Monday, March 08, 2010

Escaping the Ring of Fire

It seems that every day I hear of another man who has lost his job, who in danger of losing his home, who has a serious medical issue, who has a family on the verge of collapse, or who has some other crisis in his life.

I get the image of an epic adventure where the hero of the story must complete his task. He is running a life or death race, embroiled in a good vs. evil struggle; we've all read the books or seen the movies. In my version of this grand adventure, the hero finds himself in the center of a fierce ring of fire. His enemies have him hemmed in on all sides. He's surrounded. No matter which direction he may turn, he still faces the fire. The only way to escape the ring of fire, is to go through it! Only, how will he get through the fire to continue his quest? Does this warrior have a chance?

When Paul wrote his letter to the church at Ephesus, he gave a long list of instructions, for husbands and wives, children, bondservents, and masters. As important as these instructions are for everyday life, Paul then offers very plain speech about how to handle times of crisis in Ephesians 6:10-18. Paul's discussion here is specifically toward defending against the evil powers that exist in this world. Because we contend in this world, then it is difficult to separate the tumult that happens in everyday life from the evil that exists in a fallen world. God's armor readies us for such battles.

I cannot help but to apply this sage advice to my epic hero. All of his armor faces the enemy. Whatever threatens him, he must face it, head-on. But the good news is that he can use God's armor to shield himself when it is time to go through the ring of fire!

Thankfully, as God's mighty men, we do not face these battles alone; EVER. First, the only offensive weapon in God's armor is the Spirit inspired scripture. It is our guidebook for life and it holds the answers we seek. Also, Jesus, our savior, sanctifier, healer and coming king calls us brother! He walks beside us on every journey and is our help in every struggle. He offers to provide rest for us when the battle is long.. And even though all of our armor faces forward, we have the God of all Creation watching our backs!
I lift up my eyes to the hills — Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
-- Psalm 121:1,2 NIV