25 March 2010

Drivers, Words, Armor and Hope

There are a lot of really bad drivers in Kentucky and I seem to be in front of and/or behind one each and every time I go somewhere. This is the only place I have ever been where you can literally watch while the wheels come off a car as it motors down the highway and the driver is sober but oblivious.

I am very thankful that my father, a truck driver for 50+ years taught me to drive defensively. He taught me that cars don't go out of control, people lose control. He impressed upon me the responsibility assumed by propelling a multi-ton motorized vehicle. You take your life and the lives of everyone else into your hands. If you learn good driving skills you also learn what your vehicle can and cannot do. Mostly you learn to watch out for the other guy- the other driver is the unknown variable.

I have wished on multiple occasions that I had a vehicle that was fully armored. One that I could stop on a dime when someone was in such a hurry to get where they are going that driving on my bumper might, in their minds, compel me to hurry with them. Or folks who cut me off. No need to hurl epithets at them, all they need hear is me yelling, "Ramming Speed!" What good are words when armor is involved?

Speaking of armor, I never realized until recently that Paul's admonition for us to put on the full armor of God came in the context of relationships. Not that the passage in Ephesians 6 doesn't stand well on it's own, but throughout the epistle Paul talks about relationships. He warns us about our words, deeds and attitudes with regard to one another and the solution for the hurts and troubles we will cause one another? Putting on his armor and remembering who the enemy of our souls really is.

Words... now they are something that can find a way through rusty armor. They can slice cheap armor like it's tin foil. Paul warns us to put on the full armor of God and lays out every piece we need starting with truth. Truth coupled with righteousness. Righteousness is truth employed. It's what makes the difference between just knowing the truth and being owned by The Truth. Each piece of protection is described for us so we will be equipped to adequately defend ourselves from our enemy and able to keep our relationships healthy. It is the piece de resistance - the 'secret weapon' we are given. All of the admonitions coming before are accomplished by acquiring and using each of the tools Paul describes here; truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, salvation, faith and the sword of the Spirit. Using only one or two leave us vulnerable. We need the whole ensemble.

In his book War of Words, Paul David Tripp says this:

"The war of words introduced in Genesis 1 and 3 is depicted throughout the rest of Scripture. We fight it daily in our own lives. Our words now divide, deceive and destroy. They are a world of evil, causing a world of trouble. Talk is not cheap. Its cost is great."

A little further on he says this: "Nowhere is our weakness more dramatically revealed than in our struggle with words. But we need not despair. Christ has come. He has lived, died and risen for us! In him we find not only forgiveness, but deliverance from sins of the heart that lead to sins of the tongue. In utter weakness, our hearts can be filled with joy as we reflect on the grandeur of Christ's provision. In him our words find their hope."

I use words more often and more recklessly than I drive my car. I have been hurt more by words than driving. I wish I had learned to use them more responsibly. Lord, I beg you to teach me to care more about the state of my armor and the words I use.


Matthew 12:36-37
36 "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment.
37 "For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."

Ephesians 6:13-17
13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil {one.}
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(NAS)

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rosemarie said...

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