10 October 2011

From the Evangelist Desk October 2011 article for the Magazine.

What Chance Have I Got?

I find myself sitting working at my desk and those around me sharing some gossip about another within the department. Although I know it to be wrong I listen in trying to keep abreast of the latest news. (I do have a theory though, that when people are doing the same to me, gossiping that is, it means at least they are not talking about someone else.

The day is continuing and we reach mid morning, we have a visit from a manager who seems very stressed and is undertaking the great art of transferral, that means because he or she is stressed, then everyone else must be stressed, which in turn helps alleviate their own stress. This is a good ploy, I feel bad, so I make you feel bad, which makes me feel better.

The day is going from bad to worse; I feel that I am loosing the plot. I’m being pulled in different directions; I am now being drawn into a discussion about worldly things, but sinful things at the same time. I am feeling hot, bothered and vulnerable. What can I do? What chance have I got to act as our Lord wishes me to act? There are so many things stacked against me, and I am feeling the pressure. Life in the general world is so hard, trying to fit in and not being counted as a freak is just as hard.

Then the temptations start, someone once told me that Satan does not have to work to tempt us, we do a good job all on our own. We only need to look at the seven deadly sins, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Although I try hard, and I don’t know about you, but on occasions I fail in all but one of the seven deadly sins. For some reason I am never envious of anyone or anything. How can I expect to be faithful to the Lord with so much setup to assist with my fall? I could become a hermit, or join a Silent Order of Monks I suppose, but how will this enable me to spread to Good News of our Lord and all that entails?

I feel so ill equipped and feel what is the point? What good am I going to do anyway? (By the way this is a story, you don’t need to worry I don’t really feel this way, the Lord is good to me with the blessings He gives each day.) Now back to the story!

As I said I feel ill equipped, small and insignificant. What chance have I got?

Ephesians 6: 13-17 (NIV)
13 Therefore put on the full armour 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Well just look at that, the Lord doesn’t leave me defenceless to face the world on my own. He is supplying me with all that I need to defend myself and others.

•    The belt of truth. With this belt we should be able to seek truth and speak truth. Challenge others truthfully for example the example of the gossiping, ask them how they would feel if the gossip was about them?

•    The breastplate of righteousness. We still use the breastplate today; it is now called body armour. You can see all the news reporters giving their reports from dangerous areas of the world wearing the body armour. Then as now this breastplate is designed to protect the vital organs of the body. So doesn’t it stand to reason that if we use the breastplate provided by God, it will protect our hearts and other vital organs against the cut and thrust of all the world and dark forces can throw at us?

•    The footwear. Any footwear that we are provided with by God must surely make us sure footed, firm in stance and with a grip that will never allow us to slip. This is where we believe in the Gospel and all the Lords teachings, standing firm in our faith.

•    The shield of faith. If we really believe and trust in the Lord, then the shield that He equips us with will deflect all the burning arrows that anyone may wish to fire in our direction. A shield is a mighty defence. Think of how in days of old the Roman soldiers formed a tight formation protecting themselves with a shield wall and roof. Steadily moving forward like a giant armadillo. So with this shield you not only protect yourself, you also protect others, it’s called team work.

•    The helmet of salvation. With the tailored made helmet fitting securely to our heads, all that we have been taught in faith and all that we need to grow in faith will never be able to be knocked out of us. The helmet will protect from the blows we often face in our daily lives.

•    The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. It has been a privilege throughout my life to witness the Spirit working in people, whether they were aware of this or not. Equipped with the sword of the Spirit to me means that not only am I able to defend myself, I can also disarm the aggressor and if really needed attack to affirm the Kingdom of God.

So what chance have I got? How can I make a difference? How can I stop feeling vulnerable and insignificant? One way I would suggest is praying to the Lord and asking Him to equip us with His whole armour. We can face any challenge within this world and the next.

Yours in Christ.

Rick Hayes

© Rick Hayes, October 2011