During the Korean War, Guy’s unit was involved in a routine parachute training. One day, as the group was preparing for a drop, it was discovered that there were not enough regular parachutes to go around, and one of the right-handed men was forced to take a left-handed chute. “It is the same as the others,” the ordnance sergeant assured him, “but the rip cord hangs on the left side of the harness. You can release the chute with either hand, but it is easier to do it with the left.” The team boarded the plane, went up to eight thousand feet, and over the target area one after the other they jumped out. Everything went well, except for one of the men: his parachute never opened, and he fell straight to his death on the desert below.
Guy was part of the investigating team sent to determine why the chute didn’t open. The dead soldier was the one who had been give the left-handed release latch. The uniform on the right side of his chest, where the rip cord for a regular parachute would have been, had been completely torn off; even the flesh of his chest had been gouged out in long gashes by his bloody right hand. A few inches to the left was the actual rip cord, apparently untouched. There had been nothing wrong with the parachute. The problem had been that, while falling through that awful eternity, the man had become fixated on the idea that to open the chute he had to find the release in the accustomed place. His fear was so intense that it blinded him to the fact that safety was literally at his fingertips.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand firm.
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
- What are you fixated on? How are you looking in all the wrong places for something to save you?
- Why do you think it is important that none of the “armor of God” protects your backside?
- What type of clothes are you more likely to wear? The tired rags of anger, malice, deceit or compassion, kindness, humility bound by love? Why is it so hard to wear these new clothes?
- Why does Paul emphasize the word “standing” (v. 11, 13-14) in this section? How can you stand firm in your faith when the world shakes around you? What do you need to arm yourself with?
- From what has Jesus rescued you?