There’s Been a Recall on Your Protective Gear

These are dangerous days for loving people.

There are the greater dangers like terrorism, war, kidnapping, and disaster. There are the lesser but more personal dangers of car crashes, poor choices, disease, and financial ruin. And there are dangers that tear up our emotional landscape like broken hearts, betrayals, and emotional wounds.

It’s why we’re tempted to bubble wrap those we love.

It’s why we’re tempted to devise a form of self-protection, body armor, castle walls, a moat, a fortress, a stronghold.

We don’t like to hurt. Our loved ones break easily. We’re united in our desire to avoid loss and pain. We seek the cure.

The worldly wise barrage us night and day with what passes as good advice on this planet. Insure yourself against all harm. Surround your loved ones and your home with locks and alarms, with bank accounts and IRA’s, with low-risk, high-return relationships, with educations and secure jobs and possessions. Oh, and get that Jesus rider on your life insurance – that’ll cover you for eternity but don’t worry, someone else has paid the premium. Get yours now, lock it in the safe box, and be sure to pull it out on that day you exit this planet.

Fortify your defenses. That’s something we learn as children. Before we even know what life’s about, we pick up survival skills, perfect moves, and adopt stances designed to keep us safe.

Hide the real you. Lie, if necessary. If someone hurts you, hurt back, cut them out, or destroy them. Please others, all the time. Make yourself small. Don’t get noticed. Or puff yourself up. Appear larger than life. Keep ‘em guessing. Make ‘em laugh. Outsmart them all. Work hard. Keep your head down. Never risk loving in the open.

Exhausting, isn’t it? That’s because we weren’t meant to wear this armor. Self-protection is a lie from hell. Like a child in a burning house who refuses to leave the safety of the closet when the firemen come calling to carry her to freedom. She has found her place of safety and so she remains as the flames crawl up the walls and the smoke seeps in under the door.

Self-protection backfires.

King David knew this. Challenging Goliath – the giant making veteran warriors hide in their tents, the giant casting a shadow greater than their living God, the giant making so much noise the Israelites couldn’t hear the truth – in challenging Goliath, David risked his life.

“Take my armor,” said the king. And who wouldn’t? The king’s armor would be the finest, the highest quality, the greatest strength, designed by the best. But, when David put it on, he recognized it for the untested illusion it was.

David had experience risking his life. He’d fought bears and lions in defense of his father’s flocks. His only armor: his faith in God to watch over his life.

So, he returned Saul’s armor to him, rejecting self-protection for the only true safety – the fortress of faith in the One who holds our lives in His hands.

This same God, when David was on the run from Saul, consistently called David out of every human stronghold. God proved Himself to be all the stronghold David required and David testified to this in Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

And what about you?

What armor have you purchased from the world believing it could save you? To what stronghold have you fled believing it could keep you safe from the storm?

God loved David and so he chased him from the palace, from false safety, from self- protection and sent him on a wilderness journey so David could learn the only safe place is God. Has he sent you also to live in the caves?

What of your Goliaths? As they loom over you, do others toss their armor to you, tempting you to self-protect? Can you see the deception of it all?

God wraps Himself in light. This protective force is available for us, too, against the darkness. The armor of God is perfectly designed for battle. It is no lie. It doesn’t weigh a warrior down and it never fails.

These are dangerous times for a people called to love God, love our neighbors, and love our enemies. What leader would issue such commands without providing protective gear? But, when we try to fashion our own padding – from fig leaves or fake selves or false fronts – He’ll have nothing to do with that nonsense – He’ll foil it every time until we learn, until we say, “I can’t operate with this untested illusion you call armor. Thank you, but no. I’ll go with God and the armor He provides.”

They’ll laugh when you do. Or try to scare you. Or reject you. Call you crazy. Or take aim.

You’ll feel unguarded and uncomfortable out in the open. But when the spears and arrows fly, when the sword falls, when the well-aimed words head your way – Jesus will be your stronghold, your shield, your deliverer.

Good news, loved ones, your protective gear’s been recalled. Check in with command. You’re eligible for a free upgrade.

Hi loved ones, this post is about letting go of those things we think will protect us. I challenge you to ask God to show you what false shields you’re holding in front of you. Sometimes it’s our identities, our jobs, status, power on this planet, or our security. Other times, we hold loved ones up in front of us as shields and protect ourselves at their expense. Self-protection is no small lie. It  keeps us from one another, it keeps us from effective warfare, it prevents us from fully inhabiting God’s idea of us. It isn’t easy to relinquish our self-protection nor is it wise to stand unprotected on this planet. Ask God to guide you in this. Reach out to me if you want prayer. I do care. Pray for me as I let go of my false armor and learn to rely only on the armor of God. The day is coming, loved ones, we want to be prepared. Yes?


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1 Comment

    The Conversation

  1. Megan Vance says:

    Lori,
    You have hit the nail on the head with this one. I just read something by AW Tozer that basically said the same thing. How much time have I used up in this life just trying to protect myself? Thank you for sharing.

    Megan