Imagine you have a bell in your hand and that when it rings it gives out the most beautiful silvery tone. Can you hear it? It might sound like bells ringing across water assuring everyone that all is at peace. It might be a joyful ringing announcing good news. It could be even a warning bell alerting everyone to take precautions and be safe.
Now imagine that your enemy doesn’t want your bell to be heard. Your enemy, in this case, is Satan. He doesn’t want that bell to ring at all and he’s going to do all he can to keep it from ringing. If he can just fill your bell up with balls of cotton it won’t ring any longer.
Here are some of the “balls” of cotton Satan will try to insert in your bell so that the ringer won’t hit the side and make that beautiful silvery sound:
If Satan can just kill your joy that will be a silencer in your bell. Joy in your Saviour, in life eternal, in the beauty of God’s good earth, all joy is taboo with Satan. He can’t stand joy. And the way he kills your joy is to make you feel guilty or doubt your salvation or for some reason stop trusting Jesus. If he can kill your joy your bell will not ring as clearly any longer.
Another “ball” to dull the clear sound of your bell would be to make you yield to temptation. There’s no way any Christian can avoid yielding to temptation without the help of Jesus. So Satan tries to get us to yield and then feel so guilty we end up yielding again. Result: a dull sounding bell.
If he can’t get your bell stopped by killing your joy or making you yield to temptation he will try other means of taking away your faith. In a crisis he will whisper in your ear and tell you the pain and heartache you’re experiencing came straight from God and you need to just turn your back on Him. And when you listen to Satan your bell goes duller still.
If Satan can keep plugging in balls of cotton such as making you ignore danger signals, taking away your peace, destroying the wonderful fruit God wants you to produce, he will be triumphant. Your bell will go silent so that no one around you will be able to hear the music God intended you to make. You will still be safe for eternity because when you become God’s child, no one can snatch you away. But your bell will be silent.
But wait! There’s a “recipe” for keeping your bell ringing clear and bright, sounding joyfully from hill to hill, and making a difference for those who are hopelessly lost.
Put on the whole armor of God as spelled out in Ephesians 6:10-18. Putting on His armor will make us able to stand against anything Satan throws at us. He won’t have a chance to plug in those cotton balls!
What does the armor include?
First of all, the belt of truth. (v. 14) Snug that belt around your waist (or loins) and breathe deeply of God’s own truth. Know that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Next, put the breastplate of righteousness (v. 14)in place. Listen to the Lord’s commands, both in scripture and from the Holy Spirit, and obey. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33)
Then put on your gospel shoes (v.15), have your feet fitted with preparation which comes from the gospel of peace. When you start on any journey, you select carefully your shoes, don’t you? If you’re hiking, you want the very best sturdy hiking shoes or boots, if you’re going to a tea you want appropriate beautiful shoes. So if you’re starting on a day when you may be battling Satan, be sure to be prepared. Wear those gospel shoes which are put together with peace so that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
In addition to the above, pick up the shield of faith. The shield of faith will keep you safe from the fiery darts Satan wants to hurl at you. How else but with faith can you keep him from silencing your bell? The breastplate of righteousness may seem like enough, but you need the shield of faith also. If you lose all the other pieces of your armor, hang onto that! “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Your hat is usually the last thing you put on. But that doesn’t mean it’s less important. If you don’t have the helmet of salvation none of the rest of your armor is any good. You must have consciously repented of your sins and asked Jesus to be your Saviour. Jesus never forces His way in so you have to invite Him! So now, remembering the time you said, “Lord, I want to follow You,” you place that helmet firmly on your head and prepare to go out into the world.
But wait! There’s one more piece, an oh-so-important piece: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Entering spiritual warfare without our Bibles (actually in our hands ready to read or memorized in our hearts) would be like handing Satan a whole bag of cotton balls and our saying “Have at it!” We are under the command of Lord God Almighty. We have to know His words! We have to stay in touch both by His word and through prayer.
What can God do with one little silver bell? You will be amazed!
So go, ring your bell! Let the whole world know that Jesus Christ is Lord.
(I wrote the above after hearing Brother Carl Harrell preach so effectively at First Baptist Church, Cairo last Sunday on putting on God’s armor– and then hearing the Sons of Jubal sing, ring bells, and play instruments to the glory of God on Thursday night at First Baptist Church, Thomasville.)