Friday, August 30, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: How to Prepare for the Battles of Life


Stand Strong in the Armor of God
A devotional by Kristy Horine

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness 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.” 
– Ephesians 6:10-13 (NKJV)

The white clad figures sat in a circle on mats in the strip-mall-type row of Louisville warehouses. Huge fans at the bay doors sucked air into the sweltering room. Sensei Lane paced at the center of the circle, arms folded, black belt cinched tight at his waist. Training in defensive technique is the heart of Jiu Jitsu. It is serious business. It is warrior business.

Sensei Lane points to a volunteer.

“When this guy pushes us from behind, what is his main objective?”

As one, the people in the circle point to the mats. Sensei Lane nods.

“That’s right. He wants us on the ground. He’s pushing. He wants to pursue. It’s very, very important that you redirect that.”

The volunteer pushes the sensei from behind. The sensei steps forward, pivots, raises his hands in a defensive position. He combines a number of maneuvers and in seconds, the volunteer attacker is on the ground.

Sensei Lane straightens his gi, adjusts his belt. The teaching continues.

“Realize something is happening. Be prepared to take a punch, and a hard punch at that. Be ready to do something instead of just close your eyes and hope it goes away,” he says.

I sat on the chairs at the side of the room and watched. Part of me wanted to be in that circle, learning, moving and being cool like they were. But the bigger part of me was thankful I didn’t have to take the hits and the throws. After watching the Black Belt test that morning, which was the reason why I was there, I realized there are parts of Jiu Jitsu that make you move much slower the next morning.

Sensei Lane chooses a different volunteer and demonstrates another maneuver. There are endless ways to prove the value of defense.

“He’s hoping he’s going to get me to the ground, but as soon as I start to defend, his reaction changes.”

The sensei twists his attacker’s arm under his own, bending the attacker’s wrist into a tight V. A light series of taps from the volunteer indicates a certain pain threshold has been reached. Sensei Lane immediately releases the volunteer. The taps are a safety mechanism. This is, after all, just training.

“Everything has to work,” Sensei Lane stresses. “I want him to want to get away. If you don’t have strikes that work, if you don’t have pinpoint accuracy, if you don’t have proper throws, it’s not going to work.”

I went home that night thinking about what the sensei said. While I have taken a self-defense class and I could probably fend off an attacker if that time comes, I am not quite ready to join the work at the dojo, don a white gi and move through the skill levels.

But what about in my spiritual life? How are my defensive maneuvers? Will I be ready to stand when the day comes?

In Ephesians 6:10-11 (NKJV), the Apostle Paul gives the Christians of Ephesus practical advice in spiritual defense. He said, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”


Paul goes on to tell us in Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV) exactly who we fight against. He said, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

In the final verse of this section of Scripture, Paul restates the practical advice, and then looks forward to what will happen when we use our spiritual defensive maneuvers.

“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.” – Ephesians 6:13 (NKJV) 

In the end, we stand.

But we don’t get there until we are willing to get off our sideline chairs, join the warrior’s circle, and prepare.

This is how we dress ourselves with the Armor of God:

· The belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14)

· The breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14)

· The shoes of the gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15)

· The shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16)

· The helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17)

· The sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17)

All this armor seems heavy, doesn’t it? If we had to carry it by ourselves, surely we would fail. The good news is that we aren’t alone.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
–Ephesians 6:10 (KJV)

His strength. His might. His truth. His righteousness. His gospel. His faith. His salvation. His sword.

Get dressed in the Armor of God. Know the basic defensive maneuvers found in His Word (The Holy Bible) then Stand strong!

Let’s Pray: Oh Heavenly Father, I am so thankful that when the enemy comes – and he will come – I don’t have to fight alone, dressed in my own flimsy armor. Give me the desire and the perseverance to get dressed in Your Armor and to train for Your glory. In the Name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

~*~
Author Bio:
Kristy Horine is a Kentucky writer, freelance journalist by trade and creative by God’s grace.

She writes a little bit of everything including poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. Her professional and creative work has been published in newspapers, magazines and anthologies in Kentucky and beyond.

Kristy founded 3rd Letter Christian Writers in Lexington, Kentucky in 2015. Read more of her work at www.kristyhorine.com.

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