Are You Ready for Battle?

Ephesians 6:12 “Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

The night before a race, adrenaline pumps through your body as anticipation builds. In preparation for running out the door at the crack of dawn, you strategically organize your gear just right. From head to toe, every single item is laid out in clear view to make sure nothing is overlooked: Hat, shirt, shorts, socks, shoes, anti-chafing cream, Ipod, and of course your GPS watch. If any of these items are forgotten, you’ll struggle to run your race. Each item has a distinct purpose—designed for a specific job to protect you. When your alarm blares loudly in the morning, you’re ready to grab your essentials and confidently head out the door. You can’t fathom not being prepared! You fully understand what’s at stake.

A hat protects you from the blistering sun. Your wicking shirt and shorts soak up moisture—keeping your skin dry. You’d never dream of wearing cotton! Your pricey running socks and cream are worth every penny, protecting your feet from blisters. Your running shoes give you ample support for pounding the pavement.  You’ve downloaded the perfect songs on your playlist, trusting they’ll motivate you throughout the race. Your GPS watch is fully charged, ready to keep you on track. A wise runner is fully prepared—ready to conquer the race ahead, like a soldier armed for battle.

But there’s another battle that should get our full attention. We’re told in Ephesians about a spiritual battle. This battle threatens every believer in Christ. It’s ugly. It’s fierce. Thankfully, this battle is one we don’t have to fight alone.

When it comes to preparing for this battle, are we putting as much emphasis on the armor of God as we are with our running gear? Do we intentionally ponder the powerful pieces of armor God has designed for us? Are we carelessly rushing into challenges and difficulties without any thought of our protection?  If so, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. And in this case the disaster is much more serious than sunburn and blisters!

Each piece of armor is designed with precision to arm us for battle. Our helmet of salvation symbolizes what Christ did for us on the cross. In Biblical times it stood for a sign of military strength.

The breastplate of righteousness allows us to walk confidently, not in our own power, but in the righteousness of Jesus.

What about the girdle of truth? Without this, we don’t stand a chance against the deception of the world and the ploys of the enemy. We must cling to the truth of who we are in Christ.

The shoes of peace we’re privileged to wear allow us to demonstrate love to a hurting world.

The shield of faith is the most important defensive weapon we have. It protects us in the heat of battle, extinguishing all the flaming arrows hurled our way from the enemy.

And last but not least, we must firmly grip the sword of the spirit—the only offensive weapon given to us. With it we demolish the temptations set out to distract and destroy us.

So the next time you’re laying out your physical running gear, let it remind you and inspire you to be prepared for the spiritual battle within your soul. Ready or not, the battle awaits you.

READY? Are you being intentional in putting on your spiritual armor? Reflect on each piece of armor and how it can empower you for your life’s challenges.  What steps do you need to take to ensure you’re completely dressed for battle?

SET. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (Also read Ephesians 6:13-18)

GO! Dear Jesus, thank you for giving me each piece of armor. I desperately come before you and ask you to remind me of the power you’ve given me through each of these.  Help me to humble myself as I put on each piece and walk victoriously each day of my life on this earth. Amen


Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Desperately Drowning?

I rested comfortably in my lounge chair on the beach, curled up with a book and an iced tea. Almost to the point of dozing off, I was startled when several people in the water frantically yelled, “Call 911!!” Not even knowing what was going on, I grabbed my phone and called.

It turned out that two young men had gotten pulled in to a rip current. They’d swam out beyond the posted buoys that warned swimmers to not go past that point.

The area they were caught in didn’t look dangerous. In fact, upon close inspection one would have a hard time believing this area could possibly cause any harm. When one of the men was suddenly pulled into the current, his buddy looked around in disbelief when he couldn’t see his friend. He frantically yelled, “Help!” but it took a little while before anyone even noticed something was wrong.

My husband and sister-in-law were out close enough to hear his desperate cries and alerted others to get help. They waved down people who were on jet skies to go out and rescue these men. In the meantime, everyone on the shore just stood waiting for a rescue squad to arrive and I prayed for God to intervene and spare the lives of these two friends.

Finally after what seemed like forever, I could see two people pulling a third one onto their jet ski. The other young man was pulled out of the current and able to trudge through the water safely back to shore. The young man who’d been sucked under by the current appeared completely exhausted and distressed as he flopped to the ground, surrounded by his worried friends. He and his friend were shaken up, yet they survived.

After further research on rip currents, I learned that some people don’t survive when they get sucked in to this sudden swirl of death. Last year in the United States, 64 people died from drowning as a result of getting caught in a rip current. People will panic when this strong current pulls them out unaware. Their first instinct is to swim against the current in a desperate attempt to get closer to the shore. But the current is so strong they can’t swim against it and they utterly wear themselves out in complete exhaustion and panic…..leading to drowning.

This scenario is similar in how followers of Jesus have an enemy. An enemy who prowls around like a lion, seeking someone to devour(1 Peter 5:8). The enemy doesn’t usually go after crowds. He usually targets those who have wandered away from the core of the flock. Those who are isolated. Those who may have gone outside the safety zone. That is his tactic–to trip someone up where they least expect it. What appears to look calm and harmless on the surface can suddenly knock us down and before we know it, we’re gasping for air–furiously treading water.

So how do we keep from getting caught in the rip currents the enemy desires to pull us  into? For one thing, we don’t stray off by ourselves. We can’t walk this life alone and we need accountability. We need the body of Christ to encourage and build us up. We can’t deceive ourselves into thinking we can figure life out on our own.

We also need to live our lives within the boundaries God has set up for us. I like to call them guard rails. They are there to protect us and keep us from swerving off course. God knows what is best for us and we need to trust Him.

But sometimes life happens and we find ourselves in a tail spin. We wander off to isolate ourselves. We attempt to cure our wounds with human means. We think Nobody else can understand what I’m going through; something must be wrong with me. And that’s when the enemy sees a moving target. He pulls us out further than we intended to go. And just like the pull of a rip current, he sucks us into a trap of swirling doubt.

Doubt that God sees our pain. Doubt that God cares about our pain. Doubt that there is hope.

What do we do then my friend? Do we give up and drown? No! We call out for help. We call out until someone responds. It can’t just be a whisper. It has to be heard. We humbly admit our weakness. We ask for help and patiently allow God to use other believers to help us. That is the body of Christ. Reaching out in the name of Jesus to bring others from the dangers of the sea…to the safety of the shore.

Maybe you’re not the one drowning but a spectator in the water. Are you close enough to those around you that you notice them slipping further away to a dangerous zone? Can you see them beginning to isolate themselves? Don’t wait until they’re close to drowning before you intervene. Keep them accountable, yet hold them close. Nudge them closer to the flock so the enemy can’t suddenly snag them away.

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

rip currents