cannot live together like we used to; therefore, we need the protection of our masks to make us ready to live in communion with one another.
This is what happens when we put on the armor of God. Through seeking truth and righteousness, we are journeying to wholeness and becoming more like Christ. We are slowly preparing for the Kingdom to come where we will live in perfect peace and communion with God and with our neighbor. So, why not start putting on that armor today?
Gracious God, thank you for giving us the living example of living in righteousness and truth through your son Jesus Christ. May we clothe ourselves with Christ everyday, seeking to protect ourselves and others from evil and preparing to live in the perfect peace to come. Amen.
Reflect: Practically speaking, what does it mean to wear the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness? What steps can you take today to ensure you are wearing them? How will this protect you and others?
(1) Mayo Clinic, "COVID-19: How much protection do face masks offer?" Accessed July 26, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-mask/art-20485449
by Erica Smith
Nature noticer, contemplative wannabe, coffee drinker, wine taster, and novice painter.