August 15, 2012

Starting off the Day with the Armor of God

"Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.  For our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits of the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.  So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of piece.  In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
-Ephesians 11: 13-17

The first time I heard this verse was in college, and the imagery of putting on the armor of God has stuck with me since then.  It's easy for me to identify with the feeling of spiritual warfare and the idea that the devil is constantly trying to attack me.  He wants me to fall from my relationship with God, and it starts with some of the smallest things.  Sometimes it's thinking something negative about myself or another person, sometimes it's feeling discouraged and disheartened when I see what's going on in the world and in our culture, and sometimes it's frustration or irritability with the little things in life.  I've noticed that this seems to happen the most when I do not start off my day with God, when I just go about the busyness of my day without taking the time to talk to him. 

When I do start off my day with prayer and reading the Bible, I really and truly feel like I have a shield around me for the day.  No matter what happens to me, I am able to remain positive knowing that God is with me in all that I do.  This probably sounds hilarious, but sometimes I really do feel like the girl in this picture...
SciFi and Fantasy Art Norse female warrior by Lauge Drewes

...ready to take on the world and to battle anything the devil tries to throw at me throughout the day!  Not only that, but I think it greatly impacts my productivity, my attitude, and the way I treat other people.  It enables me to prioritize and keep my focus on the more important things in life. 

However, it's definitely much easier said than done to start off the day with God.  It's easy for me to make excuses - "I'm too tired," "I'll do it later tonight," "I'll do it after a few minutes on the computer."  I've been trying to come up with ways to make sure that I pray and read the Bible in the morning.  Some things I've found helpful are leaving a note on my computer that tells me not to get on my computer until after time with God, doing better preparation at night for the next day so I have time in the morning, and going to bed earlier so that I feel more refreshed in the morning.  It's also just helpful for me to recognize the fact that my days are way better when I feel like God is shielding me from evil. 

Do you spend time with God in the morning and do you feel like it impacts your day?  Do you have any practical tips for making sure God is a priority in your schedule? 

"God will rescue you from the fowler's snare, 
from the destroying plague, 
will shelter you with pinions, spread wings that you may take refuge.  
God's faithfulness is a protecting shield.  
You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day."
- Psalm 91: 4-5

8 comments:

  1. I used to have that passage of Ephesians posted in my dorm room in college along with St. Patrick's breastplate. :) (The two go together.)

    One of my first stops online is Our Daily Bread (http://odb.org) which gives me a short devotional and Bible passage. I tend to pray in spurts throughout the day which helps.

    One thing I'll go back to doing when Daniel is in school is doing Morning Prayer with my Episcopal priest friend. It's scheduled time to pray and hear God's word which keeps the two of us sane.

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    1. I love that you had it posted in your dorm room. I need to check out that website!

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  2. Good food for thought! We always end the day like this but never start the day (besides a quick prayer at breakfast)... probably because we almost always go to bed together (unless he closes at work) but rarely get up together since our morning work schedules are pretty different. I do love ending the day with scripture, prayer, reflection, etc., but now I'm wondering how much more awesome my day could be if I started it that way!

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    1. I do think different times of prayer work better for different people. A lot of people are just not morning people either and do much better with reading and prayer in the evenings.

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  3. Great post! And yes, it is SO important to start with God right away in the morning. "Putting on the armor of God" is such great imagery, and that armor gives us what we need.

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  4. As a mother of 4, I find it soooo helpful to get up about half an hour earlier than everyone else and spend some quiet time in prayer. Although, sometimes I multi-task and with the treadmill going it is not all that quiet! Have a great day!

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    1. That's so awesome that you get up before all of them to pray! I multi-task as well. Sometimes Thomas and I pray together on our runs.

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