This week we will pack up most of our belongings and head to the coast for a fun-filled week of family time. Now that both of my girls are potty-trained princesses, making the trek down to the water's edge is not nearly as stressful as it used to be. In fact, it is quite pleasant. I look forward to planting my chair directly in the path of the sunshine, shoving my toes in the sand, and basking in the warm glow of that great big fireball in the sky, while my children scoop sand into their buckets (and their bathing suits) and squeal at the roar of the waves.
But this peaceful scene comes at a price.
In order for us to truly enjoy the great outdoors, we must first lather ourselves in sunscreen to protect our precious skin cells from the harsh UV rays. It is not an exciting process. Both of my daughters loathe this ritual and generally try to avoid it. I'm not a fan of it either. However, we cannot jaunt out into the glory of God's creation without this vital step. Why? Because spending an hour or two in the sun without our Banana Boat fortress will most definitely lead to the pain and discomfort of the dreaded sunburn. I neglected to reapply my sunscreen one day during our last trip, and I ended up looking like a lobster for about a week. It doesn't feel good and it doesn't look good. The fifty shades of red on my face, shoulders, and back revealed my mistake.
The same is true of our exposure to the wickedness of this world. The enemy seeks to destroy those who truly desire to follow Christ. He loves to get us so distracted with things that do not matter that we fail to accomplish the task that we have been given - to take the gospel of Jesus to the nations. In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, Paul exhorts the believers to "put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." (Eph. 6:11, ESV) Plain ole Coppertone is not going to be able to shield you from the flaming darts of Satan himself. We need to be completely outfitted with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Spirit of God to withstand the enemy attack. We must begin every morning in the Word and place our feet firmly on the stronghold of His saving work. Because when we truly entrust the battle to the Lord, we realize once again that He has already won.