Lovely Intangibles: The Most Practical Weapons

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Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, -Ephesians 6:13-17

One thing that always stands out to me about the armor of God is the nature of these weapons that are given to us to resist the flaming darts of our greatest enemy. A supernatural villain seeks single-mindedly to destroy us and yet we were not given superpowers with which to combat him, not wealth or position or influence. not physical armies. We are given faith, we are given truth and peace, righteousness and salvation.

A supernatural villain seeks single-mindedly to destroy us

It reminds me of one of my favorite classic holiday films, Miracle on 34th Street, where Doris, the pragmatic leading lady rails against her idealistic love interest when he appeals to faith and love as priorities over financial good sense:

“Oh, Fred. you're talking like a child. You're living in a realistic world and those lovely intangibles of your are attractive, but not worth very much. You don't get ahead that way.”

And I can imagine God responding as Fred does,

“That all depends on what you call ‘getting ahead.’ ”

What we are really tempted to wish for is not more practical gifts from God, but more autonomous gifts from ourselves

You see, when we acknowledge God as the all-powerful and all righteous alpha and omega, creator and ruler of all things, what can be more practical, more realistic, then making use of the provision given to us by the very creator of reality? The truth is that the weapons that we, in our flesh and with our earthly created minds, may be tempted to wish for are fleshly weapons, weapons of our own creation, weapons we imagine that we provide for ourselves.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, - 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

What we are really tempted to wish for is not more practical gifts from God, but more autonomous gifts from ourselves. We are wishing we did not need to rely on him at all. When we are tempted to dismiss the divine gifts sent to us by the uncreated one as frivolous or impractical, we are denying our dependence on Him, which is to say we are denying reality itself and all it hinges on. The prophet Isaiah gives a sharp warning to those of us tempted to provide for our own weapons for our own defense:

Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant?

Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches!

Walk by the light of your fire,  and by the torches that you have kindled! This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment. - Isaiah 50: 10-11

 In a created world, what could be more pragmatic than faith in its creator?

God has chosen the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, which is another way of saying that our minds are not like His mind and that what seems like foolishness to us is actually wisdom. To put on the armor of God is to lean not on our own understanding but in all our ways to acknowledge Him. Indeed, in a created world, what could be more pragmatic than faith in its creator? Let us reject the urge to autonomous self-provision and instead choose true wisdom by fearing the Lord and daily putting on the weapons of his warfare.

posted by Daily,
October 29 18

Daily Nourish serves to encourage Christians to honor God with all their heart, mind, soul & strength and to love their neighbor as themselves. Thanks for stopping by!


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