You must travel with your swords always drawn, and you may as well throw away the scabbard, for you will never want it.”
“Our Life, Our Work, Our Charge” August 4, 1867
Dress for Success
It’s cheesy, I know, but I love to watch the Golden Globes and the Oscars. I can’t help myself. All of those beautiful gowns and beautiful shoes draped on those beautiful people dripping with blinding bling. It’s like candy for the eyes! It’s not that I want to be one of them. I don’t. It’s not that I’ve seen the movies they’re touting. I haven’t. It’s not even that I approve. I don’t. But for us materialistic fashionistas it’s hard to resist. At one point in my life I could look at a designer gown and with stunning accuracy tell you who the designer was, not because I’d worn the clothes, but because I had studied fashion magazines like my life depended on it and followed every major designer I could through books, the internet and TV.
While my arsenal of design knowledge increased, my knowledge of Christ, His Word, and the power that is mine through the Holy Spirit, tanked. I became wrapped up in who I was externally completely ignoring who and what God had called me to be as His child. Though I looked completely put together on the outside when I left my house everyday, on the inside I couldn’t have been more ill prepared for whatever the day had for me. Countless books have been written on the armor of God. I’m not sure I could tell you anything new on the subject so instead I will show you how doing the opposite affected my life so negatively. This is the first in a two-part series on the armor of God taken from Ephesians 6.
If the truth sets us free, as Jesus says in John 8:32, then the opposite holds us captive. Instead of the belt of truth wrapped around my waist, I had bought into the lies of Satan that I was only as good as my reflection in the mirror and the number in my bank account. In my teenage years I spent precious gray matter obsessing over the cover models on magazines, wishing and working to be something that I found out later didn’t even exist. Airbrushing. I will admit as I get older a little bit of the magic of airbrushing would go a long way in compensating for my serious lack of being photogenic.
Financially speaking, over the years I’ve had plenty of money at times and none at all at other times. In both instances the desire for it quietly and seductively slithered to the throne of my life making promises it could never fulfill. If I had more of it I’d be happy. If I had it invested correctly I would be safe financially. The truth is, my financial security comes from God.
In the Easy-to-read version of Ephesians 6, verse 14 refers to the breastplate of righteousness as the breastplate of right living. Right living means many different things. In my life it meant reigning in the spending and chasing that which is deeper than skin. Instead, I spent money like the prodigal. When I finally ran out, I had nothing to offer God but my repentance and the begging for mercy.
In verse 15 it says “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”. Practically speaking, my feet spent more time walking through stores than they did carrying the gospel to my neighbors. I realize that a good pair of shoes can transform an outfit, but feet that bring the good news of Jesus can transform a life.
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news” (Isaiah 52:7, NIV).
“Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:5,6 The Message, Italics mine).
In the movie, Confessions of a Shopaholic, the main character is among hundreds of women standing outside a huge department store waiting to get in for the sample sale. The doors open, and madness ensues as they push and prod their way to the racks hoping to score the deal of the century on some designer threads.
Sometimes I feel like that’s how I go through life, spinning my wheels, rushing around at breakneck speed. For what? Not only do I find myself at times with my breastplate of right living dangling loosely from its intended spot, my feet aren’t carrying the gospel with nearly the amount of urgency they do when pursuing selfish ambitions.
In the next post we will finish our study on the wardrobe essentials needed to live this life successfully. In the meantime, some food for thought: the breastplate of righteousness belongs securely fastened across the chest, covering the vital organs it protects, the heart and lungs. Where’s yours? Is it securely fastened in place? And what about your feet? What are they pursuing, selfish ambitions or lost souls?
“The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires” (Prov. 11:6, NIV).