The Armor of God

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. – Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT

A Roman soldier was the standard by which all other armies were judged in Paul’s day and so it is no surprise that when Paul wanted to talk about aspects of Christian warfare he went to the centurion as an illustration for a soldier of Christ.  Not because Romans had faith in Christ, but rather because the Roman soldier was an image that anyone in the known world was familiar with and could picture easily as he ticked off the points about spiritual warfare.

In the picture above you can see that the battle dress for a Roman infantryman was designed for both protection and maneuverability.  Metal shielded vital areas while fabric and leather allowed the soldier to be constantly on the move in battle.  A large shield for defense from larger attacks and an offensive weapon such as a sword rounded out the centurion’s armament.

There are several points that Paul makes in this passage where he compares the Christian to the infantryman so let’s dive in and look at them ourselves.

Know your enemy.

Before ever talking about offense or defense, Paul brings up and important point.  We must know who the real enemy is.  Battles, and even wars, have been lost because the basic definition of “who is the enemy” could not be settled.  On more than one occasion in the Old Testament we see an enemy of Israel defeated because they become confused about who the enemy was.  Gideon’s small force claimed victory when the enemy awoke and, in their confusion, started attacking each other.  Saul won a battle against the Phillistines in the same manner.  And when the Moabites marched on Judah, God would not even let the Israelites fight.  Instead, He had them sing praises while God Himself confused the Moabite army, causing them to attack each other.

But God is not the only one capable of confusing the issue of who the enemy might be. That is Paul’s point in verse 12.  Our enemies are not other human beings.  We need to understand that, as Christians, our battlefield is in the spiritual realm.  We do not fight against other humans, even if we don’t agree with them.  Satan knows that if he can get us fighting each other then he and his army are free to wreak havoc.  For a little while longer, Satan has dominion over the earth.  As such, he causes circumstances to pit us against other humans.  As a result, the gospel suffers and those who might listen turn away when they see us coming because they mistakenly think we are coming to attack rather than point the way to rescue. So those who we think are the enemy turn out not to be and we leave ourselves vulnerable to attack because our attention is not focused in the right direction.  If we don’t know our enemy then we will never win the battle.

Put on all of the armor that God supplies.

Our enemy is formidable.  He possesses powers that we will never be able to overcome on our own.  For us to ignore protection that God freely gives to us is nothing short of spiritual suicide.  Satan has many strategies available to him, any of which can bring us down easily unless we take advantage of all that God provides.  Only in availing ourselves of the entire suit of armor can we guarantee that we will still be standing when the attack has faded.  To put on anything less than the entire suit of armor is to walk in front of the enemy naked.

Cinching up the belt of Truth.

The soldier, before putting on any armor, had to make sure that his loins were girded so that he was free to move.  He did so by using a belt to hold up his tunic in almost diaper like fashion.  The belts often came with leather thongs that hung down all the way around, protecting the upper legs and lower abdomen.  Before we can even begin to contemplate donning our armor, we too must make sure we are in a position to respond to attacks.

By cinching up the belt of Truth we prepare ourselves to respond to those who speak error.  We protect ourselves by keeping the truth in our hearts so that we do not believe the lies that the evil one disseminates throughout the earth.  The truth is what keeps us safe in our inner most parts, that is our conscience.  Without it, we will not know how to respond to the attacks of the enemy.  And unless we can speak it in love then we might as well be speaking gibberish, because the enemy can confuse anything else we say.

Get on that breastplate.

The breastplate (or body armor) covered the centurion’s torso, much like a modern day bullet proof vest protects a law enforcement officer.  The purpose of both is the same.  In the confusion of an attack, it is not always clear where the initial blow might come from.  The body armor increases the soldier’s (or policeman’s) ability to survive that blow, assess where the attack is coming from, and begin to respond to it.  Without it, a sneak attack is almost always a fatal one as wounds to any part of the body covered by it destroy critical body organs.

If we are wearing the breastplate of righteousness, then we essentially are protecting ourselves from sneak attacks as well. When we live in righteousness, we do not have to worry about things we do in the dark being used against us by the enemy.  One of his favorite ploys is to use our own failures against us.  By twisting the knife of regret, Satan is able to convince us that we are not worthy of being saved.  Once we have called our own salvation into question he follows the knife with the arrow of doubt and soon we begin to question our position on everything.  We will never live a perfect life here on earth.  But if we live in the breastplate of righteousness, that is the righteousness of Christ, we protect ourselves from such attacks because our life is not the issue, Christ’s is, and His is perfect.

Lace up those shoes.

