Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Kids Choose Their Weakest Arm to Hold the Shield of Faith…Interesting

So every morning when I wake my children to get them ready for school, I am attempting to put on their armor of God. The goal is that one day they will apply it themselves and remember it throughout their day. My daughter is right handed, and my son is left handed -- sort of. They choose their less dominant hand to hold the shield of faith…every time. Their weakest arm is what they choose to hold the shield that protects them. Personally, I enjoy helping them put on their shields because I pinch on their “muscles” under their arms and say, “You call this thing a muscle? I thought it was spaghetti!” And of course, I have to tickle them. But I point out how they lack strength in those arms and how we need to “pump them up.” I explain that their faith is the same way. The more you use the shield of faith, the stronger you are and the better equipped you are to extinguish the flaming arrows. The more your faith grows, the bigger the shield to protect you. The shield will cover more territory…if you know what I mean? The older I get the more territory I got.

In order for your faith to grow, however, you have to endure hardship. James 1:2-7, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” James 1:12-17, “A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. No one undergoing a trial should say, ‘I am being tempted by God.’ For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempts anyone. But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires.” (This would be those flaming arrows.) “Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers. Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning.”

Our faith in God grows through persevering through trials. God can use our mistakes and bad choices to grow our faith, or He can allow things to happen in the natural course of events to grow our faith. When we make poor choices, IT IS NOT GOD’S FAULT what happens next. When we take our focus off of God and we wander away from what is right, then we open ourselves up for attack. Our weaknesses are exposed. Sometimes things just happen in life through no fault of our own, and we have no choice but to grow in our faith. The stronger our faith becomes that bigger the shield we can carry. New Christians or children carry smaller shields, but as they grow in their faith, they change out their shields to larger ones.

Ephesians 6:16, “In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Kind of reminds me of the commercial for Mastercard – “Don’t leave home without it.” You will have the opportunity to use your faith in EVERY situation. 1 Peter 3:15, “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” People are watching how you live out your faith. They are watching to see how you will respond when you don’t get the clean bill of health, when your car breaks down, when your spouse leaves, when your child rebels. They are watching to see how you are going to live out your faith, and you have to be ready to give an answer to them for how you are portraying Christ. Your shield of faith has the crest of the One you serve. So if you are serving Jesus, just be ready to explain how it is you can endure, how you can have hope.

I wonder what God’s crest looks like. I think God’s crest is the same for me as it is for you regardless of where you are, who you are, or what you’ve done. God is just that way. He loves you just as much as He loves me, so I think the crest is the same, but I think the look of the shield may vary. For example, my mom has fought stage 3 breast cancer. Her shield got pretty beat up during the fight, but she held strong to her faith. Are there dings in her shield from the fight? I bet there are. Badges of honor. The shield did its job. Her faith in Jesus, in God got her through the fight of her life. I know of a woman who was abused by her husband who had countless number of affairs. Do you think her shield may have gotten banged up? I bet it did. Here’s the thing, the shield is like a Timex. It takes a lickin’ but keeps on tickin’ meaning your faith is made to endure. God doesn’t expect you to have the faith of a warrior if you’ve never been through the fight. He gives you what He knows you can handle with HIM. He is your shield. You have to have faith in Him that he’s going to take of it. He’s got this problem in front of you. The metal of your faith will be tested, but you will find that God doesn’t skimp out on the armor. There is no defect if you will use it properly. If you hold a shield by propping your elbow on your waist while your hand holds the shield – is that a good stance to defend yourself? Or should you have a fierce grip standing firm? Exactly.

See, you thought this was going to be blogs good for you to teach your kids, but it’s really for you, isn’t it? Model this for your kids. When tough things happen, tell them, “I’m choosing to pick up my shield of faith. I’m going to trust that God’s got this.”

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