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Yesterday, while I was reading what the Apostle Paul wrote regarding making sure we are fully armored-up, it dawned on me that my armor is old, rusty, and dented. Yes, old armor is better than no armor, but mine is ugly. Really ugly.
For a long time, I’ve been in the battle.
Battling evil in this world and beyond.
Battling the nasty ways of others.
And battling my flesh (which is not nearly as satisfying as battling yours).
At times, I’ve grown weary in well-doing. It’s not as easy to swing the sword as it once was. Frankly, I’m a mess. A bloody mess.
If you’re reading this and thinking, What’s wrong with him?, then you’re probably a bit too young to understand. Give it a few decades, and you’ll figure it out.
If you’re reading this and wondering, He probably has sin in his life!, then you’re right, I do. But we all do. Wrestling with sin will always be a present reality on this side of eternity.
One of my favorite authors and bloggers, Scott Saul, recently wrote, “Ironically, the more like Jesus we actually become, the more unlike Jesus we realize that we are.”
When I was young, I thought way too highly of myself. Now, I realize how kind and merciful God is to this recovering idiot. Every stinkin’ day.
In his blog, Scott also pointed out that “Even the greatest heroes of faith were also flawed and broken—wrecked, weary, restless, and sometimes tortured sinners—even at their spiritual peak.”
So, what do ya do when you’re blemished and battle-weary?
Here’s what I’m doing:
- Remain hopeful. Don’t despair. No matter how ugly the battle is now, it’s only temporary. Seriously, eternity is just around the corner. Hang in there; heaven’s coming!
- Stay the course. Don’t give up. My armor may not be pretty, but it’s never been about me or about looking good. I live to serve the One, and He’s never going to leave my side. Please don’t forget that you and I aren’t in this war alone. When we are weak, that’s when we realize we’ve never been that strong anyhow. But He is.
- Keep fighting. Don’t let your guard down. Okay, you’re old, tired, and beat up, and you don’t shine like you used to (or thought you once did). As my friend Jack Little used to say, “Keep swinging the sword!” King David blew it in his old age because when he should have been at war with his troops, he was lounging on the rooftop drinking Mai Tais. Stay in the battle. Always. Keep. Fighting. (The alternative is worse.)
- Maintain vital connection to others. Don’t get isolated. When you’re tired, the temptation is to withdraw and hide. We tell ourselves (or the enemy whispers), You just need to be alone. The greater your weariness, the greater your need for connection to others who can stand with you and hold you up. I love the story of how Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses when he no longer could. When you’re pooped, you need more support, not less.
For the record, I’m good. I’m not suicidal or on the brink moving to a cabin in the wilds of Canada. (I’m too old to learn how to speak Canadian.)
As it happens, my dents just remind me—all the time—of how much I need Jesus—all the time.
Here’s a crazy idea: maybe my beat-up armor is a badge of honor that should remind me that God has always been faithful to me. He’s always been my strength and my shield. He’s always been my helper.
So, fear not, I’m alive and kickin’.
And still in the fight.
All because of Jesus.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
Psalm 28:7 (NIV)