Summary: We need to put on the full armor of God, and not the armor of the world, in order to succeed in life.
As a drunk man staggers out of a bar, a firetruck races past, siren wailing and lights flashing. Immediately, he starts chasing the engine, running as fast as he can until he finally collapses. “If that’s the way you want it,” he yells, “you can keep your stupid ice cream!”
It’s amazing how blinded we have become in this world. We see fame and fortune with non-spiritual eyes, and think that’s what life is all about…………..
Buechner, Frederick. The Magnificent Defeat.
We walk down the streets of a city – not just the poorer streets either – and the faces come at us like dead leaves in the wind, one face so much like another in its emptiness and defeat that it takes the most concentrated effort to see it as a human face at all, unique, individual, like the face of no other human being who has ever lived or will live. These are the invisible men of our world; we look at them without really seeing them. We fight to be visible, to move into a place in the sun, a place in the family, the community, in whatever profession we choose, a place where we can belong, where there is light enough to be recognized as a person and to keep the shadows at bay. We feel that we must conquer a territory in time and space that will be ours. And that is true. We must.
If that is the goal of this war of conquest that we all must wage, there are also the adversaries with whom we have to wage it; and they are adversaries of flesh and blood. They are human beings like ourselves, each of whom is fighting the same war toward the same end and under a banner emblazoned with the same word that our banners bear, and that word is of course Myself, or Myself and my Family, or Myself and my Country, Myself and my Race, which are all really MYSELF writ large.
…it is the war of flesh against flesh: to get ahead, to win, to gain or regain power, to survive in a world where not even survival is had without struggle.
…what is the armor to wear in such a war? Not, certainly, the whole armor of God here but, rather, the whole armor of man, because this is a man’s war against other men. In such a war, perhaps, you wear something like this. Gird your loins with wisdom, the sad wisdom of the world which knows that dog eats dog, that the gods help those who help themselves and charity begins at home. Put on the breastplate of self-confidence because if you have no faith in yourself, if you cannot trust to your own wits, then you will never get anywhere. Let you feet be shod with the gospel of success – the good news that you can get just about anything in this world if you want it badly enough and are willing to fight for it. Above all, take the shield of security because in a perilous world where anything can happen, security is perhaps what you need more than anything else – the security of money in the bank, or a college degree, or some basic skill that you can always fall back on. And take the helmet of attractiveness or personality and the sword of wit. In a world where the competition is fierce, to dress well, to be able to speak well on your feet, to be good at games, may actually make the difference between winning and losing. In the war of conquest, that is to say, in the war that we all wage for a place in the sun, it is the armor of man rather than the armor of God that will serve you best; and although I cannot value that armor as highly as some would value it, I also cannot mock it because the armor of man serves its purpose all too well, and because I wear some of it myself, and so do you.