I'm sure most, if not all, have heard the saying, "Dress for the job you want." What does this mean? If you're applying for an executive position you will need to wear a nice suit, but if it's a maintenance position at a factory you still want to dress nice, but a suit might be a little overkill.
In our weekly prayer email, I spoke of Ray Kroc. Ray is the founder of McDonald's, but Ray didn't start franchising McDonald's restaurants until he was in his 50's. Before that he worked for a company called the Lily Paper Cup Company. During his time there, Ray rose through the ranks of sales positions to the point that Ray had an entire sales team under him. He always told his staff,
"I stressed the importance of making a good appearance, wearing a nicely pressed suit, well-polished shoes, hair combed, and nails cleaned. "Look sharp and act sharp," I told them. "The first thing you have to sell is yourself. When you do that, it will be easy to sell paper cups."
The same should be true for us. If we want to share God's Word, we must be equipped to represent him to the people we're sharing to. In Ephesians 6:10-18 speaks of The Whole Armor of God.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
The world is going to try and throw us off our game. They are going to try to trip us up, find the weak spot in our armor, expose us, but as long as we keep on the entire armor of God, we will be able to withstand the evil and stand firm.
Ephesians 6:14-18 goes on to explain what the armor of God is:
14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
Let's circle back to, "dress for the job you want." God commissioned all of us to (Matthew 28:16-20) to continue His work here on Earth. The job we want is to be followers of Christ. The good news is that we don't have to apply! No awkward interview. Give your life to Christ and begin living a life committed to His plan. For us to do this, we must understand His armor we're wearing
Belt of Truth - Our Biblical beliefs aka our faith. Without the belt of truth, our entire armor will not stay on or will flop around exposing weakness. The belt of truth keeps all that we believe in place.
Breastplate of righteousness - This righteousness is given to us by Christ and give us a general sense of confidence, an awareness of our standing and position.
Shoes for readiness - Preparation or prepared foundation. We must have the correct "shoes" on which to stand firm in our faith in Christ no matter what circumstances we come across.
In all circumstances we take up:
The shield of faith - Back to those that want to "throw us off our game." The shield of faith will protect you from the evil this world is going to throw at you. A life lived fully committed to Christ is not a bed of roses. In fact, Christ tells us it will be the exact opposite.
The helmet of salvation - The helmet of salvation protects us against discouragement, against the desire to give up, giving us hope not only in knowing that we are saved, but that we will be saved. It is the assurance that God will triumph.
Sword of the spirit - AKA the Word of God. To effectively use the sword, we must regard it as the word of God - which is the word of God. If we are not confident in the inspiration of Scripture, that the sword really came from the Spirit, then we will not use it effectively at all. But we must also take the sword of the Spirit in the sense of depending that He helps us to use it. Not only did the Spirit give us the Scriptures, but also He makes them alive to us, and equips us with the right thrust of the sword at the right time.
When I go out for a ride (mountain bike), I envision myself putting on The Armor of God. I have my helmet of salvation, shield of faith, the sword of the spirit, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, and shoes for readiness. When I'm on the trail, I want to embody Christ to everyone I meet. You never know when you'll have the opportunity to share God's Word. Be prepared, have your armor on at all times and in all circumstances yield your shield of faith, wear your helmet of salvation, and carry your sword of the spirit!
As Ray Kroc said,
"The first thing you have to sell is yourself. When you do that, it will be easy to sell paper cups."
Embody Christ, Dress for the job you want (or commissioned for) aka put on His armor, and be prepared to share at the moments notice (or as Matthew Allen would say, "always have sermon locked and loaded.")