Advent | December 18, 2017
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Dressed with the Armour of God

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

The Advent season draws our attention to the coming of the Prince of Peace and Joy (see Isa. 9:3, 6). In the African culture and many others, Christmas comes with lots of expectations and anxieties such as the focus on business and the local economy, family reunions, connections, and, of course, the costs related to holiday celebrations. Most importantly, people want to have new household items for Christmas, including clothes. However, Christ’s coming this season encourages us simply to be dressed decently in all that we do and say, and to walk humbly with him in the ministries he has called us to do. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reminds us how we should spiritually be dressed for the battle right before us: “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” (Eph. 6:13).

I am reminded that the full armour is meant to protect me and make me alert and ready for my battle ahead with the forces of evil. There should be no compromise at any level of my thinking (head), feelings (heart), and actions (hands) in doing what God calls me to do.

Here is a recent story and encounter. I had just returned from a long week of field visits to the communities and households we work with to rebuild, renew, and restore the food security situation in war-impoverished areas. Following an evening walk, I had an encounter with a security officer providing services for one of the guesthouses in the town of Gulu in northern Uganda where I had come to spend a night. As I passed by this man at the entrance of the guesthouse, I felt an urge to spend some minutes with him. As I listened to his thoughts and feelings, I recognised a sense of frustration and dissatisfaction. These feelings had led him to despair; he was engulfed with a sense of hopelessness and a loss of direction for his life. He was contemplating doing away with his life, should he be pushed to the limits by his work. Amazingly, he was armed, well dressed in security attire, and equipped for the job. However, from within he was lacking, bleeding, and empty.

Having listened through his sharing, I drew his attention to the story of the Israelites and the consequences of their negative behaviour and practices—consequences that affected the entire nation of Israel. Some key questions came into my mind:

  • How often do we celebrate Christmas and yet are not so different from this man’s experience?
  • Do we take ownership of the sinfulness at the individual and corporate levels that has led to human suffering in our time?
  • What appropriate response does God require us to take?

When I was about to depart from him, the man drew closer and asked, “What can I do?” I drew his attention to Christ, the Prince of Peace and Joy, who mends the brokenhearted and restores the lost to hope. He was invited into this promise.

Dear God, help us to use the opportunities you avail to us to heal the wounded and mend broken relationships, and may this Advent season bring peace and joy. Amen.

Joseph Mutebi has worked with World Renew since 2008. Based in Uganda, he supports community transformation and organizational capacity development programs with partners of the Anglican Church of Uganda. He and his wife, Robinah, will be celebrating 30 years of marriage this year. They have three sons and two adopted children. In his words, “Immanuel—‘God with us.’ What a joy to do something that makes God smile!”

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