Some days we rise up and more than conquer whatever comes our way. Other days, for whatever the reason, we are more than conquered by various physical maladies, mental pressures, the inability to subdue anger or a whole array of fiery darts flung in our direction. On the days we succumb to the flurry of fiery arrows thrown our direction; do we fall into condemnation (the biggest arrow of them all) or do we forget those things which are behind and move on? I would pray our response is to move on, the same as it should be when we have a good day.
Sometimes the attacks that buffet us take awhile to build up while at other times they seem to come out of nowhere. This should not be surprising since in warfare, there are times of huge buildups of troops and other times when there are ambushes and sniper attacks. We must learn to be on guard against all the wiles of the enemy and not just a few. A huge part of being prepared for whatever comes our way is to prepare for the worst and believe for the best. Unless we take the time and effort to prepare for the absolute worst the enemy could hurl at us, we will be unprepared for it. If he sees we are prepared, he will usually move onto another person or change his battle plan.
Is preparing for the worst being negative? Is taking the time to repair spiritual fences, checking to make sure there are plenty of bullets, cleaning the rust off of our armor, sharpening our sword and other menial tasks to be construed as a waste of time? Anything we can do to get the advantage over the enemy is never a waste of time but rather an outward expression of our faith. If we believed the enemy was going to overrun us and crush us, why bother to do anything to prepare for his inevitable attacks?
One of the biggest problems believers face is complacency. When there is a lull in the battle, they decide to take some Rand R time. This sounds good unless it breeds a complacent attitude which is equivalent to being over-confident or apathetic. Certainly we are not supposed to spend all our time focusing on the adversary or we will become obsessed with him at the expense of God. But, we must be aware of his devices, plan for his attacks and build up our spiritual defenses or we will be sitting ducks when he attacks.
As you know, I spent a lot of time working down on the Gulf of Mexico coast after Hurricane Katrina. If there was one thing being preached to the citizens down there at the time, it was to be prepared for another storm. Many of the people heeded the warnings for a few years, but when no major storm came, they let down their guard and most of the people down there now are no more ready for a hurricane than they were before Katrina. If a storm comes, guess what will happen?
There may be days, weeks, months or even years at a time when there is no major spiritual conflict in our lives. This should not be surprising since this is one of the adversary's favorite tricks. He loves to provide a false sense of security so as to facilitate his aim of God's people getting physically lazy, spiritually complacent and mentally in a fog. When any of these things happen within a believer, the result can be devastating. We can enjoy the downtime when the battle is taking a lull, but we can never afford to become complacent or rest on our spiritual laurels.
I heard long ago that the time to clean your rifle is NOT in the heat of battle. The time to prepare for conflict is NOT when the conflict is raging. We must discipline ourselves to prepare when there is no battle so as to be prepared to fight when the battle is hot and heavy. Building up our minds with the truth of God's Word, striving to take care of our bodies and strengthening ourselves spiritually should be our orders for everyday, but especially when the conflict is cool instead of hot.
When we have a bad day (physically, mentally or spiritually) we must immediately learn from it and move on lest we get bogged down in the murk and mire of condemnation, bitterness or self pity. We may not win every battle but we have the promise from God that we have already won the war. Onward and upward fellow Christian soldiers!
When I was reading the memoirs of a woman growing up in the American West in the last half of the 19th century, I remember her talking about her father's rifle. After he returned from a day of hunting, he tended to his weapon right away. He would carefully inspect and clean it and then he loaded it and placed it above the door so that it would be ready and within easy reach should the sudden need arise to use it to protect his family against danger. The comfort she derived from knowing that her father was armed and ready to protect his family if necessary was evident in her words.
I know little about guns but I do know they need to be kept clean and in top-notch condition. The consequences of using a dirty weapon can be serious and even fatal. The same is true of weapons such as swords. Your blog reminded me of how important it is to not only use but maintain the weapons God has given us. We need to clean off the muck and mire with the promises of God's Word.
"Building up our minds with the truth of God's Word, striving to take care of our bodies and strengthening ourselves spiritually should be our orders for everyday, but especially when the conflict is cool instead of hot."
Wisdom from a "true soldier"... who knows the powerful truth of this!