Breaking in Our Armor

Part Two: What is "customized" armor anyway?

I mentioned the last time that our armor is customized. A friend of mine challenged me . . . four years ago now, to draw what I thought my armor might look like if God was designing it specifically for me.

While this is a four-year-old pencil sketch I unearthed three years ago and colored -- rudimentary at best and with a need to tweak, maybe even paint on a canvas at some point -- the basic concept is still intact.

The concept is this:

God knows us. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it, right up to how He chooses to clothe us for battle every single day. He knows what we need to wear and what we need to "take up."

I was reading a Priscilla Shirer devotional via @youversion on the armor of God.

In it she says this (and so much more you can find in the full study), "In Ephesians 6, Paul conveys the belt, the breastplate, and shoes as a spiritual uniform that should be worn by believers at all times . . . But with the shield of faith, he commands for it to be 'taken up.' "

We have pieces of armor that need to be put on just like the essentials of our physical clothing.

Referring back to part one, we're not going to leave the house barefoot; likewise we will not leave without our feet covered by the shoes of peace. We won't leave home without proper undergarments, so we also must dress ourselves with the breastplate of righteousness and that belt of truth.

Then clothed with the basics, it's time to grab/"take up" that shield of faith right along with your purse or wallet.

You want those fiery darts to fizzle? Your shield must be in place to block them like Nerf darts, bouncing those things to the ground while your stride isn't even broken.

You can charge your way through your day unencumbered when you are equipped.

We are not in the same situation David found himself in when preparing to fight Goliath and King Saul offered his ill-fitting armor.

God has armor for each of us. That's why He had Paul command us to put it on every day, just like we clothe our physical bodies.

Does that mean you and I will never stumble?

No, just because I clothe myself physically does not mean I always feel like I am perfectly clothed. Some days I feel thrown together and want to slink to the background, hoping no one really gets a good look at my "get up."

Those are the days you know you've put on something simply out of necessity. You dream of the moment all day long when you can go home and change into your comfiest pajamas.

Just because God crafted our armor specifically with us in mind does NOT mean I won't occasionally chafe against the restraints or feel weak under the weight of carrying that shield of faith. Or even more frequently -- that I won't feel like my sword of the Spirit is a foreign object in my hand -- when all I can recollect at the moment of greatest need is "Jesus wept."

My customized armor has to get "broken in," so to speak.

Like my favorite boots of all time, pictured here. I got these when I turned 40. They were NOT comfortable from the beginning. It took me no less than five or six wearings to start to feel like mine.

I kept wearing them.

I stopped getting blisters.

I kept putting a little sass in my step.

I kept getting compliments on them every single time I wore them.

Now they're 12+ years old and need to be replaced. There's a hole in the sole. The piping on the sides is cracking.

The scuffs and the memories associated with them are many, but they feel like they are part of me.

The same can be true from repeated wearing and wielding our Spiritual armor. We can use it, find comfort in it, break it in, and make it our very own.

We can withstand the "blisters", walk in it with spunk in our step, see it as our finest accessory, and welcome the compliments that come when others see us accomplish what we can only do when properly attired in the full regalia of our customized armor.

I don't know about you, but I want to stop stumbling around and acting like I don't have armor that fits. (Picture small, young David in King Saul's armor.)

I want to stop chafing and welcome the well-worn, comfortable feeling of armor I've suited up in daily, made memories in, seen more victories than losses, and visualized God's pleasure at battling in His strength instead of my own.

How can I do that?

I'll use my dearest friend, Mary Lou's word for the year: INTENTIONAL

I have to be intentional every day.

This week I've been going to Ephesians 6 first in my @youversion app. I've been reading and putting on those pieces of armor -- one by one.

Another great tactic to employ would be to put a visual next to the mirror in your bathroom. Post an index card or use dry erase markers on your mirror to encourage you to leave perfectly clothed -- both physically and spiritually.

These suggestions/recommendations are far from the end-all, be-all of wearing Spiritual armor. I'd welcome other ideas y'all might have that work best for you.

Together is better.

I'm always eager to implement new techniques to walk stronger, more purposefully, and if at all possible . . . with a sassy swagger to my red boot-clad step.

Still not feeling like this series is over, so stay tuned for a bit of a break down of each piece of armor God has gifted us -- focusing especially on that Sword of the Spirit part.

Leaving a trail of beauty~



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