It was tough going at the office. You can probably imagine: There were orders coming down from people who had no clue about the implications of their decisions. The coworkers with the most experience (in any given category) were excluded from meetings where their input was most needed. Impossible deadlines had been determined—but the hands-on people weren’t consulted…
In such cases, employees tend to smile, nod, and try to go with the flow—out of fear of losing their jobs if they push back, or in a misguided attempt to “be nice.” It’s the easy way out in the moment, though most of the group knows it won’t end well. It’s hard for me to play that way. It seems cruel to let the group leader think everything’s fine when I know it isn’t. And it’s painful, then, to wait for that inevitable moment when everything will implode. But it’s also hard to be the only one to speak up and challenge authority, as it were.
On one important day, I determined to cop an attitude. But I needed help to make me feel the part. So I wore black jeans, black button-down shirt, leather country-western vest with gold sparkles, lots of gold jewelry, and black sandals. Sandals with heels that would produce a sharp staccato on the tile. Upon arriving at the office, I took a deep breath, stood tall, and marched inside.
It worked! Coworkers stared as I confidently pranced by. A few asked, “Hey, what’s up today?” And they shrank back when I barked, “I’m wearing my ‘Don’t mess with me!’ clothes!” My confidence was building, and later on it helped me to speak truth against any wonkiness. It was a feeling of power.
But somewhere inside was a niggling uneasiness about relying on a certain outfit and a contrived attitude in order to do the right thing. It’s shameful, but I had forgotten that the armor of God is all the “Don’t mess with me!” clothing I need.
The belt of truth (tell the truth), the breastplate of righteousness (do what the Lord would consider right), and so on. Ephesians 6:10-18. As this passage says, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood”—and surely that means even when the flesh and blood standing before us is intimidating. Our struggle is in intentionally leaning on the Lord and trying to do what’s right in his eyes, regardless of any potential results.
Hmm. I can’t help thinking, What if all believers put on their true “Don’t mess with me!” clothes every day? It would be fun to see the difference it would make.