Guest Devotional by Molly Wicox
Big Takeaway: God equips us with the tools we need.
If you stopped by my house today you would find me covered in dust and sweat while wearing funny-looking work goggles. I've spent the last few days getting busy with our house renovations in our new home. When my husband and I decided to buy a house, we had two choices. We'd either purchase a project or move further away from Nashville in order to get in a home that was move-in ready. We chose the projects, and we've jumped into them with ambition and vision. So far, we are having the best time renovating our house. We daydream about what it will look like one day while standing on a ladder scraping the popcorn ceilings with a little scraper for hours. I'm not experienced in home renovations and didn't grow up in a DIY family. When we needed a plumber or an electrician, we hired one. So, this is all new to me! But I learned something important very quickly. After scraping the ceilings, it was time to clean off the chunks that had fallen into the carpet. I started with a small vacuum that I normally use, and saw little success. I vacuumed the same spots over and over and they were still dirty. Then, I realized the entire vacuum was clogged up with pieces of the ceiling. I had to spend even more time cleaning the vacuum when all I wanted to do was hop in the shower and relax. Later, my husband helped me set up our new shop vacuum, which is specifically made for heavy-duty jobs. I lugged it upstairs to see how it would handle my mess and was amazed by how quickly and efficiently it worked. Within minutes, I was staring at clean carpets. When I peaked inside the vacuum, my mess had hardly made a dent in its capacity. My husband looked at me and said, "Isn't it crazy how important it is to use the right tools?" The next day as I scraped more of the ceiling off in another room, I kept thinking about what my husband said. I was making a mess knowing the right vacuum would handle it in no time, so I worked with peace of mind and freedom. As believers, I think we often try to tackle difficult jobs with the wrong tools. As a result, we're left with more work and a bigger mess than when we started. Thankfully, God didn't leave us unequipped. Jesus said, "But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you" (John 16:7). When Jesus left, He made a point of how important the Advocate, or Holy Spirit, He promised us was. A clear list of the tools we can make use of as believers are also found in Ephesians 6:13-18, "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." If you're struggling with tackling a mess in your life, I want to kindly offer you the solution I found so helpful with my popcorn ceiling problem. Maybe your mess requires different tools. To find the right tools, look to the Word of God and to His Spirit. God equipped us with His Spirit so that we can approach all the messes and issues of this world with confidence because of our covenant with Him. Consider the difficulty or challenge you're facing and what tools you are using. I often call my sisters or vent to a friend when I'm experiencing something difficult, but the tool I'm forgetting to use in those moments is praying in the Spirit on all occasions with all requests. Invite the Spirit of God to show you the tools He can equip you with and use to tackle your problems or messes. Just like using the right vacuum, it can make a huge difference! Reflect: What tools do you use when you face challenges? Could you rely more on the tools God provides?