I learned a great lesson today.
Fairly consistently, I am telling people to Armor Up. There are a couple references to why I say that, but the one I am thinking of when I say it 99% of the time is from…
Ephesians 6:13-17 “Therefore put on the full armor 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. 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.”
When it feels like you are being “hit from all sides” remember this verse. When you feel a bad day starting, remember this verse. Imagine putting each of these items of armor on. Visualize it!
Back to what I learned today. Though I am always saying armor up, I never thought about having to take the armor OFF. Sometimes we can use armor as a shield or wall. We can hide in it.
If you have a Bible, grab it and turn to 2 Kings 5. It’s in the Old Testament, which is the first book in the Bible. Don’t worry if you have to look in the Table of Contents, we all have to start somewhere!
Now there is a LOT of juicy stuff to talk about in this chapter but we are concentrating on Naaman. He was a super star as a commander of an army. Everyone thought he was amazing. What they didn’t know, was that he hid having leprosy. Back then leprosy was a sign of being unclean or sinful. He had to hide it under his armor. When it came to the point of starting to be able to show, A servant girl told him she knew of someone that could help him. She sent him to Elisha a profit (this is the abbreviated version). Elisha didn’t even come to the door, he sent another servant to tell Naaman to go wash himself seven times in the Jordan.
This enraged Naaman. How dare a servant be sent to talk to him. Like he’d ever do something like go exposed himself, and the leprosy he carried, in front of all at the river! IF the request was to do something great and noble, that would be easy, but to bare himself and show his “sin”?! That was a LOT.
He ended up trusting the advice, and being completely healed. How? It took him having to do something uncomfortable and scary in order to be cured. The prophets, who were directed by God told him he would have to do something difficult to reap a great reward, he did it. As a commander, he went down to the water….TOOK OFF HIS ARMOR for all to see, and continued to follow the direction of washing away the disease.
If God asked you to bare your sins for all, so you could be healed, could you? Would you do something hard, if it meant growing with Him?
What if that means daring to be a little more authentic with the people around you? What if it means forgiving someone who has hurt you? What if it means seeking help for alcohol? Drugs? Co-dependence? What if it means you let someone know you battle depression? Porn? What if it means letting someone know you need financial direction? When If it means asking for help with your marriage?
Can you trust God to help you, when you take off your armor?
What I learned today…God wants the absolute best for us. Sometimes that means taking us through challenging times…to get us to the place He wants us to be. We need to trust Him and pray for discernment (fancy word for insight or understanding), strength and direction.