The Sword We Bear

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)

In the bliss of my first love, and the second, and a few since then, I just could not get enough. I wanted to spend every minute of every day learning all that I could about my sweetheart Mary Mac Beth, and probably Linda Thompson, certainly Kay Lively, and, well maybe not Chrissy. Oh! Mary Mac and I, we did have our fun. We went to the roller rink, we’d walk together through the trails at Coonskin Park, and of course there was the sock hops on Saturday Nights. Bet you didn’t think that I could hop in my socks. You might say that I was inspired by a most beautiful Mary Mac Beth. Of all the adventures that we shared in our youth the best was sitting on the old porch swing swaying back and forth during the setting sun talking about all the great things we would do together. You learn a lot about someone when you share dreams and build dreams together. We spent hours just talking and listening to each other. Sometimes I look back on those days that have slipped into the treasure chest of memory and think the best is learning the deep aspirations of a best girlfriend. One thing you learn is that girls just don’t think like guys and the surprise is always amazing.

As I grew a little older my Dad decided that we were to move to a new town and that closed a thick chapter in my life and broke a tender heart. I overcame the wounds rather quickly in the new town, I was a little ashamed that I did not grieve quite long enough, but that is the way of young puppy love.

As I grew older, well into the late teens, relationships become more serious. There is a shift from the family relationship to the societal relationship. It was more than high school or college for those who have attended, it was standing on your own and building relationships based on trust and obedience. Not that the prior weren’t but it became more important when your livelihood became dependent upon them. Then as I said good-bye to the teen years and entered in to what some call young manhood the seriousness grew with age. I was no longer looking for just a lifelong relationship but a relationship that would last through eternity. I had grown from the family relationship into the societal relationship into the family of God relationship. There is a difference, it is a hound dog hang on forever that no matter what you strive to stay together. That special enduring love that my parents fought through.

I grew up in the Church but I did not remain in the Church. I like the prodigal went off to the far country to squander my gifts. When I came to my senses many years later I knew and committed to the value of the Church family. When that Divine defining moment came I realized the love that God had for one such as me and I will not forsake His love for it is an eternal love, it is everlasting.

Trying to understand the unfathomable immense love that God has for His creation must certainly be a calling that will fill the heart for eternity. In the simplicity of those past girlfriends thinking differently and as amazing as they were they cannot amaze me the way my Lord does. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) I am now living in an eternal vision through an eternal adventure that will never become dull, always require a sharpness of thought, and never fail to amaze me in His grace.

The bliss with Mary Mac Beth did come to an end, as it probably did with Linda Thompson, and certainly did with Kay Lively, and Chrissy she never made first base. With Jesus the bliss in never ending as He amazes me each and every day that I walk with Him. I see so many friends and people that I know who have fallen in love and after a short time, maybe years the bliss goes away. I remember the story of Bud and Sarah who were never seen apart, but Bud told me once this amazing story. On night they were riding down the road in Bud pickup truck and Sarah said, “Remember when we used to sit next to each other and whisper into each other’s ear? What ever happened to us Bud?” They continued to ride further down the road when Bud finally gave answer to Sarah’s question, “Sarah, it wasn’t me who moved over.” The bliss of love in us should never die towards our helpmate, as if we have the love of God in us we should have that same love for the one God has given us.

You remember the bliss you had when you first met Jesus? You remember how you wanted to just be still and talk to Him in Prayer? You remember how you wanted to know everything about Him through Bible study and listening to Bible teachers? It was new, exciting, and you wanted to learn all that you could about the greatest friend you had ever met. I do, I remember going through my day singing “Since Jesus Came into My Life” “I was so sad, No love around, My heart was truly broken, And then You came, Out from nowhere I haven’t been the same since that day. Since Jesus came into my life, He changed the darkness into light. Alright, alright!” “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2) As I look out across the Church family this evening did that newness slip away, did the bliss of your first love disappear in the night? Has the adversary slipped in and taken way some of that joy from you? It is a marriage, He is coming to take you home to be with Him some glad day. Fight for it, revive it, for it is the greatest treasure. Do not allow yourselves to be as the Church in Laodicea. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.” (Revelation 3:15)

That happened to me in my early young manhood. I wanted what the world have to offer and off I went to the far country. But there I learned that all the world has to offer is empty and has no lasting meaning. That what the world offered left me in constant hunger for more of what would never satisfy. It was easy to be in the world because the adversary was having his way with me. But the emptiness was a torture to my soul and I remembered the words of Jesus spoken many a time by my father. “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) I was feeding my flesh well with the world and my soul was dying for lack of spiritual nourishment. Now I am in a battle with the adversary every day because he no longer is having his way. I am on the way, and that way is with my Lord and Savior and the bliss of love is unending. That adversary is powerless because Jesus has come into my life. “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

The adversary is not my problem, I am my problem. I am my own adversary. My battle is against myself. I will gain the victory over self because Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) I must surrender my will to His, Thy will be done, Thy Kingdom come. The question has never been will His will be done, it has always been am I walking in His will each day. I have to continue to let Jesus conquer me that I may be obedient only to Him. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

If you have maintained your first love or if you wish to rekindle your first love than talk to Him in prayer, place His Word in your heart. The Word of God is the greatest treasure that none can take from you. “Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall observe it to the end.” (Psalm 119:33) The Word of God will not only defeat your spiritual enemies but the fleshly enemy of self and its lust for this world. Walk by faith not by sight for that which is seen is passing away and that which is unseen endures forever. And bear your sword, it is your weapon that has no match. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 7, 2015

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