Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Faith on the Frontstretch: Starting Your Race Day With Reliable Equipment

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs  
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” ~ Hebrews 12:1b

Carl Edwards had a strong car at Martinsville, but it didn’t matter. On Lap 361 his right front tire let go and he smacked the wall, ending up 36th. It turned out that the tire had a belt failure, so an equipment problem resulted in a DNF.

The poor finish dropped Edwards to last place in the Chase standings, and to make the Championship 4 he needs a win at Texas or Phoenix. Even so, he’s keeping a stiff upper lip and confident outlook about his team’s ability to press on.

“ ... we have a heck of a crew,” Edwards said. “These guys are true warriors. We’re just going to go out and battle for every spot. I have a feeling we’ll be alright.”

Warriors? Battle? It’s interesting that Edwards used combat terminology for describing NASCAR team members and his own racing style. The Bible uses these words a lot, too. “Warrior” is used about 30 times, and “battle” is found more than 180 times, just in the Old Testament.

And NASCAR’s on-track action isn’t the only kind of battle going on in a driver’s life — or in yours and mine. The brawl between good and evil has raged since humans tasted a forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden.

Unseen forces — angels and demons — clash all the time in the spiritual realm, according to Ephesians 6, verse 12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

How can we survive and be victorious against the evil in the world? By “suiting up” for battle every day. Just as racecar drivers need trustworthy equipment from their tires to their toes, we need dependable gear to get us through our daily battles. Our uniform is the full armor of God — a spiritual firesuit and helmet for daily living.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. ~Ephesians 6:11.

The full armor of God prepares you for battle. Here's a list of the pieces of armor:

· Cover your head with the helmet of salvation. If you’ve accept Jesus as your Savior, you’re already wearing this protection for your mind.

· On your feet are the shoes of the gospel of peace, which keep you ready to share Jesus with others at a moment’s notice.

· The belt of truth reminds you of the truth about who you are: a child of almighty God. Knowing truth helps you recognize lies.

· The breastplate of righteousness covers your heart. Righteousness protects your emotions and strengthens your spiritual resolve to do what’s right.

· The shield of faith protects us from temptation and danger. When we have faith, we believe in God’s love, goodness and power.

· The sword of the spirit is the Word of God. Knowledge of scripture defends you against lies the world tries to tell you, as you remind yourself of God’s truths.

In this audio clip, Pastor Charles Stanley talks you through a prayer for putting on each piece of God’s armor before you get out of bed in the morning. If you’re short on time, start around 7:00 where he begins guiding you through the steps.

Just one missing link in a driver’s equipment — like the faulty tire on Edwards’ Toyota — can mean a trip to the garage or even a DNF. A chink in your spiritual armor can derail things for you, too. So remember to “suit up” in God’s dependable equipment before you tackle your day.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.   ~Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV)
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“Faith on the Frontstretch” explores the role of faith in motorsports and runs every 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month during the NASCAR season. Follow Beth on twitter at @bbreinke.

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for NASCAR fans. Or you can purchase the book in paperback & ebook here.

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