Weapons of Light

Last week I had an opportunity to speak with youth parents about their hopes and dreams for our youth group at church. We are in a season of transition and parent buy-in is the thing that will make or break our program. One mother was the parent of a High School senior and was very concerned about her daughter’s last opportunity to connect with a youth group before leaving for college. We talked about needing to arm our kids with Scriptural truths as they go out into the world, and I joked that the kids headed off to colleges especially needed strong faith “weapons of mass destruction” in their suitcases. College can be a time for even the ones who are strongest in their beliefs to wander, and so we want with all our hearts to prepare them through youth group in their high school years.

As I was driving home, I squirmed a little about my use of the phrase “weapons.” I had Ephesians 6 in my mind where Paul encourages us to put on the full armor of God, but I had some post-conversation second guessing about calling faith a weapon. Then I opened up today’s lectionary and read this:

Romans 13 (Common English Bible)

11 As you do all this, you know what time it is. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your sleep. Now our salvation is nearer than when we first had faith. 12 The night is almost over, and the day is near. So, let’s get rid of the actions that belong to the darkness and put on the weapons of light.

Thank you, Paul.

I love this phrase “weapons of light.” Indeed, that is what is needed to go into battle with every spirit and force of darkness, whether that is found in the secular world of a large university or the disfunction of a family or disharmony in at work. We are called to be bringers of the light and use that light as our sword and shield when necessary. In this passage, Paul is warning the Romans that the time and hour to stand up and fight for the Truth was upon them. Is there ever a time when we don’t need to be fighting for the light? I think not. I believe we are in such a time right now.

13 Let’s behave appropriately as people who live in the day, not in partying and getting drunk, not in sleeping around and obscene behavior, not in fighting and obsession. 14 Instead, dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t plan to indulge your selfish desires.

This is the week that the holiday season officially begins. Thanksgiving is the first day of a long season of celebration of the light. On Sunday, Advent begins. It is also a time of worry, anxiety, stress, and depression for many. Paul’s reminder of how to behave is spot on for where we are right now … especially the reminder to plan to not indulge our selfish desires! One small piece of pie is much better than three, people! But the central idea of being armed against the darkness shines through this passage.

Where will you experience darkness in this season? Can you bring light into somebody else’s darkness? Is there a particular weapon you need to pick up? Whether its faith, hope, love, gentleness, joy, perseverance, righteousness, truth-telling, etc., grab ahold of it today and carry it with you from now until the new year. Or better, forever.

Dress yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ and he will be your armor.

The Day is Near by Michelle Robertson