You all know my story, and my fear of flying. And here I am preparing for another flight, and excited about my destination. Today, as I have been again reflecting on a trip I took last year, and also taking a deeper look at the armor of God, I am going to share with you how the armor of God helps me to combat fear.
I am remembering the lesson I learned on a flight last year, because the purpose of this flight is the same… to see my friend for her birthday. And the excitement is keeping me from fear right now. Last year, I was reminded of the verse Hebrews 12: 2-3. Let us throw off everything that entangles us so that we can run the race set before us, for the joy set before us. (I promise this will be my last plane story for awhile!…I think)
Joy is set before me right now. And so many times I am distracted from that because my focus is not on that joy, which would be my destination. My focus is on more of what is going on around me in the moment. My fears, and what ifs that could happen. And my distraction by the wind and the waves can cause me to panic. (You can read a little about one of my finer moments here…)
And Peter began to sink, because he didn’t keep his focus on the joy set before him… you know, walking on water to get to Jesus!
But here is the thing that God made clear to me.
God wants us focused on the destination. Jesus. The finish line. Heaven. Eternal life. And we are here getting caught up in what goes on in the in-between. And I am not talking about the good things, what God leads us to do. I am talking about the things that keep us from the freedom that God has given us.
Freedom from fear, freedom from sin, freedom from the what ifs… because even our worst what ifs, don’t remove God from His throne. Our fears and hurts may waiver us, but they don’t leave Him shaken.
I will tell you, when I am focused on the destination, my race is a lot more joyful. Because I know the purpose of the race. I know what it set before me.
So forget what goes on around us. It is a distraction. Mean people, fear of ____ (fill in the blank). Those are things that keep us running the race as we should. With endurance… with confidence… with peace…
For me that makes all the difference. Jesus, and making His name known. And we will do that when we keep our eyes fixed on Him alone.
How The Armor Of God Helps Me Combat Fear
For me with flying, there are things that I need to do (or not do) leading up to my flight that help me keep my focus on the destination. I have to be careful with what I read, or not read. What I see, or not see. What I listen to, or not listen to. I need to be careful with my time and who I spend it with.
In reality, it is like the armor of God. In all honestly, I can’t run my race (or withstand a battle) without the armor. I won’t be able to stand firm with my eyes fixed on the joy set before me, if it is not securely in place.
So I want to share with you about the 2 pieces of armor that have helped me the most this week, as I have prepared for an event, and also my trip (that both happened on the same day).
We Can’t Run Our Race Without The Armor Of God
The breastplate was fairly heavy and protected soldiers in the most vital places. Two of those most vital places are the heart, and the lungs.
Proverbs 4:23 says to “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Leaving our heart vulnerable to attack, has pretty great consequences. A soldier could survive with an injury to the arm, or even legs, but an attack on an unprotected heart, would leave them deeply wounded at best.
The breastplate also served as protection during unexpected attacks when you didn’t have time to pick up your shield.
So Paul tells us to to have the breastplate of righteousness in place. Righteousness is the condition acceptable by God. This is the way we live but also something that is credited to us by our faith, when we follow Jesus. It protects us in the most vital places in our life from attacks. This is because if we go into our day without the breastplate firmly in place, the enemy will take us down in our most vulnerable places.
Continually seeking righteousness protects us from the consequences of sin, and should be our response to the grace God lavishes on us.
What does this actually mean? It means that by faith, we live in accordance to God’s word, and make decisions based on His word. We can ask Him to give us strength to live in a way that honors Him, to act justly, love mercy, walk humbly, and love others the way that Christ loved us.
Righteousness keeps our way straight, and ensures we walk securely. For me this has played out in combating my fears with being careful with what I watch, listen to, and how I’ve spent my time.
If you know me, you know that a lot of times when I feel insecure, I wear heels. It is very rare that I run an event in sneakers (that happened only once), because for some reason I feel more confident in heels. That brings me to the second piece of the armor of God that I am focusing on today. Feet fitted with readiness of the gospel of peace.
Shoes that Roman soldiers wore were protective and supportive. They had thick leather soles, and had iron studs to help a soldier to have firm footing. This was designed in a way that make it hard to walk backwards, making it more beneficial to continue in battle than to turn back. Backing down in the face of the enemy would leaving a soldier more vulnerable in an attack because his back had little armor on it.
Paul’s answer to this is…
Paul says that we should clothe ourselves with feet with with readiness of the gospel of peace. Here is the significance of that. Without peace we can become shaky in our standing when we are facing a battle ahead. But with peace, we can be supported and protected to keep moving forward in battle, and we can be confident in our standing with God. That is He is for us, who can be against us? Peace protects us from wanting to run in the face of resistance. and that He is for us, so who can be against us?
My hope for us all is that we all understand deeper the significance of the armor of God, so the armor of God can help us combat fear, and help us walk securely and protected in what He has for us.