In Latin America it is very common to see heavily armed men standing outside of grocery stores, banks, and convenience stores. Even in peaceful Costa Rica, this is normal. At first it was kind of shocking to see that kind of force so openly displayed in our everyday lives. But now, it’s kind of become one of those things that I hardly notice anymore.
As a matter of fact, every day on my way to school I pass the head quarters of a security company that specializes in protecting armored cars. The entire front of the building is one giant barricade, and there are always about a dozen men in full military grade body armor hovering around on the sidewalk. Each man carries either an automatic weapon appropriate for taking over a small country, or a double barrel shot-gun that looks like it was a prop in a Nicolas Cage movie once upon a time. Depending on the hour, these guys are either stopping traffic to direct an armored car into the compound or just waiting around on the street for a coup to begin.
The other day I was passing this little slice of intimidation and domination when I noticed one of the younger members of the force jogging across the street obviously late for work. His intimidating demeanor was askew as he balanced his gun in the crook of his arm. With a back pack flopping at his hip, and a cup of coffee precariously clutched in the other hand, he looked like a student rushing late to classes. If it weren’t for the huge gun which hung dangerously from his elbow, I would have easily overlooked him as a university student running to catch the bus.
At first it was funny to see such an incongruent sight, but I’ve been thinking about that guy this past week. The Bible says that we are in a war and we have been fitted out with a full suit of armor. Our one weapon is the Word of God. So I’ve been thinking, do I treat my weapon as casually as this coffee carrying gun slinger or do I maintain a healthy respect for the power I wield? Do I take my Bible seriously, or do I just toss it to the side when something more important (like coffee) is the focus of my attention? Just something to think about.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and power of this dark word and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 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… with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17