Ever feel like you’re drowning, choking on the dust and blood of a battlefield somewhere? Do you ever feel like you’re in the middle of D-Day, a firefight for your soul and all that is good? You are. So am I. In that moment, we’re cruising along and BOOM! Blindsided by the fight, the war going on around us. We start thinking, ‘What the hell is this? Where’s God when I need Him?’ Well, that’s what I start thinking, what I have said to Him recently…maybe I’m the only one but I doubt it. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting my butt handed to me on a pretty deep level, an intense time of spiritual warfare. Let me just say this…whether you believe in spiritual warfare or not, it is very real. It doesn’t really matter if you believe in it or not, it exists with or without your “belief”. I always love it when people say to me, “I don’t believe in God.” Cause I think and often say, “Well, that’s okay because He believes in you.” But, I digress.
So, back to the fight over the last couple weeks. As I said, the battle has been raging and it took my mother to kinda point it out to me that this was what was going on. Then, it took fellow warriors, brothers to come around me and begin to pray with me before the Light began to break through. This morning I met with a couple brothers for coffee. I love these times of sharpening, these times of guarding my heart as Mike put it this morning. So, we’re discussing what’s going on in our lives and Mike says, “This is all preparation. God has you on a crash course for something.” And, I was reminded of Paul…that would be the Apostle Paul, by the way. You know the guy who was beaten, stoned, thrown in prison etc. for his faith, for proclaiming the good news of freedom and life, remember him? Anyway, Paul speaks of training and preparation, buffeting his body, disciplining himself to “fight the good fight”. See, even Paul knew you had to train, prepare.
I was talking to my dad the other day about all that has been going on and asking for advice. Despite some philosophical differences, I always seek my father’s advice. He is one of the wisest men I know. Besides, he seems to be a lot less emotional than me so he’s calmer. Anyway, I was talking to him about all this and he says (paraphrasing), “Remember Ephesians 6 where Paul talks about spiritual warfare and putting on the armor of God. Use the shield of faith, ask God to shield you. Put on the belt of truth by reading scripture. Pick up your sword, our only offensive weapon. Get ready to fight cause you’re in a fight, it’s on.” Now, as I said, I’m paraphrasing what Dad said but holy crap! I got fired up just by him saying that. So, I did. I begged God to shield me, save me from these attacks because I can’t do it without Him.
Some of my friends know how passionate I am about physical fitness. I’m kind of a nut really. Over the last several months, I have discovered a new training regimen. It’s called CrossFit. While I’m not plugging it, it is a fantastic workout and training regimen. The other day, I was at the gym with my coach/trainer. We were doing a CrossFit workout named ‘The Filthy 50’. This involved 10 exercises, 50 reps of each exercise as fast as you can do it. So, I’m working through this, training through it. I’m starting to hurt really badly and suck air. My coach, Bryn, says to me, “I know it sucks. I know it hurts. But, don’t stop, don’t slow down. Keep going! Don’t stop! Don’t stop!” And so, I didn’t stop, I kept moving, kept pushing and broke my own record by over five minutes.
See, I see Jesus sometimes as a coach and as that wise father-figure I go to. He’s the guy saying to me, “Get under the shield. Don’t stop, keep going! Draw your sword, it’s on!!” Know this, He will shield you, whatever you’re going through. He is preparing you, training you for what lies ahead. We cannot fight effectively without training. Soldiers understand this, cops understand this. We must prepare for the day of battle as if our lives depended on it because our lives depend on it!!
So, I know it sucks. I know it hurts. But, don’t stop, don’t slow down. Keep going! Don’t stop! Draw your sword, it’s on!!