by Buzz Dahlen
The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.
The gear that I wear as an umpire is specifically made to protect me from most of the potential “whacks an ump might experience during a game.” I don’t know if you remember the way umpires used to protect themselves. Recently I watched a PBS special on baseball and way back when, nobody had any protective gear. They didn’t even use baseball gloves. I mean, if a guy was willing to catch the ball barehanded, then how could an umpire wear even a mask, and so they didn’t. Somebody figured out along the way that it was stupid to stand behind a “catcher” with nothing on to protect you. Once they started covering parts, there was no stopping. What is the use of covering one or two parts and leave three or four parts exposed?
After awhile they started making protective gear that fit better and was lighter weight and allowed the umpire to get around. Remember the old chest protector; it was big cushion that an umpire had to hold with one arm. There was an ump who, decided one night that he was tired of carrying that thing around and so he stuffed it under his shirt…
At any rate, the point of this is not to appreciate the evolution of umpire protective gear, the point is that we all need protective gear, protective gear that has specific purpose and I might add, if you are going to protect one or two parts why not protect all the parts?
The belt of truth: The King James versions says, “having your loins girt about with truth.” The loins are the backsides. If you practice or live in the truth, your backside is covered. The devil can use people to say anything about you, but it won’t penetrate, you are covered with the truth.
The breastplate of righteousness: This is not about acting a certain way, but about living a certain way. The breastplate of righteousness is about living a “right life in Christ.” It is not about knowing you are right, It is about knowing that you are made righteous by Christ, then when the devil tries to through guilt at you, you are protected.
The shoes of peace: Paul writes in his letter to the Romans; If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 Wouldn’t it be nice to be, what Jesus referred to as a “peacemaker?” Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say, “God is my dad?” The road can be difficult to walk; you are going to want to have the right shoes.
The shield of faith: I know that when I first started umpping, even though I had all that gear on, I found myself flinching when a pitch came it. That set me up for potential injury. The shield of faith is kind of like having the confidence you need. The devil may throw doubt at you, like so many darts. Your faith extinguishes those darts.
The helmet of salvation: This one is very important. I think of it as getting through your head that you are saved. If you are not certain that you are saved then you are vulnerable, very vulnerable. I remember back in my early years of umpping high school, I missing the confidence that I was an ump. Everyone can sense that self-doubt. It is just like you have a target on your back…
The Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: I can’t count all of the messes that I got myself out of because I knew the rules. The bible is like the rulebook. When you know what the bible says you put the devil at a great disadvantage. Believe it or not, the devil has to live within the rules, too.
There is a battle going on in the heavenly realm… Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…