10 Feb Robes vs Armor
“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.” -Ephesians 6:13
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” – Revelation 7:9
Right now, I am sitting in my robe, drinking coffee and writing this devotional. It’s 8:30am. The house is still and quite – no kids, no tv on, just a sweet, peaceful morning.
No, I’m not at home. I’m at my friends’ house in Northwest Arkansas. Yesterday, I had the amazing opportunity to attend church with them here in Fayetteville, and the preacher said something that has really stuck out with me ever since. He said
“We don’t know much about heaven, but we do know that will wear robes there. Robes are for resting and lounging and generally being comfortable, right? Too often I see Christians trying to wear robes on earth when we are supposed to be wearing armor here. Robes are for heaven – we need to be ready for battle while we’re here.”
Rarely do I ever get the chance to lounge around in my robe for most of the morning, so I’m pretty happy to be cuddled up in the quiet, getting some work done. I’ve never really been into robes, actually. One of my sisters takes a robe with her on every vacation, but it was never really my thing. But, I bought this robe for myself at Christmastime and now I can say that I have officially become a robe person! It’s the perfect thing to wear when I’m resting, but not sleeping.
And that is exactly what we’ll wear in heaven! We will finally REST in the presence of God, worshipping Him with everything we have, yet filled with peace, love, and joy. No need to get dressed or present ourselves a certain way – no need for comparison or to prove anything with our outerwear… We will wear robes.
And while there’s certainly plenty of moments in life where rest is imperative (God, himself mandated that His people rest every 7th day by honoring the Sabbath), we also carry a burden to go to battle on behalf of what is good, true and loving while we’re here on earth. So often we see people accept the grace of Jesus and then put their robes on and rest in it that we tend to forget that, while we’re here in this broken world, we should be arming ourselves for battle daily. The forces of this world are always working against what is good, true and loving – and these things are worth fighting for.
Paul tells the early churches often that we are like soldiers fighting for the sake of Christ; that we are to arm ourselves with all that is good and pure, covering ourselves with courage, and look at this world and the lives we live here as a battle. We are to fight battles for his sake.
So what types of fights or battles are we talking about? Aren’t Christians supposed to be loving and peaceful – yes, absolutely. But this broken world we live in is constantly trying to rip apart all that is good so that simply loving well or being kind or choosing joy requires the energy, endurance and courage of a soldier going to battle.
Here’s what we should be fighting for:
-Justice for those who don’t have a voice
-Biblical truth – that what is being spread among believers is actually biblical
-Love, reconciliation, and peace within ourselves and others*
-Our internal battles between all that is pure and good versus temptation, sin and the forces pulling us away from it all
-The internal battles that those we love who are also in the church face, as we walk with them in love and accountability.
*Somethings reconciliation looks like the internal battle of forgiveness and loving form afar. If you are in an unsafe relationship, please seek help from someone on the outside.
Fighting these battles and putting on the armor of God isn’t always easy and it certainly isn’t the “cool” or “sexy” thing in the eyes of the world. In fact, persecution is pretty much guaranteed. Jesus, himself said “blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,” and Paul’s life alone shows that wearing the armor while here isn’t all roses.
But, the robes will be worth it.
I remember coming home from the hospital with my babies after labor and delivery. My body was aching, sore and tired. My eyes and head exhausted from deliveries and lack of sleep (no one sleeps great in the hospital). I remember just how amazing it feels to get into my shower and rinse off, put on my clean and cozy jammies and lay down in my own bed. I can imagine that the moment we arrive in heaven will feel like that x100! The robes will be worth it.
Until then, we fight the good fight, we run the race, and we keep the faith.