I would expect that if someone was going into battle to fight for our country they would have the proper equipment. I would know they would have the proper camouflage clothing and footwear and the necessary head gear. I would be certain they would have the proper weapons for the battle they were facing. I would also be sure they had been properly equipped for the task that lay ahead of them. And I would hope they took their training seriously because to them or a comrade it could mean life or death.
Why is it that as followers of Jesus who are in a war for our very souls we are so lax in our battle preparations? We take life so lightly that when trouble comes we duck and run or hide or our reactions are so out of character for a Christ follower it would almost seem we were on the wrong side. We often live as though we have no arsenal at our disposal.
Recently I learned that when a bear is wounded or shot he has the ability to lower his heart rate to slow the flow of blood and thus prevent himself from bleeding out. It means he can still be on the attack. It makes him unpredictable and meaner and more aggressive.
As believers we know another who also has lost his battle. And he knows it. That makes him meaner, more aggressive, and more unpredictable. Satan moves around slithering, sometimes very subtle and quiet and other times right in your face as he hurls things at you. He has been described as a roaring lion and also a snake. Both have the ability to come at us out of nowhere.
But why are we surprised? We are in a war zone. Every day we fight little battles that have the ability to give us victory or defeat.
Satan has already lost for all eternity, but he continues to launch mortar against us every day. If he can keep us from living like Christ, then our neighbors won’t see Jesus and won’t desire Him. Our families won’t come closer to Him because the way we are living is not endearing others to Him because we aren’t really living out His character. Our co-workers, those in the grocery line, or countless others we touch every day won’t see Jesus.
We are sometimes so oblivious to living in a war zone that we are not thinking that what comes out of us is saying something about Who we follow. We don’t see the little daily irritations as places where we reveal who we are really fighting for and so we excuse or justify our behavior.
The Battle Belongs to the Lord
We need to be reminded that the battle belongs to Lord (1 Samuel 17:47). And we need encouragement: “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).
Yes the battle is God’s battle. He promises to train us, equip us, and go ahead of us. And sometimes I am convinced He defeats the enemy I am not even aware of, but other times the children of Israel are instructed in how to fight. God is our Captain. He leads the charge. Every moment of our day has the potential to be a war zone. Are we following close to our Commander?
Christ Has Already Defeated the Enemy
Romans 8:38-39 reminds us: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing can separate us from God. No one has the power to change the outcome. How glorious and freeing! Satan has lost and yet…we are exhorted to be alert and dress for battle (1 Peter 1:8; 1 Samuel 17:34). Why? Satan desires for us to live a joyless, defeated, hopeless life. Satan desires for us to live a life that won’t give testimony to Christ’s goodness, love, and mercy.
Here are the instructions from our Commander from Ephesians 6:10-18.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).
How can we be strong in the Lord? “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).
Why do we need God’s armor every day? “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 4:12-13).
What are we to wear? “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 4:14-18).
Going into battle prepared with the entire arsenal that God through Christ Jesus has provided means we don’t fight alone, and we don’t fight in our own strength but in His truth with His Spirit. It means the Word is part of our daily life giving direction, instruction, and encouragement. Going into battle prepared means my emotions, my thoughts, and my deeds are protected with righteousness and truth. I have protected my mind from being too self-absorbed; I have protected my emotions and my heart so I practice godliness. I persevere because the battle has really been won!
It means we have the ability to respond differently when darts are thrown at us. When life happens unwanted and unexpected, we have One who goes ahead of us as well as One who equips us for the day.
Join the Conversation
What do you need to do to prepare for battle each day?
Do you recognize the bear?