In his early years of Little League baseball, my grandson sometimes played the position of catcher. Catchers must be strapped into equipment that protects head, body, and legs; but the miniature baseball players had not yet learned to put on all that gear in the few seconds between innings. So after that third out, two of the coaches worked quickly and efficiently to position, strap, hook, and tie the catcher’s protective armor before he moved out onto the field to take up his position.
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
For a few weeks, I had been turning to Ephesians 6. In an ongoing battle, I knew I needed the armor of God; I labored over the passage, time and again, struggling to find fresh energy, insight, and strength from those verses. I wanted to put on the armor–but the battle was not going well, and discouragement nibbled away at my faith.
Then came a series of meditations on a blog I follow — lessons from Ephesians 6! The writer who shared through the internet his understanding of that chapter had no idea I needed help in donning God’s armor. The Spirit did, though, and He gave me the help I needed. On those pages I found the new inspiration I sought, and the Spirit used another disciple of Christ to refresh me in the battle.
Right here, I want to stop and say thank you to every one who encourages others in the family of faith, whether by writing, music, prayer, leadership, teaching, counsel, quiet words of encouragement, hospitality, or simply sharing words of positive faith. You may never know who you have helped or what your actions or words have meant to someone else at just a certain time.
Paul writes to the church, So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. (1 Thess. 5:11)
Like those little Little Leaguers, we can help each other suit up for battle. Many times, we need our brothers and sisters to help us into protective armor. Some days, we cannot quite fit the belt of truth around us; or in a long battle, we give in to weariness and lower our shield of faith; or perhaps we need the help of others in sharpening our sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
To Philemon, Paul wrote:
Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people. (Philemon 1:7)
How wonderful that we can refresh the hearts of others on this journey as we use the gifts God has given us! We might think it is a simple thing, just a word here or a song there or an act of service that takes only a few minutes. Or we might think what we offer is ineffective or insufficient. But when we live by the Spirit, our encouragement of each other can produce great harvests.
Recently I spotted a sign in front of a church that said
For every Goliath, there is a stone.
True. But sometimes we need a brother or sister to hand us the exact stone at just the right time.