Several weeks ago, Glen and I were out kayaking in the bay and we were navigating around a mass of reeds. I had held out my paddle to push away from the edge and made a comment about it being my "sword". It reminded me of the Armour of God listed in Ephesians Chapter 6:
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
When we go kayaking, we must be "dressed" for the job we are doing. We must have our "armour" on, or we won't be safe and we won't be effective. Thinking on this, I began to correlate the passage in Ephesians to the things we take and wear while kayaking:
Loins gird about with truth - in the summer I wear a bathing suit; in cold I wear neoprene. One keeps me cool, the other keeps me warm. Keeping my body in the right temperature range is important out on the water. Too hot, or too cold can both create problems when far from shore.
Breastplate of righteousness - my personal flotation device, well-fitting and buckled. The most literal definition of righteousness means, "he who is what he ought to be". Well, a good kayaker is one who is first of all, safe. The first and most important measure of safety while boating is a proper fitting and properly applied PFD.
Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace - I always wear my water shoes; in the cold I add the wonderful waterproof socks Glen just bought me. The water shoes are to protect my feet from shells or rocks that might be on the riverbed. If I should need to get out of my boat, I would need sure footing and the shoes give me that.
The Shield of Faith - the one thing that shields me from the water and the gators -- my boat. There would be no kayaking without the kayak!
Helmet of Salvation - I always wear a hat and sunglasses. The hat saves my skin from the sun's rays as the sunglasses protect my eyes.
The Sword of the Spirit - My paddle without which I could not navigate the river. The paddle not only propels me, but it provides direction. Without it, I would be at the mercy of the current to just float whatever way the current would toss me. The paddle allows me to steer and turn my boat and direct it in the way that I know it should go.
Praying always for the saints -- I find the peaceful quiet of the kayak a wonderful place for prayer. The sights and quiet sounds of the river lend themselves to thoughts of the One who created all in sight.
We know that all the seven parts of the Armour of God are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus and provided for the Christian through Him. I like to think that He is also providing Himself as those things in our "armour" for the kayak as we travel up and down the rivers, across the bays and along the creeks. We know without question that as we paddle, He is our safety and always He is our safe harbor.
(You can also view this entry on our blog about kayaking, beyond the bow.)