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Lifestyles over 50

Harm or Armor—Safety First

Jan 26, 2024 02:47PM ● By Alan Allegra
I recently had a close encounter with the police. Before you start Googling my name in the arrest records, let me say it was a friendly, volunteer encounter.

This fall, I had the privilege of joining a group of local citizens for the annual Colonial Regional Police Department Citizens Academy. It was an in-depth look at the depths of depravity of criminals and the lengths to which law enforcement will go to protect and serve the communities.

During the once-a-week sessions, we got to know many officers and other emergency personnel, from the compassionate county coroner to Romeo, the K9 “officer” whom you only want to meet on friendly terms. One of the many highlights was the 4-hour “ride-a-long” with an officer in a high-tech police vehicle (Yes, you get to play with the siren!). The only mandatory dress code for the ride was a bulletproof vest. You just never know ….

Seeing the officers in full uniform brought to mind a biblical image that most of us are familiar with, which you will probably guess.

The well-equipped officer has a belt that is one step below Batman’s utility belt. It holds weapons, communications equipment, handcuffs, and whatever else is needed. Without it, the officer has no integrity or power.

Wearing the vest was uncomfortable, but not as painful as a bullet to the heart. It provides security for your inner organs and guards your heart.

You can’t go into a difficult situation wearing slippers or flip-flops. An officer’s footing must always be stable, yet allow for rapid movement. They carry an offer of peace during a time of fear and darkness.

We had the opportunity to handle many of the tools of law enforcement trade, including a handheld shield. They showed us a shield that survived point-blank encounters with rifles. The bullets left their mark but could not penetrate that shield. The shield is not worn but is handled manually under the user's control.

In particularly nasty situations, officers may be required to wear a helmet to protect their head. It’s an obvious target and can be easily damaged by a single, and often unexpected, blow.

One of the popular activities during our time together was visiting a shooting range and firing both a handgun and a rifle. This followed an hour of safety training, as well as the close supervision of experienced officers. Guns are, of course, offensive weapons meant to stop aggressive behavior and open a path for forward motion when necessary.

Officers and their vehicles carry radios and phones to keep in touch with dispatchers and headquarters. In an instant, they can request help and report on their circumstances. They are never alone.

The well-trained peace officer needs to be alert, vigilant, and ready to engage evil. If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because this is a modern presentation of the armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10–18.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Just as the police officer must carry offensive and defensive gear, be well-trained in its use, and be constantly vigilant, never knowing what is around the corner, so must the committed Christian carry the armor of God, “that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (6:13).

Keep your spiritual equipment secure with the truth of God’s Word. Protect your heart with the righteousness of Christ lived out in your actions. Peace with God enables you to stand your ground and confidently advance. Our enemy the devil has an arsenal of powerful temptations that can only be deflected by faith in Christ and his Word. Mental assent to the gospel protects and renews your thinking, readying you for those unexpected, potentially fatal blows. “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (6:17), can subdue the enemy and clear a path to victory.

Finally, keep in touch with the heavenly dispatcher and headquarters, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (6:18). Just as the police officer serves the public, the Christian serves others through prayer and can stand firm, knowing he or she is never alone.