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.
I woke up a little before alarm went off this morning. At five thirty it was still pitch black and it took my eyes a few moments to adjust to my surroundings. In my world, my bed is the most crowded place I visit. Simone lay next to me, still lost in dreamland. Between us was Bella our grey and white cat, who realizing I was awake shifted her weight in hopes of getting pets. Behind me I felt Raposo, our orange male cat, who if you didn’t know it was a cat you would think it was just a big orange fluff pillow, was cleaning his paws. Perched on top of the head board was Kita, our black cat and the baby of the group. She likes to sit there and stare at us in a way that makes you feel like she is working out her details on a conquest of the house. Lastly, there was Cinnamon, our chocolate lab who likes to weave her way around our feet, who let out a deep breath and slowly opened her eyes and glanced at me with a look that said, “not yet, it’s too early to get up!”
In moments like that it is easy to forget that our journey is our own. From the moment we are born until we take our last breath we are sharing our journey with others, but still, it is our journey that we live and at the end of the day, when we stand in judgement, it is our own life, our journey, that we discuss with the one who created us.
With so much of our time spent with others, we tend to focus on the collective of things, and not so much the small parts that make up the whole. When we envision the war that is going on between God and the Adversary, we think about world moving events. We talk about earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and a multitude of natural disasters. We conjure up images of military conquests and battlefields.
In time I am starting to realize the reality that the war is much different. The battlefield is inside of each and every one of us and the war is being waged daily.
In Genesis we see an evil spirit in the form of the serpent using Adam and Eve’s ego to tempt them into doing something that is forbidden. We see it again when the Adversary tempts Jesus in the wilderness. Satan tries to appeal to Jesus’ ego.
On the flip side we see the holy spirit at work through Jesus as he reminds us to love our neighbors. But he doesn’t stop there. He tells us to love our neighbors equally as much as we love ourselves, essentially telling us to get over our ego.
This is where the war lies. We have all come across someone asking for help, they are hungry, they are homeless, they need transportation and on and on. How often do our instincts immediately go to the idea that it is a scam or that they are just going to spend the money or drugs or alcohol?
It’s like those cartoons we watched as children with an angel on one shoulder urging us to give food or money, and a devil on the other shoulder encouraging us to take God’s place as judge. Which spirit do we listen to and what are the consequences of our actions?
Sadly, it goes beyond just hurting ourselves, but it spreads like a cancer infecting all of creation. This is were Paul’s idea of the armor of God comes into play. If each of us changes our behavior in the ways he mentions, the battle shifts and the enemy is stopped in his tracks.
Today, I have taken a look at myself and examined my heart. I have believed that I was following the whisperings of the spirit. Now, realized that I am only listening to the tiniest fraction of what the spirit speaks to me. Unaware, I let the evil spirit work in me in insidious ways.
Today, I will step up my game as a warrior for God. I will strap on the armor and be more attentive to the Spirit of the One who Created me.
Will you examine your life with me today?