Delighted to welcome my friend Kristen to the blog today! She’s a young woman on a mission to help other young women believe in themselves and the great wonder of the God who created us all.
This time of year, you avoid Walmart because of them. As soon as you enter the shopping area, racks of back-to-school supply lists confront you, an ominous reminder that summer is almost over. Soon, you’ll be saying goodbye to family trips, summer camps, and the snooze button.
Sure, scissors and number two pencils have their place, but you won’t find what you need most on a supply list. Whether you’re new to high school or finishing college, your biggest hurdles this year won’t be mental or physical. They’ll be spiritual, so you can’t afford not to have these items.
Ephesians 6:14-17 provides the list of essentials to start the year right.
Item #1: The Belt of Truth
Growing up, I never had the nightmare my peers seemed to have—of finding themselves undressed in the middle of class. Maybe that’s because I was homeschooled. Regardless, no one wants her pants sagging the first day of school, so belts matter.
The King James Version describes truth as a belt that “girds” our waists. We don’t use words like “gird” anymore, but the concept is that belts tighten or bind our clothes about us so that we don’t trip. They’re foundational to keeping our outfits together.
Truth keeps us from tripping over lies we’ll be tempted to tell or believe about ourselves. What are some biblical promises that will help your mind stay centered on truth? Jot them down, and memorize them.
Like a syllabus, our thoughts determine the semester’s course, so make sure they’re pointing you in the right direction.
Item #2: The Under Armor of Righteousness
Right living, holy living is not something our culture commends. In fact, the trend is to break the rules, not follow them.
But this world shouldn’t set our moral GPS. God’s Word should, and it makes clear that we are to be holy in our conduct (I Peter 1:15).
Holy doesn’t mean perfect but a striving toward Christ-likeness. I like how Paul describes this in Philippians 3:12: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (NKJV).
Item #3: The Shoes of Peace
Girls know that shoes are a big deal, especially since most of us wear them with multiple outfits during the week. They need to be cute, but comfy. They need to say, “I’m not all about the latest style” while still being trendy. They need to be versatile but not boring.
Regardless of what we want in a shoe’s style, there’s one feature department stores don’t advertise, and that’s peace. However, where we go and what we do when we get there say a lot about our testimony.
Check your steps against the parameters of Isaiah 52:7.
- Am I known for being a peacemaker, someone my friends enjoy being around?
- What do I share more: good news or gossip?
- Am I ready to tell others my testimony, or do I try to keep my salvation a secret?
How would you answer these questions?
In college, I was the girl who set two alarm clocks and chose outfits the night before. I stressed over syllabi more times than I care to admit.
Sometimes, I focused so closely on the tangible details that I overlooked the spiritual equipment needed to get through the day.
Ephesians 6 outlines the ultimate Every Day Carry (EDC) list we can’t do without—whether we’re in high school, college, or beyond.
Item #4: The Shield of Faith
The Apostle Paul describes the importance of a soldier’s shield of faith, but most of us don’t sling medieval metal over our shoulders these days.
The idea, however, is one of protection. We girls don’t leave home without some kind of facial moisturizer or foundation with SPF. (Moisturize, moisturize, as a friend used to say!) We’re more concerned with protecting our skin, but the concept remains the same.
Regardless of the type of protection, the point is to shield us from dangers we can’t see. Without faith in the unchanging work of God, we’re susceptible to harm from hidden hazards.
The Bible says that the just live by faith (Romans 1:17). To live by faith, we first need to live rightly (item 2), which means we must think rightly (item 1).
Item #5: The Covering of Salvation
We have all the items we need to get dressed, but we can’t forget accessories. Accessories almost doesn’t seem like the right word, because we girls don’t feel dressed without having at least one.
And if we have to pick just one, we’ll probably default with our hair. Headband or ponytail? Hair clip or flirty flower?
Although we enjoy accessorizing, coverings or helmets were a big deal for safety back in Bible days. Without them, the soldier’s most exposed part of the body—the head housing the command center—was vulnerable.
Our salvation should command our center. It should be the internal mechanism that motivates every decision and action.
Item #6: The Sword of the Spirit
We’re dressed, but leaving for class without our backpack is code for first-day disaster.
Obviously, you need your books (or tablet) so you can learn. If you attend Christian school or college, the Sword of the Spirit (code for your Bible) will probably be among the items you’ll bring. Regardless of what school you attend, I hope you’ll want to bring it.
It is the best defense for the day. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, it’s good for more than just Bible class. It teaches us about doctrine and righteousness, and corrects us when we mess up.
Download the Bible on your tablet or phone—or better yet, bring a paperback version. Whatever you do, don’t leave home without it.
A Daily Checklist
After the first day of school, we forget about supply lists (and sometimes, even about the syllabi), but the list from Ephesians 6 is one we need to remember year round. These items should form our EDC even on weekends.
I challenge you to cut out the list below and tack it on your mirror or in your locker. Look at it every day. Remember it when the day brings an unexpected blow, and cheer through it when God grants you a spiritual victory.
Ask yourself: Do I have my EDC?
May you start well, and finish strong.
Meet the Author
Kristen Hogrefe is a young adult fiction author and speaker for youth events and professional conferences. You can find Kristen blogging each week at thinktruethoughts.com where she challenges young adults to think truthfully and live daringly. She craves coffee, sunshine, and good books—and loves sharing them with friends. Say hello at kristenhogrefe.com or on Twitter @kjhogrefe.