So the battle was lost yesterday. Mourning the loss, I look for the chink in my armor. What part of God’s armor had I failed to put on? Why had I not stood firm? Why was my resistance so weak and ineffective?
I’ve been reading Watership Down, a story in which the main characters are rabbits. The rabbits have distinct personalities and think and converse among themselves … and as a reader, you will pretty much swallow the whole story. (You gotta read it to believe it.)
On a long journey searching for a new home, the rabbits are caught in a storm. They try to take refuge in several old rabbit holes and runs, but the shelter is not adequate. “There is nothing like bad weather to reveal the shortcomings of a dwelling…”
When I read that sentence, I thought of the Ephesians 6 passage about putting on the armor of God to withstand attacks from the powers of darkness. There is nothing like a fierce battle to reveal the shortcomings of our armor.
God does not provide inadequate armor; rather, it is our failure to take on all of God’s armor that leaves us open to attack and sometimes defeat. And when those battles come, then we see where we still need to shore up or take on more of the defenses and weapons God gives us.
Our battle is against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. We need ALL of God’s armor! Why wait until a battle reveals our weak spots, the chinks in the armor, the places we have failed to prepare and arm ourselves?
You can be sure that your enemy knows exactly where your weaknesses lie and where you are most vulnerable.
So I went to Ephesians 6, read it again and again. Why did the battle go so badly? What armor was I lacking? What must I take on to stand firm in the next battle?
May I recommend this exercise? Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Take inventory of your armor and ask the Spirit to teach you to do battle. I found my answer this morning, and it was one more lesson I needed to learn.
I must amend my opening statement. The battle was not lost yesterday. No, Christ has already defeated all the powers of hell itself; the end of this conflict is already decided.
I just lost a small skirmish, and God continues to train me for combat.
Psalm 18 is David’s blog on his own battle, his distress, his cries for help. God rescues him. And then comes the passage in verses 30-45 that describes how God not only protects us but arms us with strength, trains us for battle, and gives us a shield of victory.
Until, well-trained and armored, we can also say,
I chased my enemies and caught them;
I did not stop until they were conquered.
I struck them down so they could not get up;
they fell beneath my feet…
I ground them as fine as dust in the wind;
I swept them into the gutter like dirt.
Ah! Victory! Such a different picture than ambush and distress and defeat.
Would that all my battles end in this way. Until then, I’ll keep checking my armor and training with the Spirit.
Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-18; Psalm 18