Sermon Illustrations

Coil And Spring! (11.07.05--Christian Soldiers!--Ephesians 6:10-17)

As I walked with her this morning in the dim morning light, she trotted obediently at my side. There was no pulling on her part. She simply walked obediently at heel anticipating each new smell that wafted through the nearby meadow grasses. Then, without warning, she snapped the leash back, wrenching my shoulder behind me. Tail alert, ears lifted, she stared at the shoulder of the road just several feet in front of us. Something had spooked her and she was in a defensive position, uncertain of what she had to do.

I still could not see what she had seen and was irritated a bit with her sudden lurch. I spoke to her quietly and stroked her back. “What is it, girl?” She looked up at me and then quickly returned her gaze to the shoulder. Then, as suddenly as she had gone into that lurch backward, she leaped forward with a growl and a snap. Defense suddenly become offense and I now found myself pulled forward as opposed to backward. Finally I saw it; white stripes vaguely visible against the dark background of the gravel. A big old skunk was waddling in our direction and Jetta was not about to let it pass. A reassuring word from me was all that it took to transform her fear into aggression.

As Christians journeying through this world, we are often confronted with evil that suddenly comes from out of nowhere and threatens our peaceful walk. Like Jetta, we are often pushed back and afraid when it is something we can’t see clearly or understand well. What does God want us to do when we are faced with evil threats? Martin Luther writes “(Christians) must be warriors, always equipped with their armor and weapons, and that the lot of a Christian is no leisurely existence, nor one of peace and security; rather he is always on campaign, attacking and defending his positions. . . ‘(you) are in my army and under my flag; see to it that you are on the look-out for the enemy, ready to defend yourselves against his angels, for he is never far away from you.’ As long as you do that, you need have no fear.” (Sermons from the year 1544--W.A. 49. 583 f.)

Jetta and I finished our walk. Her defense as well as her offense saved the both of us from getting sprayed. The skunk ambled down the shoulder and disappeared into the meadow. A Christian’s walk is no different. God certainly expects us to be ready to defend ourselves against the evil in this world. Yet, He also wants us to go on the offensive and attack that evil whenever and wherever we can. When it comes to the evil in this world, Jetta’s example is a good one. There is nothing wrong with recoiling from that evil; as long that recoil is a springboard to action, not retreat.

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