“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
(Ephesians 6:13, NIV)
On Long Island, where I lived for most my life, I enjoyed my garden’s flowers from early February, when the snow drops raised their sleepy heads up out of the soil, through the early part of November when the last of my ivy geranium blooms would cling with tenacity to their lanky stems.
My love affair with plant material began when I was in my early 20’s. I would follow my green thumbed mother-in-law around her gardens asking questions, questions, and more questions. One of the most important tips I learned from her “schooling” had to do with the staking of plants. She taught me to be proactive with plants which had a tendency to bend to the ground under the sheer weight of their blooms, or those taller ones that would be damaged by the high winds of a summer storm. By providing them with support stakes or having them grow up through cross-hatched, metal plant rings—way before they reached their mature height, and at a time when they didn’t require any support—I could protect my beloved blooms from future destruction all while maintaining their natural form throughout the season.
Around Memorial Day, visitors to my garden often remarked how amazing it was that my peony flowers were held high on their stalks, smiling upwards towards the sun. In contrast, theirs were bent low to the ground with the first heavy May rain they encountered. The secret, I shared with them, was having an early established, undergirding support system—a cross-hatched, metal peony ring. This “hidden support”, carefully and purposefully placed, made all the difference.
This plant principle led easily into an analogy I would then share with my curious guests—one which I have found to be true throughout my Christian life. The simple truth is that if you and I are going to be able to stand our ground in the face of life’s stresses and strains, then we need to have a structurally sound support system in place.
In Today’s Truth, Paul encourages believers in Jesus to put on the full armor of God because the day of battle is most certainly coming. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, and finally (the only part of the ensemble that’s meant for specifically for offense), the sword of the spirit…which is the WORD OF GOD.
The Bible teaches us that it’s only when we have pre-dressed for battle that we can truly stand firm in the face of adversity. Friends, the sheer weight of everyday life can pull us down—way down—and the high winds of dissension, disease, and disappointment can topple us for sure if, and only if, they find us unsupported.
As this New Year begins, let’s you and I purpose to stand our ground. Let’s discipline ourselves to shore up our prayer lives, dig deeply into God’s Word, and cultivate the character of Christ. Then, when life presses in hard against us, while we may be “hard pressed on every side, [we] will not be crushed!” (2 Corinthians 4:8)
Lord, You are the Master Gardener. From the time You spoke the Garden of Eden into existence right up into our present reality, You, Lord, till the soil in human hearts, deposit the seed of Your Spirit in those You chose, and water us with Your Word. May we always seek to find our support and our strength in You.
In the powerful Name of Jesus,
Now It’s Your Turn: Being dressed for battle before the battle begins is always wiser than running off the battle field in search of your armor. Is there a chink in your spiritual armor where you’ve left yourself vulnerable to attack? What one step can you take this very day to be better “dressed” for your future?
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Get Healthy for Heaven’s Sake (Harvest House Publishers) is one of Lisa’s six books in her Restoring Your Temple® health resource collection. Her books are available on Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, or wherever books are sold.
Lisa Morrone, PT is a physical therapist, professor, author of six books, radio guest and event speaker who encourages people to “Get Healthy for Heaven’s Sake.” Visit Lisa’s website for more information and to sign up to receive her informative “Monday Morning Health Tips”!