Wednesday, July 20

Beach Wear and Battle Gear

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. --Ephesians 6:13

Growing up, I participated in a long-standing summer tradition, "Wednesday Beach Day". Preparing for a day at Huntington beach was probably more complex than it needed to be, but that's just how we did things. My mom would pack an ice chest full of snacks and water to fend off fatigue and dehydration. We loaded our beach bags with magazines like "Brio" and "Reader's Digest". We piled the car full of boogie boards, lounge chairs and beach blankets, and wore our swimsuits under our t-shirts and shorts. This of course was not all we wore. The item of most importance to any beach-going Dutchman was our SPF 50 sunscreen (my mom jokes that she buys hers at the Dutch bakery). Add to that our beach hats, sunglasses, coverups, and dry underwear for the ride home, and you've got yourself a full-blown beach day.

It's a little bit ridiculous how much stuff we dragged along to the beach, but we were convinced that we needed every last article. As a Christian I sometimes find myself doing the same thing--I make a simple task difficult. I shy away from doing anything until I've gathered up anything I think I might need in order to survive in an unsaved world. There is one area however where it's utterly important that I have all the equipment I need. There's no room for shortcuts when it comes to preparing to set foot on the sands of a spiritual battlefield. When we put on the full armor of God, we are not dressing for a day at the beach.

Instead of sunscreen for protection from ultraviolet radiation, Christians need to cover ourselves with the shield of faith which will extinguish the fiery arrows of the evil one. Instead of flimsy flip-flop sandals, we must fit our feet firmly with the readiness of the gospel. More than a mere sunhat and sunglasses, we need to secure our helmet of salvation. There won't be much time for reading on this beach, unless you've got in your hands God's word, which is the sword of truth.

That certainly sounds like a lot of equipment to lug around, but sometimes, in fact, most times, a Christian's life isn't a day at the beach. However, if we are well prepared and well equipped, God gives us the strength we need to survive when we are fitted with the armor of God. We are geared up to be on the winning side of the world's most important war--the war against good and evil. When the battle is over, that's when we will fully appreciate our days in the Son.

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