Charles Whately: We all need armor against evil
Developed by Dupont in 1965, it was created to replace the steel belts in racing tires. Strong and durable, it was later used to make drumheads and even later to make canoes, replacing aluminum and fiberglass. It has even been used as a substitute for Teflon in cookware.
You might be thinking it’s hard; but it is, in fact, a very flexible, strong, tough, para-aramid fiber… called Kevlar!
Used now in body armor, it’s not designed to stop a bullet, but to slow it down and absorb the impact … saving your life and leaving a pretty good bruise to remind you it saved your life.
Paul warns the Ephesians to protect themselves, “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 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 6:10-20)
Kevlar stops the “flesh and blood” bullets to protect your body; but Paul says there are other “bullets” in life and they are not “flesh and blood.” They are the “powers of this dark world” and “spiritual forces of evil” and they require another type of armor … including a “belt of truth” to protect your reputation, a “breastplate of righteousness” to protect your heart, the shoes of the “gospel of peace” to protect your path, the “shield of faith” to protect your spirit, the “helmet of salvation” to protect your mind, and the “sword of the Spirit” to protect your faith.
Kevlar can be hot and bulky and sometimes a person is tempted to leave it at home. Spiritual armor can be time-consuming and requires a certain amount of discipline and sometimes we are tempted to leave it at the church. But Paul’s armor, like Kevlar, was designed to protect your vital organs … if you put it on and use it!
Charles ‘Buddy’ Whatley (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Woodland & Bold Springs UMC pastor, marketplace chaplain, and missionary to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.