the Shield

Ever have dream where you are standing in the hallway of your school completely naked? How about the one where you have to give a speech and when you get to the podium you realize you forgot your socks and shoes, or worse, your pants? This kind of dream is actually pretty common and while some may have never actually had the horrible”everyone in my seventh grade class is staring at me” dream we all have had the horrible feeling of vulnerability. There is not much that is worse than the feeling of being exposed, open to assault, or vulnerable. It stirs up all sorts of emotions from fear to embarrassment and we experience these feelings in life whether it is waking from a terrible dream drenched in sweat, to starting a new job……exposure.
In our dreams no one ever shows up with a pair of pants, instead we are usually racing up and down the halls trying to hide behind a locker door. In life however, growth sometimes dictates for us to voluntarily place ourselves in positions of vulnerability. In our journey with God, exposure is a feeling we battle. Anyone who wants to move forward with God will face attacks from the enemy, and even some “friendly fire”. Maybe that is why this concept in my daily reading yesterday was profound to me. Maybe in my spiritual state of “standing in the hallway” I found the truth of  I Peter 1:5 to be an overwhelming promise:

who through faith are shielded by God’s power

until the coming of the salvation

that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

“Shielded” in this passage means a military force to protect, a garrison, an inability of the enemy to touch. So the visual learner that I am, I place the stick figure of me behind a shield that is labeled “God’s power”. Ahead of the shield you see the fiery darts of the evil one which is the ever-present temptation for discouragement, discontent and distraction by lesser gods.  The opposition comes by not just the world, but the Pharisees that opposes missional living.

 Stickfigure_Shield_by_Janus_Mirithriall

This promise alone makes me feel clothed by the Father.  No longer vulnerable I take up my sword…..but wait there’s more……..

 

By cross referencing this passage, I find that this shield, this power of God in my life, does more than just protect me from exposure to forces that destroy….oh yes, a cross reference finds us here in Jude 24:

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–

And furiously I scribble my next picture. It is  stick me with a Divine Shield protecting me from the onslaught of fiery arrows. AT THE SAME TIME now underneath me is a foundation supporting me. I cannot fall, slip or lose faith in this joureny as He is underneeath me. Before me as a shield, Underneath me as a foundation from ever falling and at the same time bringing me to the same expected end that we find in I Peter 1:5….Jesus, our eternal treasure.

success2
 
 
Now, with the additional promise that I am completely supported from falling, my vulnerability is a distant thought. Standing on The Father’s strength I find myself unafraid and unaffected with others thoughts of me, others opinions are not important. I am focused, not distracted…..but wait there’s more…..
 
Both of these tied-together verses promise the same thing. Both verses bring the believer into the presence of Jesus and there is not a hint that we find ourselves exposed and vulnerable in the last day in front of our Savior. Instead, the support of the Father in front of us and under us brings us face to face with Him. The Salvation. The Glorious Presence.
 
And we are not self-conscious, rather we are Jesus-conscious as we find ourselves without fault, because of Him. We find ourselves Full of Joy in this last day….. and we see then that the Father, in His great mercy has provided us with the clothes of sonship. We are no longer naked in the hall, hiding behind the lockers, or in front of everyone behind the podium. No, He has clothed us in His righteousness so that we can enjoy Him….on the Last Day and then forever……
praise
This makes me miss my Sunday School class so much.  Stick figures are most valuable in unlocking the mystery and treasures of the Scripture. One day, when life is a little less crazy, I’ll once again move my stick figures from my journal to the white board….one of these days….
 

 

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