Are you Battle Ready?
“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.” (Ephesians 6:10–12, NKJV)
This year the State of Maine is celebrating our 200th anniversary as a state. I was recently at the State museum in Augusta and was reminded of the various histories of our state. One can study the history of immigration, business, education, government, and the arts.
There is another history, the history of the Christian church. For instance, here in North Berwick we have the oldest Baptist church in the state. It predates our state’s incorporation by 52 years.
Another bit of history has been happening in one of the most well known and loved seaside town in Southern Maine, Old Orchard Beach. For 131 summers the Salvation Army has gathered their people from all over the Northeast for camp meetings. Or, as they like to call them, holiness meetings. The present location is where the Seaside Pavilion is situated. Back in the early to mid-90’s that spot was a pine grove with boards nailed between pine trees that served as benches. Summer after summer Salvationists would come to seek the Lord in that pine grove and be refreshed to serve the savior, marching forward.
Last summer I went to hear their General preach. Brian Peddle, a Canadian familiar with Maine, preached a challenging word. I had the good fortune of meeting him prior to the second night of meetings. I found him to be warm, pastoral, and interested in what a Baptist pastor from Maine had to say.
In his message he reminded the Army of his New Year’s message for 2019. In That message he issued a charge for the Salvationist’s to be “Battle Ready”. It is a message equally applicable to every believer in Jesus Christ. General Peddle noted:
“The call is to be battle ready. Now! We must understand the urgency of now! Our world needs Christ today! Not when we finished working out our plans. We continue to fight the battle while we grow. [Daily] We strengthen our resolve and prepare for greater battles.”
The concept of battle, war, and military engagement has been a part of the human race since the fall. Nations against nations. People against people. At this moment it is the unseen enemy of a virus against all people living on this planet.
There is another “unseen” enemy. He is an enemy of God and hates all of humanity for we are created in the image of God. His “wiles” show up in despair, fear, ungodliness, strife, anxiety, and ultimately, hatred.
I believe the devil is an opportunist. He uses human frailty (whether physical or spiritual) to his advantage. Soon after Jesus’ baptism the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He tried (to no avail) to tempt Jesus through physical want, false protection, and political power.
The enemy of your soul is an opportunist right now. It is reasonable to believe he will use the fear of disease and economic want to play with the fears and anxieties of people today – both believer and unbeliever like.
Paul teaches us to be strong in the Lord and His power. That means we need to set aside our power. We must cling all-the-more to our Savior. We do this through the simple means of grace He has given us.
Let me ask you some “battle ready” questions:
- Are you reading and studying your bible daily? If not, for your soul’s sake, carve out some time.
- Are you frequently talking to your heavenly father? Is it less than the time on social media talking to others? For the sake of your soul, adjust your schedule.
- Are you then taking what God has shown you in scripture and prayer and sharing it with another? For the sake of another soul, start today.
To be “battle ready” is to be one that redeems the time. One that makes the most of every situation. The Lord has given the Christian church the opportunity to take the message of Christ into this spiritual battle. Many souls are weary. May souls are frightened. May we be the ones who are read up, prayed up, worshiped up, and ready to give a helping hand up – the hand of gospel hope in these most trying days.
Onward in Christ!