During this week’s study of Come Follow Me for Individuals and Families, we read about putting on the “Armor of God.” In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul names each piece of the armor, advocating that we be “girt with truth” and carry within our hearts the “gospel of peace.” Paul’s message carries even more meaning today it would seem, as so often we need to gear ourselves up sometimes simply to face the day.
We live in such a wonderful and blessed time, with so many opportunities to do good as soon as we walk out the door. However, it is important that we remember there are many influences out there that are simply trying to distract or discourage us. Now more than ever, when we wake up in the morning we are feeling the need to follow Paul’s admonition to put on the whole Armor of God. Here are some ideas and practices to help put your armor each day:
“Girt about with truth.”
We live in confusing times, and the idea of finding real truth can seem incredibly difficult. However, we have access to the purest truth on this Earth, and it’s found in the scriptures. Though our days may seem incredibly hectic, making sure we add our personal scripture study to our schedules can drastically help our spiritual health. President Russell M. Nelson once said:
“I promise that if you study the Book of Mormon every day you will make better decisions every day.”
“Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly a message of peace. It is a message of simplicity, compassion, and calls for us to realize the good that is found within us. In today’s world, we all could use a little more peace. Taking time out of our busy days, especially when we wake in the morning, to remember the message of peace that’s found in the Gospel, we can better prepare ourselves to face the day. We can take joy in the little things that are true gifts when our perspective is set on those things of an eternal nature. The Savior performed the act of the Atonement so that we could live a life where happiness and peace can be found even in the darkest of times.
“Taking the shield of faith.”
When so much in life seems to be seeking to bring us into the depths of discouragement, our faith in God can truly feel like a shield, protecting us and keeping us standing in the face of adversity. When we leave to face the day, our faith is one of the most important things that we take with us out the door. When we remember and stand for our faith, we often find greater confidence in ourselves and what we are really capable of. President Thomas S. Monson said:
“As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.”
“The helmet of salvation.”
Recent studies have shown that young adults that are being diagnosed with anxiety and depression have doubled since 2009. We live in a world where mental health is something that, thankfully, we have become far more aware of then in years past. We are actively having wonderful discussions in schools, churches, the home, and even General Conference about the need we have to acknowledge the power of our minds when it comes to mental health. At times we can feel as though our head is in complete turmoil. We can feel completely exhausted mentally and wonder where we can turn to have some sort of protection for ourselves. The Plan of Salvation, like the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is a message of peace. It reminds us that this life we are living in was created by loving Heavenly Parents, who care deeply about our happiness. Remembering that They are real and that Their plan for us is one of happiness can be very much like a helmet that protects us from the difficult days when our mental health seems to be under attack.
“The sword of the Spirit.”
Our greatest gift and tool at our disposal in putting on the Armor of God is the gift of the Spirit. When we leave to our face our busy days, we all are in need of that calming and guiding presence of the Spirit. When we start our day with prayer, add our personal scripture study, and often reflect on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we can carry that Spirit with us as we go through our day.
As Paul taught in Ephesians, we all have the need to put on the whole Armor of God as we go out to face the world each day. When we decide to put the Lord first in our busy lives, we invite His love and Spirit to more fully enter into our hearts and influence so many of our decisions for good. As you go through this coming week, reflecting on ways you can more fully put on that Armor can be a wonderful way to more fully invite those peaceful influences of the Spirit into our day-to-day lives.