A common ploy in battle is to draw the enemy into rugged terrain where obtaining a foothold is difficult.  In the case of ancient armies this might include areas that tore up an enemies bare feet.  Any commander will tell you that the most important part of an infantryman is his feet and leaving them unprotected is a recipe for disaster.

For the Christian, the best protection from the rugged terrain of uncertainty is the peace of Christ.  Nothing can protect us from every storm of life, but we can be certain to walk through it if Christ’s peace resides in us.  Only by knowing that everything in our life (both good and bad) works towards our good can we withstand the assaults of financial crisis, personal loss, attacks on our faith, etc.  A good pair of shoes can get us over any kind of terrain.  So can a firm foundation in the One who holds the future in His hands.

Don’t forget your shield.

The Roman soldier carried a large shield.  It was so large, in fact, that he was able crouch behind it during an aerial attack (arrows, darts, or spears) and protect his entire body.  This was important because, in an effort to make the soldier mobile, some areas of his body had to be free of armament.  The shield was the only way to fully protect him when hundreds of projectiles were in the air.

Let’s be honest.  There are going to be times in our lives when attacks are going to find there way in.  Not because God’s armor is imperfect but because we do not wear it perfectly.  Even when we try to don the whole package we will inevitably leave a strap loose or get it on crooked.  When that happens, Satan’s projectiles of hate, deceit, remorse, regret, envy will find cracks in our armor.  That is why we must carry the shield of faith.  It is only through faith in Christ, by trusting in His ability to see us through, by believing that He will get us to eternity intact, that we can survive when hurls swarms of darts our way.

Cap it off with a sturdy helmet.

Everyone knows that if we lose our heads, we have lost completely.  The entire body is controlled from the command center, the main computer, the brain.  Even in ancient times they understood that any kind of blow to the head could mean death.  Sometimes it was fast and other times it was slow.  But fast or slow the result was the same and so a leather lined, metal helmet absorbed the blow of blunt weapons and repelled the attack of sharp ones.

What better way to protect ourselves from the enemy than with the knoweledge that, because Christ died for our sins, we too can be saved through faith in Him.  The knowledge of that fact protects us from any lie that the enemy may hurl at us.  Some bounce off instantly because they are just too contrary to be believed.  Other, more suttle, lies are kept from penetrating by the wisdom we recieve from the Holy Spirit as a result of being saved through faith in Christ.

So how do we put on the armor of God?

I had a friend once who had this ritual.  Every morning, he would actually go through the motions of putting on the armor of God.  He would actually act like he was girding up his loins with a belt.  He would strap on an imaginary breastplate.  He put on “spiritual” shoes on top of his physical ones.  He would since up his helmet and pick up his shield each day before he walked out into the world.  Did that give him any special powers?  Did it turn him into some superhuman who was ready to defend against the darkness?  Well, no…and yes.

Of course, putting on an imaginary suit of armor doesn’t give us any special powers.  But what it did do was remind my friend each day of the ways in which he was dependent on God.  It reminded him that, without the gifts of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation he was woefully inadequate to face anything that the enemy might throw at him.  And maybe that is the best way to suit up.  In prayer, we remind ourselves where our protection lies and thank God for it.  It’s a reminder that we would do well to repeat throughout our day as we never know where, or when, attacks will be launched.

The best defense comes with the best offense.

Lest we forget, the Roman soldier could not win the day simply by hiding in his armor.  The centurion was also provided with a sharp sword.  The reason was simple.  Once the attack was repelled it was time to move in for the victory.  His two edged broad sword quickly separated meat from bone, ensuring that no further attack came from that particular enemy.

When we are attacked, often it will come through other people.  Now we said at the beginning that our enemy was not mortal, not human, but rather of the  spiritual realm.  This is a true statement.  But another true statement is that one of Satan’s favorite ways to attack us is through other humans.  So what do we do?  Of course we use the armor God has given us to withstand the onslaught.  But once we have survived, once the metal of our armor has done its job, it’s time to bring out our own broad sword.  The writer of Hebrews tells us that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword, able to divide between truth and error, soul and spirit, right and wrong.  When wielded correctly, we can use it to turn those around who have been used to attack us and reveal the light of Christ to them.  When we do, we separate Satan from his weapons and another soul is won for Christ.

The Roman soldier, properly equipped and confident in his protection, was a warrior feared by all who opposed him.  But even the Roman soldier pales in comparison to a child of God, walking in His Holy Spirit.  When we walk with the Lord and abide in His Word, His protection, His gifts, no enemy can defeat us, no matter what he may throw our way.

