Mark's spiritual armor
A Christian Science perspective on daily life.
Mark liked a library book about knights. He learned that their armor protected them from enemy attacks and that this armor was passed along from father to son. It wasn't long after he read the book that he saw the value of armor in his own life – a different kind of armor, a spiritual armor.
Mark's family had recently moved to a new town, and Mark was enrolled in a new school. One morning he woke up feeling too sick to go to school. When his mother sat down on the edge of his bed, he told her that his teacher had spoken to him in a mean way and that none of the children liked her because she was crabby. He said he didn't like her either. Then he added, "It's not that I don't like her. I like her, really I do. I just don't like the things she says."
They both wanted to see his teacher as loving, gentle, and patient, the way God had created her. Mother told Mark that he'd made a good start by separating what he didn't like about his teacher from her as a child of God's creation. Mark had learned about this idea in the Christian Science Sunday School he attended.
He didn't want to believe that his teacher was unloving and he saw that he could defend himself against these thoughts by keeping his spiritual armor on. Because he'd enjoyed the story about the knights so much, his mother showed him a passage in the Bible that talks about putting on "the whole armour of God." This is armor that you use in your thinking instead of wearing on your body, and the Bible says it includes "the breastplate of righteousness … the gospel of peace … the shield of faith … the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:13-17).
Mark saw that the breastplate of righteousness shielded him from believing unkind thoughts and that the gospel of peace helped him not to repeat unpleasant things about his teacher. The sword, which is the word of God, gave him the strength to reject hurtful criticism and unjust comments. His shield gave him the confidence to be firm in what he knew about God's creation, including both him and his teacher. The helmet of salvation assured him of victory over thinking that impatience or crabbiness could be bigger or more powerful than God.
He saw that his defense was what God knew about him as His loved child, just as it had been David's defense when he went forth to fight Goliath (see I Sam. 17:38-50). Mark added, "And my Father-Mother God gave me my armor. If I have my armor on, I won't say that my teacher is impatient and unkind. And I won't think of her that way either."
"That's right," his mother said, bending over to hug him. Then she reminded him of a statement made by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science: "Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 210).
Mark liked the idea that good thoughts were his armor and that his thoughts could benefit others, too, including his teacher. He and his mom were grateful for the ideas they'd shared about spiritual armor. Together they kept close to God in prayer that day. Early the next morning, Mother found Mark playing with his blocks. He looked up at her with a big smile and said, "I'm ready to go to school and I'm going to keep my armor on."
After school, he told his mom that his teacher had said, "We're glad to have you back, Mark." The rest of the school term went well, and afterward, Mark said happily that he liked his teacher and the nice things she said and did, and that he'd learned a lot. He was glad to know about the value of keeping his spiritual armor on.