Editor’s Side Note: Susan Wilson, author of the newly released Gourmet Meetings on a Microwave Schedule, says of going out in the sun, “Three items that are nearly always with me when I’m in the sun are sunglasses, a visor or cap, and Neutrogena moisturizer with SPF 30. A dermatologist said there's no need for expensive moisturizer- that this is great. And I think he's right!

The Body Beautiful/Spiritual

When we’re outdoors, playing or working in the hot sun, we are at war with an enemy we can’t see. We are not aware of UV rays until we see the damage they’ve done. There are times when the damage is irreversible. Some are not.

The same is true when it comes to our spiritual skin. When we’re “in the world,” we find ourselves at war with an enemy we can’t see. Listen to what Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus:

            Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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.

I suppose you could say that the “full armor of God” is high SPF in your spiritual foundation.

Paul describes the armor of God as this:

1.     The belt of truth buckled around your waist 

The Gospel of Christ is the belt of truth. Question is, how well do you know it? Recently the Bible study group I lead watched The Gospel According to Matthew, which stars Bruce Marchiano and Richard Kiley, and is—in my humble opinion—the best Bible-story movie ever made! As we watched the movie we also read from the book of Matthew with me handing out interesting facts, etc. along the way. What surprised me most was my discovery of how little I knew the man, Jesus. Know the Gospel! It’s your best weapon of defense!

2.     The breastplate of righteousness

In the ancient Middle East, a soldier’s breastplate was made of iron and was fashioned in such a way as to protect the body from the neck to the middle and on both sides. Figuratively, our spiritual breastplate of righteousness wraps around us, protecting us from the arrows of our enemy. Righteousness has been cleverly defined as “right relationship with God,” and in essence means that we are living a life which is holy and acceptable to God. The opposite of this term, I think, is “live by the sword, die by the sword.”

3.     Feet shod with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace

Just as those in military are prepared to march, so should we be. Our “shoes” or “sandals” come from having both heard and understood the gospel of peace. Paul called it a peace that passes all understanding. In the midst of battle, we are at peace because we serve the Prince of Peace.

4.     The shield of faith

Hebrews 11 begins: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. It’s amazing what we can endure when our shield is up. “Enemy, no matter what, I believe…I believe.” That may be scary to even think about saying, but raise that shield anyway. Nothing but nothing can get through it.

5.     The helmet of salvation