[Help puting on the full armor of God]
We don’t like the word “struggle” (at least I don’t, and I’m assuming I’m far from alone in this thought), yet all of life–in a nutshell–is a struggle; we like to call it survival of the fittest. Fortunately, fitness has nothing to do with our true survival. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12), and our strongest impenetrable shell (of protection) is the full armor of God–that is, if we choose to wear it (Ephesians 6:13-18). As I look to seek the light, I turn to sources that I can trust; first and foremost, that’s God. I also turn to long-standing friendships because they’ve always been golden and have only proven to push me closer to my Creator.
One of those friendships is the very reason that I write today and the reason why I aspire to be a better writer. Though I took to poetry at a fairly young age, it wasn’t until I met Chuck on a Christian networking site (in 2006) that I began to write and receive encouragement for the thoughts I was putting down in writing. On my profile page, Chuck would often leave Bible verses, which didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. In fact, all of his encouragement helped to bring me out of my own shell. He’s not only been a big brother to me, but also he’s been a mentor and a cherished friend. His example has always inspired me to not only keep seeking that light, but to want to shine some light of my own.
Chuck is most definitely a hard worker for Christ. A retired teacher and coach, he now interim-pastors and leads Bible studies; he also continues to write devotionals and volunteers to take pledge calls for a Christian radio station. He’s the type of person who is blessed to serve in whatever capacity that he can: missionary trips; taking care of stray cats; being a loyal husband to his lovely wife Beverly; and, of course, giving all the help and guidance he’s lent to–undoubtedly–so many countless others. To be honest, I can’t figure out how one man can manage so much. However, I’m so thankful that he does, for I’ve been so privileged to have a place somewhere in all of that. I’m not only blessed, I’m also very honored that I can call him my big bro in Christ; and I’m so very inspired by all that he is in Jesus as well. What he writes still moves me, and thus I’d love to share one of his more recent devotionals. To me, he’ll always rank right up there with C.S. Lewis.
Escaping the Shell
By: Chuck Bassett
Jesus: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” ~ Matthew 7:13-14
The mother bird births its chicks into a protective shell which we call an egg. This thin shell absorbs and delivers just enough oxygen for the developing chick to survive. When the embryonic chick develops enough and is ready, it aspires to escape the shell to the outside world. Most birds develop an “egg tooth,” whose sole purpose is to peck through the softer end of the shell and which falls off a few days after hatching. God as Creator is indeed awesome!
What I just described occurs in most cases. However, for whatever reason, in some cases, things don’t work out, and the developing chick dies in its own “protective” shell. Can you imagine a shelled chick not wanting to escape its shell? I wonder if that ever happens. Sadly, if you use this process as a metaphor for humans’ spiritual drama, most humans prefer to stay in their shell, the world in which they were created, never seeking the greater, wider, more glorious world of salvation, as Jesus declared in our text.
After all, we humans were birthed into this world, kicking and screaming, protesting our being ejected or plucked into a bright, noisy, cold world, alien to the warm, moist, relatively quiet world of our mother’s wombs. Then, we become accustomed to this world, which is merely another shell; and most never think of another life after this one. Jesus leaves it up to us. He comes “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10), but He will not forcibly pluck us into salvation, like some sort of spiritual Caesarean section. It is the “whosoever will” of John 3:16.