Armor Of Hope

Dani Beth Crosby, Family & Communications Minister
ROMANS 13:11-14
Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep,
because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.

This year, many people have opted to decorate their homes for Christmas extra early, as a way to cope with these past 8 months of craziness. Everyone copes, responding to stress and overwhelming emotions, in healthy and unhealthy ways. I believe one way the Enemy has been spreading darkness in our world this year is by leading Christ-followers to escape their emotions and feelings of stress by numbing out—by selling us the lie that we just need to get by. When we believe this lie, we adopt habits of complacency. Our coping strategies will either help form us into Christlikeness or deform us, away from Christlikeness.

In his book, For The Love Of God, D.A. Carson writes, “People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”

Paul makes it clear in this passage, the key to avoiding a drift toward deeds of darkness is to intentionally arm yourself with the light of Christ. In one of his lectures, Dallas Willard once said, “God’s grace is not opposed to effort. God’s grace is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action.” It is through grace-driven effort we humbly put on the armor of light we need to withstand the darkness surrounding us each day.

Only the power of Jesus outshines the darkness. Faith-rooted hope is established on the unchanging, eternal character of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our hope is in the faithfulness of God, the power of Jesus, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit—this hope is firm and secure. If our hope is anchored to anyone or anything else, we will find ourselves adrift again and again. In the power of Jesus alone we receive everything we need for life and godliness. As we seek Him in faith, we are given the grace we need to add goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, and love to our armor of light.

John 1:5; Hebrews 6:19; 2 Peter 1:3-7