Words almost escape me, ALMOST.
Rude, selfish, self-absorbed, obnoxious, and unbelievable are the words that immediately come to mind while shopping with my daughter and grandchildren after we mistakenly left the stroller at home.
Have you ever gone shopping for clothes with an enthusiastic four-year-old & a one-year-old that must be carried at all times?
It is almost an impossible task.
The harsh words form because the store provides special shopping carts that allow children to ride freely and provides space for your items to be purchased.
The problem- there isn’t a single kid cart to be found because ALL are being used by women that have NO children and using the kid space for storage.
They are having a pleasant shopping experience without a worry in the world because their hands are free, no screaming, whining children to either hold or herd around the store.
What rubs the salt in the wound, is they push their kid cart right by us as we struggle and juggle the kids and clothes and they don’t give a second glance! They are so self-absorbed in their little world they might as well be walking around naked; utterly oblivious to the world around them.
I kick myself for leaving the stroller at home and smart over the discourtesy of others.
We quickly shop and leave.
What lingers, is this idea of battle when we venture out into the world and how we should conduct ourselves; reminding me of Paul’s instructions for being prepared and putting on the “Armor of God” in 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.”
For this particular day, the breastplate of righteousness seems particularly fitting.
I know the word "righteous" gets a bad wrap in our society as it calls to mind a superior attitude, but the Biblical meaning of the word is "doing or pursuing what is right."
Being “righteous” is being kind, thoughtful, generous, not cutting corners, not being lazy, not lying, not cheating and keeping your word.
Being righteous can be found in the little things like not cutting people off in traffic, holding the elevator door, not taking the last kid shopping cart when you have no children, not parking in a handicap spot, and not reacting in angry outbursts when people are rude and inconsiderate!
Simply put righteousness is "doing the right thing!"
Do you realize that when you leave your "breastplate of righteousness" off, you leave your heart unprotected? When unprotected we are vulnerable to the attacks of evil, and it is much easier for us to allow our iniquities to run rampant.
We become thoughtless, callous, rude, self-important and self-absorbed.
We overreact and unnecessarily confront others.
We harden our hearts and damage our relationship with Christ.
All of the pieces of armor are important for us to wear on a daily basis (truth surrounding us like a belt, breastplate protecting our heart, wearing spiritual shoes to help us spread the gospel of peace to others, shield of faith to protect us from both physical and spiritual dangers, helmet of salvation to keep our minds from discouragement and despair and our offensive sword of the very word of God to empower us to handle any situation!)
Not putting on our armor, we might as well go out naked. Blind to those around us, vulnerable to the evil in this world and powerless to our own weaknesses and iniquities.
Please, don’t go around naked! What you choose to wear impacts not only you but those around you!
Armor of God- don’t leave home without it!
Father, thank you that you equip us to face the battle that is this life; from pure evil in the world to the discourtesies of others. Help us, Lord, to be aware of our actions and our own choices. To utilize the equipment you provide and to daily look to you for our strength, resource, provision, and protection.
“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’” ~Romans 4:20-22