Last night, I watched American Ninja Warrior. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a show where athletes compete against each other on a difficult obstacle course that consists of 6 challenges, ending with a 14 foot wall. One of the things I love about the show is they highlight certain contestants, telling about their lives away from ANW and how they train. What should come as no surprise is that those who trained the hardest generally went the farthest. These warriors spend all their extra time training specifically for this race – even building obstacles in their own home on which to practice. As I watched, God showed me the spiritual parallel.
I have a confession. I’ve grown weak. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lost or backslidden, haven’t quit believing or quit praying. But, I’ve quit training, so to speak. I write here often about spiritual warfare and about the armor of God. Well, I’ve let some of my armor get a little rusty. And because I don’t read His Word as much as I should – it’s become a sporadic chore instead of a daily delight – my “sword” feels heavier than it should when I try to brandish it at the enemy.
Fortunately, God is patient and loving and kind, even when He points out our shortcomings. He has spoken to my heart and reminded me of the need to be ready. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.” (NLT). As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been having some battles lately. Some are minor skirmishes, whereas others are all-out war – but either way, I need God’s armor. ALL of it, not just the pieces that are comfortable.
What is God’s armor? Ephesians 6:14-17 says, “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition, to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” The belt of truth is pretty obvious – you must know the truth and gird yourself with it before you try to fight the enemy – he is the father of lies and will have you confused if you don’t know the truth. Where the NLT says body armor of righteousness, some version say breastplate. Our hearts need protecting. We must arm ourselves with the knowledge that we are righteous because we belong to God. The shoes of peace are simply being prepared to tell everyone about the peace that comes in the good news of Jesus Christ. The shield of faith will help guard you when the enemy shoots his lies at you. The helmet of salvation protects our all-too-vulnerable mind. We must be secure in the knowledge of our salvation to stand against the devil. And finally, our sword. That is the only offensive part of the armor. And it’s all we need. Jesus used God’s Word against the enemy and we must also – it’s the only thing that is truly effective.
So. Can we fully arm ourselves and be ready for battle if we’re not training? Nope. We must be spending that time every day or we’ll find ourselves weak, weary, confused and overwhelmed. How do we train? Spend time with God, read His Word, praise Him, worship Him. And then keep your eyes open because “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). You don’t wanna be a lion snack do ya? Then be ready to fight!
Be blessed and tell someone you love them.