Life Out of Your Shell (Day 3 from Beside Still Waters)
Now let’s take another look at the turtle's shell, mainly the bottom shell, the boney layer under the outer shell is what provides the shape, support, and protection for the turtle. Again use your imagination as we relate the turtle shell to the armor of God. The next piece of armor we want to look at is the breastplate of righteous, verse 14 also says, “Having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (NKJV). The breastplate’s function was to protect the vital organs of the soldier while in battle and was made of overlapping pieces of metal with connecting front and back sections. The breastplate rested on the soldier’s hips and supported by the loin belt.
While in battle the breastplate provided extra assurance against the unexpected blows that often occurred in the heat of battle. Just like the turtle’s lower shell protects its internal anatomy the breastplate protects the vital organs of the soldier. One of the best definitions I’ve found is in Adam Clarke’s Commentary: “As the breast-plate defends the heart and lungs, and all those vital functionaries that are contained in what is called the region of the thorax; so this righteousness defends everything on which the man’s spiritual existence depends.” I like the way Romans 3:22 states it in the New International Version, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.” You see righteousness is not something that can be attained by obedience to any law, or by any merit of man, or by any other means except faith in Jesus Christ. Why, because through our faith in Christ we have been reconciled to God through the forgiveness of sin, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (NIV). When writing this I tried to explain the righteousness of God, it’s more than being without guilt before God, which your salvation has given you, it’s acting in accordance with God’s word, and the only way you can do that is to know and understand what is in His the word. 2 Timothy 3:16 puts it this way, “All Scripture is God-breathed [given by inspiration of God] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” Everything you need to walk this journey of inner healing, of learning who you are in Christ and, of discovering the person God created you to be; can be found in your Bible. If you have a question about raising your children or managing your finances, or just feeling lonely; open his word and it will be a light in your darkness directing your path and guiding you in the way you should go.
Don’t be like the turtle and remain hidden from all you can be, tucked inside your shell, but put on your breastplate of righteousness stand tall as the daughter of the King of kings and begin to, “Sow righteousness for yourself, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up the unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12, NIV). The Word of God tells us that the believer will receive a crown of righteousness which Christ will award to all of those who have longed for His appearing.
God designed natural armor for different animals, for instance, the Queen Conch, highly valued for its edible meat and beautiful shell, has a harder exterior shell to protect a softer interior; however, the harder outer armor is brittle and more prone to damage from an intense impact. Yet when He designed the turtles armor or shell, it was designed with a hard internal layer covered by a bi-layer of soft materials called keratin and collagen; the keratin layer serves as a cushion that absorbing most of the impact and the collagen layer compresses to prevent damage to the inner area. With this in mind let’s use our imagination again as we at the turtle’s upper shell: “. . . Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16, NIV). Flaming arrows can come in many forms: physical; verbal; emotional; spiritual, and without the proper help those arrows are capable of leaving scars that can last a lifetime. That’s why our shield of faith is so important. I like the wording of the New King James that says, “Above all, take the shield of faith, why, because it shows the importance of our faith. Faith is what enables us to overcome our past. When we continue to allow our past to keep us hidden away, using it as an excuse not to come out of our shell, then we have allowed evil to win, but God’s word says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (NIV). The shield of faith allows us not only to defend ourselves but to overcome evil! When we stand in our God-given authority against the evil we have faced and NOT allow it to rule over us WE OVERCOME IT WITH GOOD. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “. . . Without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (NIV). The first step we must take to free ourselves from our protective shell IS FAITH, and before we put our foot on the ground Jesus is there to take our hand. He is the only one that can totally set us free. People may fail you but God never will. Remember Hebrews 11:6 said that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him; when we live our lives keeping our faith-focused on Jesus, refusing to be moved by our circumstances and never giving up, that unmovable faith is rewarded and the power of God will cause you to overcome every flaming arrow the evil one shoots your way. Be that overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony that God has called you to be!
Precious child of God it’s time for your transformation to begin, you’ve been hiding in your shell way too long. I don’t know what caused you to pull inward but don’t let it keep you there any longer. Let’s pray, "Father God you have seen all the hurt she has gone through. You have felt all the pain she has endured. You have touched every scare. So right now we lay them at your feet and as she steps out of her shell transform her that she can stand before you in truth, righteousness, and faith. In Jesus' name, we pray."
Now Child of God walk away from your abandoned shell and pick of the
Armor of God.