Refuge and Shield

Refuge and Shield

Key Texts: Psalm 119:113-114

I hate double-minded people,

   but I love your law.

You are my refuge and my shield;

   I have put my hope in your word.

 

Are you double-minded or are you singularly focused, in terms of your faith and devotion to God?

Our society is big on multi-tasking. We are expected to be a good citizen, perhaps a good spouse or parent, a good church member, or at least a good member of the faith.

It can sound a bit overwhelming, when put like that.

But Scripture makes it quite clear – this business of “spiritual priorities.”

We aren’t supposed to just turn to and study the Scriptures now and then. We aren’t allowed to “work God in” wherever it fits our schedule.

A Christian is called to be a “Christ-follower” first and foremost – which in turn guides and informs all the other things we do – as citizens, spouses, parents, etc.

Putting our hope in God’s word, and God’s grace, means that we do not go it alone.

In return, we are promised that God will be our shield and our refuge through all the ups and downs of life.

It seems to me this is a far cry from how many people live these days. For them, “religion is all fine and good” – just as long you don’t carry it to an extreme. After all, they explain, too much of even a good thing is a problem.

So we have a choice to make.

We can “get a little religion” now and then – when it suits.

Or we can daily “pick up our cross” and follow Christ – letting Christ instruct us, guide us, comfort us – be our refuge and our shield – day in, day out, every hour of the day.

Yes, it’s a tall order. It’s what Christ meant when he said things like “to save your life you have to lose your life.”

It’s a paradox alright. We find our place in God’s kingdom by being willing to give up ownership of our own lives, recognizing that life is itself a gift from God.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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