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

RunnersGear

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Watch Out for Black Ice!

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

 

Snow had fallen the night before. Previously covered roads were now cleared completely. Or so it seemed. We were warned to look out for black ice before gearing up for our weekly long run. Mounds of snow lined the edges of the road. The path ahead looked safe, yet patches of black ice couldn’t be detected with the naked eye. A few runners up ahead were in their perfect stride, their eyes fixed ahead, when suddenly one of them slipped! She tried furiously to catch herself. Yet her attempt was futile. Bam! Spinning out of control, she fell onto the frozen ground. Shaken, she slowly stood up, caught her breath and continued—at a much slower pace.  Nobody could see the culprit. That sneaky patch of black ice, lurching in the shadows. She didn’t know it was there until it was too late.

Black ice. Why is it called this? If it were black, wouldn’t one be able to see it? But by definition, black ice refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. Because of its transparency, it allows black asphalt roadways to be seen through it. It’s practically invisible to drivers as well as runners, causing a risk of skidding and accidents due to the loss of traction.

Isn’t black ice kind of like those sins we hold onto sometimes? Not the outward ones obvious to most. No, I’m referring to the ones that are embedded deep within us. Those secret sins we try to keep hidden. To the naked eye, they can’t be detected. On the outside we may look polished, presentable and perfect. But deep inside there’s a losing battle with an ugly thing called pride. Although it can’t be seen, pride will rear its ugly head out of nowhere when least expected and before we know it, we’re sliding. Skidding. Losing our balance. We try with all our human might to catch ourselves. Just like the runner I witnessed.  But most often we come to an abrupt halt and crash humbly to the ground.

Pride comes before a fall. Just when we think we’ve paced ourselves with our perfect stride, patting ourselves on the back for all we think we’ve done in our own power, that’s when we’re most susceptible to the black ice of pride.

I’m not like that person.

 I’m better than he is.

I haven’t given in to the sin she struggles with.

We blow ourselves up with such powerful pride that we don’t even see the ground beneath us. We don’t see the danger of what’s ahead. Pride is such a deadly sin because it takes our eyes off Jesus and puts the focus on self. Instead of going at the pace designed for us, we do things our own way and suddenly we lose traction, falling to the ground.

READY?  Do you ever find yourself pointing out obvious sins of others? Why are we so quick to do so? Are there areas of your own life where God is pointing out pride? Are you willing to humble yourself and surrender before you fall? Ask him to shine his light on your pride.

GET SET. Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

GO! Heavenly Father, please forgive me for the times I’ve judged others for outward sins when I’ve neglected to see the pride in my own heart. Help me to keep my eyes on you one step at a time so I can be aware of anything that would cause me to fall. Thank you for your grace.

black ice

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

http://www.reststopforthesoul.com