This morning I am thinking further on something I posted on FB late last night:
When I’ve armored up and forgotten that grace requires nothing of me. I must enter the process of remembering I can’t earn it. I can’t do enough to get it. He’s not even asked me to try. God just delights to give it. Can I be OK to let myself receive it? That’s the question! #gospelStarla Smith
Armor is a defensive covering. It is a means of protection and something that is “fit together” as the root meaning expresses. It has been used as a body covering in the wars of life for a very long, long time. Here’s the thing about armor though it is meant to be worn under certain conditions like in battle, when behind enemy lines, and when taking territory. Not in the middle of peacetime or in the day of rejoicing.
As I have been pondering armor, I sensed that we the people of God have been armored up for some time. I had been armored up. Armor in the right season is good and can save our lives but armor in the wrong season can cause us struggle and turmoil. I also sensed that God provides armor for us of a certain kind for each season. It is His provision for us to protect and guard us.
When we wear a provision for too long from a season that is over, it becomes like armor that has been made by our own hands. What I mean by that is when the provision of God is lifted then the armor no longer has His grace upon and it simply becomes a garment we wear. It not longer protects it destroys. It only wields self-power. David, just a shepherd boy, knew not to go out on the battlefield with the wrong kind of armor. If he wore King Saul’s armor it would not fit him and it would be a heavy burden instead. That is what it feels like when you wear armor that had been given as a gift for a particular season for too long. It just doesn’t fit well anymore and it becomes a burden to you and to those around you. That armor suddenly doesn’t serve you as well. It doesn’t protect as it did. It’s uncomfortable, and what happens when we are uncomfortable for too long without relief. We become complaintive, maybe even angry at seemingly light affliction, and defensive because we are now trying to do this in our own strength.
In Christ, we have a gift that has been given to us. That gift is grace. It was given freely. We can’t earn it. We don’t have to maintain it. We just have to be OK with receiving it. It is His love, His favor, and His help offered at all times if we will just lay the armor down. This grace becomes whatever is needed as provision for every season, as we walk with Him.
2 Cor 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Maybe you, like me, have gotten a glimpse of this out of season armor in operation. It lacks grace. Its telltale signs are pride and using the mouth to uncover what it finds to be wrong or weak. It exposes and forgets that love covers a multitude of sins. Grace covers the failure and the weakness of others with love. It is kind because He is kind and has been kind to us. Allow God to remove the old armor of the past season and receive again the mantle of grace. Grace requires nothing of me but to whom much is given much is required. Not to earn it. But to become it.
To become His agents of Grace!
It is His kindness that leads us to repentance. He doesn’t leave us wearing the wrong armor. He doesn’t forsake us and says too bad they didn’t get the memo for the shift in season. Instead, He calls and continually calls to His beloved, “Come to Me! I will give you rest!”
All is grace,