Safe Harbor (by Len Winneroski)

image2We recently replaced our 2010 van with a brand new 2019 Subaru because we wanted to get a vehicle that is safe, gets good gas mileage and is all-wheel drive. We love our new car (no, I’m not being paid by Subaru to write this).

It is amazing at how technology has changed since we purchased the Honda van eight years ago. I normally don’t buy the extended warranties (except for appliances but that is blog for another day), but I did this time! The reason that I bought the extended warranty is because this new vehicle is like a computer on wheels. I figured that if the computers in our new car are like the computer I’m currently typing on, I’ll be calling Subaru IT before the warranty runs out.

I know that this is blog is starting to sound like a car review, and that you may be starting to yawn, but please hang with me because I will land this thought plane soon. This car also has jaw-dropping safety features like; 1) Standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, 2) Subaru DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System, 3) Subaru STARLINK Safety and Security, 4) All-Around Awareness, and 5) LED Steering Responsive Headlights and High Beam Assist.

Isn’t it amazing at the lengths that car manufacturers will go to invent new technology to scan the surroundings to help keep us safe? I mean this car stops itself when you are backing up if you are about to hit something. It automatically turns the steering wheel if you veer into another lane without putting your blinker on. It alerts you when another car is in your blind spot. It has cameras to sense the environment in front of the car so if you are using cruise control, and come up on another car, it will automatically slow the car down to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you. Folks, I can’t make this stuff up and you can come drive our new car if you don’t believe me or go test-drive a new car if the junker in your garage needs to be upgraded.

As amazing as the safety features are in new vehicles these days, God has equipped His people with an even more impressive safety SPIRIT of God to protect us and keep us safe from Satan and the evil forces that would like us to crash and burn (literally). Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us that God has not left us alone and vulnerable to Satan and the evil in the world around us. Those of us who confess our sins and believe in the strong name of Jesus Christ are protected by the Holy Spirit and the armor of God.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 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. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always leave my house in the morning with my spiritual armor in place. Most days I leave my house with 5 minutes of Bible reading, a 20 second gunshot prayer, and an “I got this” attitude, which leaves me very vulnerable. Vulnerable to “the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world,” that fight against Jesus Christ and His brothers and sisters who are bold enough to claim His name and encourage others to claim it too. Living life without putting on my spiritual armor is arrogant on my part and not too clever I must say.

We don’t “have this” people. We don’t have this at all! I’ve never been in a physical battle before, but based on reading and listening to the experiences of others who have, war it is not glorious or something that we should wish on anybody. War is violent. War is bloody. War causes you to do things that you didn’t think that you were capable of doing and then you have to live with the mental and moral consequences of what you were forced to do to protect yourself, or your fellow soldiers, for the rest of your earthly life.

If you think that I’m being a little melodramatic this morning, I would ask you to consider the following. If you are a Christian and are not currently experiencing any spiritual persecution be thankful. But could it be that you are not experiencing any spiritual persecution because you are either too self-absorbed or too far away from the spiritual battle line? Maybe the enemy is not too worried about you at the moment because you are not much of a threat to him. We didn’t have to worry about women and children during war until the modern era. Now seemingly innocent people can walk up to soldiers with a smile and blow them up. The same is true in our spiritual life if we are not alert and armored up with the armor of God.

Spiritual soldiers need to be brave.  Spiritual soldiers need to have armor because when they are close to the battle line they will be in danger. Spiritual soldiers need to use common sense and listen to the Holy Spirit to know when to run and when to stand and fight against the spiritual forces of evil.

God’s people must fight evil with 1) truth, 2) righteousness, 3) a gospel of peace, 4) a shield of faith, 5) a helmet of salvation and 6) the sword of the Spirit, which is the very Words of God found in the Bible. We need to fight evil with our backs against the backs of other believers who are standing up with us against the spread of evil in the world.

Friends please know that no matter what happens to us in his life it is not the end if we are in Christ. Peace comes after war and life comes after death for those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. How do we know when to run and when to stand and fight? Prayer, Bible study, and slowing down long enough to be able to hear and respond to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit who resides within us.

Yes, sometimes God wants us to seek a safe harbor because it’s not our fight. It’s Gods fight. But sometimes God wants us to leave the safe harbor to be used by Him to push back the forces of evil or to rescue our fallen comrades who are in the trenches moaning and crying out for medics and reinforcements. Thanks for “listening” and don’t forget to put on your spiritual armor when you leave the safe harbor to face the world today!

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