With a Smile or a Frown-The Choice is Yours: Victory Series, Part 15 (Our Armour)

It's amazing what one can learn from a plane trip to Vancouver.

As my wife and I made our way towards the back of the aircraft, we were a little surprised to find our seats were the last ones that could be occupied by passengers. The only thing behind us was the row of seats reserved for the flight attendants. As we settled in and stored our carry-on luggage, we had to wonder if we had been given these seats so that we could better feel the bumps and the many air holes that this aircraft would encounter. Maybe we would be lucky enough to enjoy a 5 hour roller coaster ride!

It wasn't long before my wife discovered that the movie screen on the seat back in front of her was on strike. No matter how much she tried to bribe or coax the tiny little monitor, it continued to stare at her blankly. Even the three separate attempts by the flight attendants to reset the screen were completely ineffective.

In the meantime, I was having my own challenges. I had just finished my tomato juice when the flight attendant offered me a second cup. I eagerly accepted it. The only problem … My hands were already full! You wouldn't even be able to imagine the acrobatics I had to undergo to set the cup safely on the seat-back table and still keep my magazine open to the right page! Unfortunately, though the cup arrived safely, half of its contents did not, and I watched in despair as 3 ounces of thick, red fluid settled itself-into the fabric of my beige pants!

The flight attendant was very helpful. She handed me a handful of napkins, and in the end, I no longer had red juice oozing down my leg. In fact, I was completely clean! Oh. Except for the colour it left behind … I looked like someone who had been targeted by rotten tomatoes!

"Why not use your Tide stick," my wife suggested.

Thanks to her, I try to always have one handy, and it wasn't long before I was using an "Instant Stain Remover" stick on my own pants. Luckily for me, I was at the very back of the plane, because after my cleaning expedition, the tomato stains were gone, but my pants were riddled with wet spots in very inopportune places!

During all of my contortions, my tennis ball fell on the floor (Yes, I do travel with a tennis ball, just in case I get bored! Not really. I use it for sore spots on my back, which after all my acrobatic manoeuvres, were quite numerous!). It then proceeded to roll all the way back to the stewardess station. When I finally located it, I was met by a very confused flight attendant, scratching her head, trying to figure out who was playing tennis on an aircraft!

All of the flight attendants on that plane were very good sports. They seemed to take everything with a smile, and tried to be as accommodating as possible. When my wife's TV screen continued to resist every attempt to make it work, they even let us sit in their seats so that my wife could use their movie screen for the long flight.

Our experience however, stood in sharp contrast to the passenger we met at Pearson International Airport prior to boarding our flight. She complained constantly, the entire time she was in the check-in line. This airline was terrible. This terminal of the airport was the worst. The check-in set-up was completely inefficient. The service onboard this airline was horrible …

I wonder why she was flying this airline at all?

Our attitude has a big impact in whether or not we experience victorious living. This is why the apostle Paul encourages for us to wear the next piece of spiritual armour: "With the breastplate of righteousness in place…" (Eph 6:14 NIV)

Although the breastplate in Roman times was only made of thick leather, it provided the most fundamental protection against the deeply penetrating arrows, swords and knives to the most vital parts: heart and lungs. A puncture in any of these two essential organs would mean instant death!

Righteousness plays the same role in our lives. It is our protection against any evil that tries to penetrate our hearts, which is the seat of our emotions, beliefs and attitudes. As our physical hearts pump blood, thereby giving life to every cell in our bodies, we, too, are encouraged to bring life to our words and actions through the righteousness in our feelings, beliefs and attitudes. Will it bless others or will it hurt them? It all depends upon our attitude!

Righteousness, however, is not something we strive for. It is a gift from Jesus Himself: "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." (Rom 5:17 NIV)

We have to decide whether to accept it or neglect it!

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." (Phil 2:5 NIV)

The next time you are in line waiting to check in your suitcases, decide whether your attitude will be a righteous one or one of a spoiled brat; whether you will be a blessing to others or a curse.

May our prayer always be: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Ps 51:10 NIV)

P. S. Would you like a tennis ball? Or would you prefer more tomato juice?

Rob Chaffart

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