Living with the Holy Spirit

“When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”‭‭

Ephesians‬ ‭3:14-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The New Testament in general, and Paul in particular, have a lot to say about the Holy Spirit.  Each of the epistle authors talks about the Holy Spirit’s role in the Christian Church and the life of the believer.  Jesus Himself promised the Holy Spirit’s arrival would take place when He left to return to Heaven.  His arrival was foretold by the Old Testament prophets and was documented by Luke in the book of Acts.  But who is the Holy Spirit and just how does He work in the church?  How is He recognized and does He interact with believers in a tangible way? Fortunately, we don’t have to look any further than our fingertips for the answers to these and other questions about the person referred to in old England as “The Holy Ghost”.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Quite simply, the Holy Spirit is God.  More precisely, He is the third person in the triune God head.  God is God the Father, Jesus Christ is God the Son, and the Holy Spirit is God the Spirit.  All three are unique individuals who are at the same time God.  All three are equal in their abilities and character and yet each serves a different function, as it were, in the plan of God.  God the Father (God) serves as the implementer and maintainer of the plan of God.  Nothing escapes Him and He oversees the universe and all that is in it, working all things for the good of those who love Him and obey Him (Romans 8).  God the Son (Jesus Christ) serves as our Savior.  He came to pay for the sins of all and waits for those who accept the work He has done in their place(Acts 2).  While He waits, He intercedes with the Father on behalf of those who live in Him (Hebrews 4).  And God the Spirit (The Holy Spirit) serves as our guide and comforter.  He lives in those who have accepted Christ and brings to mind God’s scriptures when they are needed (John 14), directs us in the right path to choose (John 16), and works through us to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to others (John 15).

Does the Holy Spirit live in everyone?

The Holy Spirit only resides in the lives of those who believe in, and have accepted, Jesus Christ and the saving work He did at the cross.  In the fourteenth chapter of John, Jesus told the disciples, “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”  The world cannot recognize Him because they are not looking for Him.  But those who have accepted Christ are looking for the Holy Spirit in their lives and will recognize that He has taken up residence.  That doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit does not “work” in the lives of non-believers.  He is always at work, convicting non-believers of the sin in their lives, the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and the coming judgement of God (John 16).  Non-believers may not see the work of the Holy Spirit for what it is, believing it to be their own conscience instead.  But that does not mean that He is not working to prepare them for the gospel message.  But He does not reside in those who refuse Jesus and what He has done for them.

Why do we need the Holy Spirit?

Before the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Israelites had the Law of Moses to guide them while they walked the earth.  But the Law was a written document that over the years had been translated, amended, and interpreted by men.  It was hard to read, hard to remember, and even harder to follow.  And that was the point of the Law.  It wasn’t only hard to follow, it was impossible to follow.  God wanted us to understand that, on our own, we would never be able to follow the Law perfectly.  And perfection is the only thing that can exist adjacent to God.  Corruption cannot exist with incorruption and those who are not perfect cannot exist in the presence of a perfect God.  But God had a better plan than the Law.  He told the prophet Jeremiah that,

“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD. “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

That day arrived when Christ sacrificed Himself for our sins, and God writes His law on the hearts of men by residing their hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit.  Who knows the law better than God Himself?  Who can teach us about God like God Himself can?  We can follow the spirit of the Law of God if we follow the Spirit of God.  If we allow Him, the Holy Spirit will tell us the difference between right and wrong in our lives.

What else does the Holy Spirit do?

In addition to living in us and teaching us about Himself, the Holy Spirit also bestows gifts on us for the purpose of spreading the gospel to others.  Those gifts may be permanent (Acts 9) or temporary (Acts 2).  Each gift we receive is tailor made for the person God has designed us to be so that we may be used to reach other individuals with the message of Christ.  Our gifts may be received instantly or learned as we progress through trials in our own lives.  In each instance, the Holy Spirit blesses us with these gifts in the perfect way to make them, and us, useful in the kingdom.  The Holy Spirit also steers us away from things in this world that would shipwreck our faith.  Only God knows what our faith is strong enough to stand up to so why would we allow anyone else to tell us what we are capable of, where we should or shouldn’t go, or what is right for us verses what is wrong?

How do I communicate with the Holy Spirit?

We communicate with the Holy Spirit in our daily lives by prayer and study.  In prayer, we spend time in personal communion with the Holy Spirit through honest communication about our thankfulness, our desires, our fears, our triumphs, and our failures.  We listen in the quiet for His still small voice as we spend time seeking Him in the Scriptures and waiting for His words in our life.  As we recognize Him speaking to us, we can strengthen our ability to hear Him by responding in obedience, even when we may not want to.  To do the opposite, to ignore Him, only makes it more difficult to  hear Him when we need Him later.

