Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: 1 Kings 18:1-18, Psalm 125, and Ephesians 6:10-17
St. Paul’s armor of God passage is a favorite. It gets covered in Sunday school fairly regularly.
The thing about it, though, is that we seem to see it all as a defensive, passive thing. Put your armor on so you can hunker down and that mean old devil can’t get you. Just sit tight and eventually God will come and pluck you out of the situation.
That’s bad theology. God doesn’t want us to just sit there and wait for rescue. He wants us to be up and active. That’s why Paul tells us three times to stand and withstand. The word is an active verb, and the connotation is that we won’t just whimper and fall down, but that we will remain strong in the face of adversity and even advance on it. It’s one of those military metaphors that some people find troubling, but the truth is that sometimes that’s the best description. God doesn’t want us sitting idly by. He wants us out and active, taking the fight to the enemy. The best defense is a good offense, after all.
Face your fears. Be active, not passive. Don’t just sit and wait for Jesus to come; instead, be Jesus to all you meet.
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.