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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: September 7, 2023


When I was growing up, my dad would occasionally tell a story about me from the pulpit. And the story goes like this: When I was about five years old, we were up at the family lake that straddles Minnesota and Ontario and were trying to cross from our cabin on the Canadian side to the American side during a storm brought about by one of the notorious west winds that will kick up four-foot tall waves, which look to be about forty feet tall when you're five. So we were maybe thirty yards from the shore as I was sitting in the front of the boat watching and feeling the waves knock us back and forth, up and down, and I heard my dad say to someone“the motor is flooding,” but my terrified heart interpreted that as “the boat is flooding.” So I started muttering to myself, “I’m gonna drown, I’m gonna drown, I’m gonna drown.” But then I looked down and said, “oh wait, I have my life jacket on.” And then I was fine.


So that’s where my dad would tell the story. And it obviously makes a good theological point about remembering the promises of God in times of sorrow. But there was an element of the story that my dad wasn’t aware of that makes the illustration even better, an element I remember quite well. That conversation I had with myself where I said “I’m gonna drown, I’m gonna drown, oh wait, I have my life jacket on?” I didn’t just have that conversation one time. I had it about five times. I’d find comfort in my life jacket and then the wind and waves would terrify me again and I’d forget that I had life wrapped around my neck, so I had to remember it again.


And that’s very much how the armor of God works. In baptism, you have put on the armor of God. Through faith, Christ has covered you in His impenetrable merits and mercy that Satan cannot pierce. You are covered in His righteousness, His truth, His salvation, His readiness. Satan cannot defeat you. He cannot conquer you. He can assault you but he can’t win. That’s the great joy of wearing the armor of God. But even though Satan can’t defeat you, he can make you forget that he can’t defeat you. He can’t drown you because you’re wearing your life preserver. But he can make you fear the wind and the waves so much that you forget you’re wearing it.


So remind yourself every day. Every day put on the armor of God by remembering your baptism, by waking up, making the sign of the cross and praying the Lord’s Prayer. Begin every day with the words “our Father” to remind yourself that you are not a slave of Satan but a child of God, a royal child wearing the royal armor forged in the blood of your royal Brother who already conquered Satan with His sin-killing righteousness. Read the Scriptures. Pray without ceasing. Train yourself to shout out “Satan, drop your ugly accusations, I am baptized into Christ” every time guilt and persecution crash and howl around you.


No matter how strong the west winds blow, no matter how high the waves, Satan cannot conquer those clothed in the armor of God. And if Jesus Christ, the King who gave you His divine armor, will never forget that you are covered in His righteousness and mercy, then you have the right to remind yourself of this in every moment of your life. So when the storm rages, keep shouting “I have my lifejacket on” until you never forget it.


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