The Holy Spirit, God in Spirit, makes Himself available to all.  In the person of Jesus Christ He said, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20).  God as friend, God as counselor, God as guide, God as Spirit waits to enter our hearts.  The only thing preventing Him from coming in and changing our lives is our willingness to open the door.  My prayer is that we turn the knob, and turn it soon.

Danger!  Thin ice!

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. – Galatians‬ ‭6:1-3 ‭NLT‬

In his letters to the churches, Paul always followed up teaching on faith with practical applications of how to live that faith out.  His letter to the church in Galatia was no different. The church in Galatia had become infected with people who were trying to get followers to fall back on their Jewish and Gentile beliefs to bolster their chances of salvation.  Thinking that “faith” was not enough, these people were trying to convince others that there were special works such as circumcision and worship of other gods that needed to be included with faith in Christ to ensure that they would be acceptable to God.  After spending the bulk of his letter correcting such misconceptions, he then turned to how, as Christians, we should go about the business of guiding those who had strayed back onto the path of righteousness.

Anyone who has ever spent time in the frozen north can tell you of the dangers of thin ice.  Ice skating, ice fishing, and hockey are all pastimes enjoyed in the winter months where temperatures insure thick ice.  But along with these enjoyable pastimes comes the responsibility of identifying, and responding accordingly, to areas where the ice may not be thick enough to support the pressure of such activities.  Participants must identify areas that are dangerous and label them properly.  Those with experience should tell those with less about the dangers involved.  And then there is the problem of how to rescue someone who has fallen in.  Going alone after someone who has broken through can be dangerous to both the victim and the rescuer.  The best way to retrieve someone is with the help of others.  The rescuer is supported in his efforts and others are available in the event that he too becomes a victim.  And even if the victim is admonished after he has been rescued, no one wastes time doing it before he is pulled to safety.

We in the church could take some lessons from those who enjoy the ice.  We should be diligent about identifying areas where there is a danger of falling into sin.  When we find such areas we should make it a point to steer clear.  We should also warn others about the dangers and do whatever is possible to help them stay away.  But there will be times when people, tempted by the world, will venture out where the ice is thin.  When that happens, the church that has a plan is the one that redeems a brother or sister.

We should always be aware of the dangers of following a brother or sister into sin by ourselves for the purpose of bringing them back.  There may be times when we are helping someone who is tempted by something that does not have the same effect on us, but we must be careful that our judgment in the matter is clear.  For what good do we do another believer if, having rescued them from temptation, we fall into the same hole?  If we are alone, who will help us?  We must be humble in our examination of our own faith and weaknesses before we determine it is ok to “go it alone”.   And even when we have made such a determination, we should still have brothers or sisters overseeing our efforts in case our decision was in error.

Whether alone or as part of a group, we need to remind ourselves that we are trying to help someone in sin back onto the path.  There will be time, after everyone is back on the journey, to assess where things went wrong.  But while we are “helping” someone who has gone astray, we should try to be as encouraging and loving as possible.  Remember, we are trying to rescue someone the Lord has died for, not drive them further away.  Beating up on someone for something we have all been guilty of will almost never result in changed lives for the kingdom.  If we are honest with ourselves, the only thing accomplished by deriding someone mired in sin is the puffing up of our own ego.  So let us “help” in humility and love, knowing that “there but for the grace of God go I”.

Probably the most important thing we need to remember when we see someone in need of help is to help them!  To many times we walk away, hoping someone else will come to the rescue.  The world teaches us not to get involved.  The world says that we need to take care of ourselves and not worry about others.  The world says that we are more important than those who cannot take care of themselves and they are not worth our effort.  But the scriptures tell us that we are a family, a family in Christ.  The scriptures tell us that we are all equal in God’s eyes.  We have a responsibility to do everything we can to help our brothers and sisters when they are in need.  And we have a responsibility to do so as a family.  Will it be enough?  Maybe, maybe not.  We may never know.  But that is not a reason not to try.  For God put us where we are, with the gifts that we have, for a reason.  If we use them together we can have faith that we can rescue the perishing, without getting lost ourselves.

Slave or Free?

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. – Galatians 5:1

Why do some slaves refuse the opportunity to be free?  Why indeed.  As a former police officer, I can say that one phenomenon that never ceased to amaze me was the number of offenders who would commit a second crime just so they could get back into jail.  People who have never been to jail would probably never say they wanted to go.  All they know is the freedom of the outside.  But someone who has spent time in jail sometimes becomes accustomed to it to the point that there is more security for them in jail than out.  They understand the system.  It makes sense.  They know what is expected of them and they know how to do just enough to get by.  And so, rather than be free, they stay “in the system” where they are safe and are never expected to make their own decisions.

In the Galatian Church, Christians who had come out of the Jewish faith were starting to listen to some who were trying to add the Law back on top of their faith in Christ.  Like ex-prisoners looking to get back into jail, they were feeling the call of safety that comes with a system that sets all the rules up front.  In Judaism, they knew what was expected of them.  They could just follow the rules.  The freedom they had found in Christ was unsettling, especially talk about God’s Law dwelling within them.  How would they know if they had done something wrong.  Hundreds of years had not wiped out the memory of seventy spent in exile when the Israelites had failed to follow God.  And for the hundreds of years since that event, they had worked on refining the rules as much as possible.  To go from a rule book to a conscience is a scary thing.  Especially when there is no understanding that our conscience is actually God in Spirit.

But Paul’s plea was a call for them to escape the slavery of the Law and run into the freedom that comes from abiding in Christ.  He was calling out those who were looking to scare the former Jews back to their old ways.  He was warning them that they were running back to something that could never save them, and away from the only One who could.  He gave the same warning to the Gentile Christians in the church.  They too were looking back to the familiar as a safety net.  

Walking into the freedom that comes from accepting Christ can be unsettling, especially if we are leaving a situation that we have been in long enough to “get comfortable”.  We may be at a place where we know what is expected.  We may like the familiarity of our surroundings.  But once outside, we will see it for what it is, a prison cell.  And that prison will hold us forever unless we step out of it in faith.  Just like the Jews and Gentiles of the Galatian Church, we have a choice to make.  The slavery of beliefs that say we can save ourselves.  Or the freedom of knowing that, in Christ, we are free to live out the Law instead of breaking under it.  Slave or free?  There’s a choice to be made.  My prayer is that we all choose freedom as we walk into a relationship with Christ and the liberty that lasts forever.

Welcome, to the country road…

In today’s world, interstate driving is the way to get there fast.  Straight roads, multiple lanes, few interchanges, and high speed all combine to get us there as quickly as possible.  The problem is that to get those freeways we have to level hills, clear forests, displace wildlife, and bypass life in general.  And while we still may see some sights as we wiz along our concrete superconductor, we miss the chance to really see anything.  When is the last time you stopped to watch a deer cross the road?  Have you ever rolled down the windows to breath in honeysuckle or fresh cut hay?  Do you know the thrill of slowly driving through an autumn leaf storm?  You just don’t get that kind of life perspective without driving the country road.

Driving isn’t the only thing we like to do fast these days.  In fact the mantra of the day seems to be, find it fast, assimilate it fast, experience it fast, and move on.  Our study of God’s Word is no different.  One year Bibles, five minute studies, and covenant groups wrapped around every activity known to man are all designed to help us get the information as quickly as possible in a world where available time seems to be shrinking by the day.  Now there is nothing wrong with trying to squeeze in study time wherever possible, but what do we miss along the way?  When time is the determining factor then information and relationships are the first victims.  Major themes of the bible take precedence when speed is essential.  Hitting the highlights in order to keep the listener’s attention means running past seemingly minor references.  And don’t even think about stopping to contemplate what you have read or who it is written about.

Here at The Country Road we believe firmly in the apostle Paul’s statement that, All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. “ (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT, emphasis added).  To that end, we search the hedges and the byways of scripture (along with the highways).  We encourage the reader to slow down and spend time exploring verses that seem to be transitional.  We seek to grow in Christ by taking the narrow road through His words that is less traveled yet full of wonder.  Learning from the Master shouldn’t be a race to see how fast we can get through the material.  It should be a slow stroll where we stop to smell the flowers, drink from the brook, and enjoy the Sonshine.

Our Facebook page presents a daily devotional.  We started in Matthew chapter 1 and have been working our way through the New Testament verse by verse.  Weekly blogs here will present more detail as we stop at certain points along the way.  Written works will also be presented on our web page as they become available.  All of this is designed to help us slow down and spend more time with the object of our faith, Jesus Christ.  For we can only grow in Him if we know Him.  And we can only know Him if we spend time with Him.  Interstate reading only presents glimpses as we clip on by.  So let’s slow down together and spend more time with Christ as we journey together on the country road!