Not soft, passive believers who are unable or unwilling to fight.
That is the face of a warrior.
Humble but guarded.
Mobile but still.
Patient but locked and loaded.
Brave but sensitive.
Strong but interdependent.
Compassionate but protective.
Fierce but quiet.
Quiet....patient....alert.....strong....ready .... and standing his ground.
Those are the characteristics of a Godly warrior.
The New Battlefield
The requirements of today's warrior look different. To engage in combat in our current age requires new skills, new tools and we must look at our battle from a new vantage point. The ways of old are antiquated and out dated when set against the new attacks and the newest technology.
Everyday there are spiritual battles that are raging in the heavenlies, they are in full force, constantly changing, and they do not let up. The closer we get to the coming of Jesus - the more fierce the battle will become. It's a last ditch effort of an enemy, knowing that he is doomed and wanting as many to join him as he can get.
Just looking around us today, you can see that the fight has changed. Satan has updated his combat strategies. His war plan looks different than it did years ago. He has become more stealth-like in his approach, constantly watching, planning, strategizing, and thinking ahead. He watches our behavior and our response to today's events, he watches for the ways that he can sneak in and looks for chinks in our armor.
Satan, also watches the way we train up the new generation who will take over at the battlefield front when we are gone.
Things have changed so much in 6 months - what about 6 years from now...what will the world look like then? What will our young ones have to face?
Part of the prayer over my family each morning is for God to strengthen the young ones: my new grandchildren, my niece, nephews and the special ones in their lives. When our generation leaves this world .... I want the young ones who are left, to be strong in their faith and able to withstand the enemy.
I want Satan to look to the future with worry and dread - knowing that we are growing a new generation who:
are spiritually stronger, more agile, more prepared than we ever were.
are able to recognize evil for what it is
knows what God's word says, what His promises are and how to access them.
knows how to access spiritual understanding, wisdom and strength that readies them for any battle they may face.
have the ability to persevere and overcome whatever may come and be unyielding in their ability to stand.
knows how to be compassionate, not judging but bringing others to Christ.
knows how to pray, how to look into the face of evil and how to call on God.
I want Satan to shiver when he looks into the face of our young ones and babies today because he will meet them on the battlefield in the future.
I want God to build Spiritual warriors.
More than Armor
It's more than armor.
Paul outlines in one of his letters of the New Testament, an overall combat strategy that never grows old.
Look at the book of Ephesians.
Context: Paul was in prison in Rome - under house arrest for his faith. Ephesians was a letter to the church in Ephesus and is considered to be one of the four Prison Epistles. This passage was Paul's call to believers to walk in victory.
The Armor of God Ephesians 6:10-17 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God,so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The armor of God is something that makes us combat ready. We have the:
Belt of Truth - the truth that holds us together
Breastplate of Righteousness - protected against evil by our forgiven righteousness
Shoes of Peace - honoring God by sharing His peace with those around us
Shield of Faith - deflecting evil with our faith in God
Helmet of Salvation - our understanding and thoughts of who we are in Christ
Sword of the spirit - using God's word as our weapon against evil
But, it's much more than that.
There are three active directives that Paul gives in this passage:
Stand your ground
And four times, Paul uses the word stand.
The word stand is an active task ....not a passive one. It takes skill, practice, strength, balance, concentration, focus and perseverance. The definition of the term: Stand your ground is to not give up, not back down, and to have the ability to resist your attacker.
In essence, Paul told us to take up, suit up and stand.
Our day to day battles of dealing with sickness, jobs, money, relationships, disappointments, emotional issues, being treated unfairly, etc. require us to stand. We, as experienced believers know to look at things on this earth from a different vantage point because we know that :
Ephesians 6:12 Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
but...do our kids? Do they know how to stand when things get tough? Do they understand that we face spiritual battles?
They may know Bible stories, scripture verses, the words to praise songs and hymns, and who Jesus is....but do they know how to stand?
Take your stand (vs 11).
Knowing how to stand is not something that you are born knowing how to do, it is a developmental process. It is a skill that is learned through from watching siblings and peers who have already been through the experience, from being supported by older more experienced people, from being reinforced by the encouragement of those around you, from constant practice and building up strength, from making mistakes and learning from them and from direct instruction by those around you.
And once we stand...we have a new vantage point for our battle.
Standing our ground spiritually mimics this same developmental process. Our younger ones have to learn by watching us. They have to watch as we look at some of our day to day issues from a different vantage point....as spiritual battles or teaching moments from God used to increase our faith in Him. They have to watch, by observing us as we walk out our faith before them. They have to watch as we stand....even when we doubt.
Standing firm is something that we must be intentional in teaching. It involves showing them what to do when:
you can't hear God.
it's hard to determine God's voice from the ones in your head
you do eveything you know to do but things still fail.
you have decisions to make but don't know what to do next
things get so hard that you want to give up
you have given all that you have and don't think you can go on
something bad happens and you don't understand why.
your wonder why God would sit and watch you walk through a trial
you feel attacked on all sides, ambushed and alone
you are lacking in finances and in hope
when you face a hardship head-on and are staring at evil directly in the face.
This is part of their Spiritual Warrior training.
This is when Satan, observes the preparation of our young ones, and cringes in fear. This is when he trembles.
He trembles when we teach our young ones not to fear him. He trembles when we show them the weapons they have in their arsenal against him. He trembles when he sees us as we pray over them. He trembles when we pull them away from the screens in order to get their eyes on Jesus. He trembles as we pour Jesus into them night and day. He trembles when we show them that they can use social media to glorify Jesus instead of tearing each other down. He trembles when we show them that God is in control even when sickness looms over us. He trembles when we show them the spiritual vantage point from which we see the world - and they practice using it.
And He trembles when we teach our young Spiritual Warriors that Satan has already been overcome.
Make him tremble....train them to Stand.
My prayer today:
Father God, I pray for our young generation - those who will carry on in the battle after we leave. I pray that You would, now, begin growing them up in You. I pray that You would begin, now, specially outfiting them with their armor. I pray that You would begin now, giving them the skills they need to stand firm in the future. I pray over parents and those with influence, that they would walk intentionally before them - modeling and mentoring their testimony of Your faithfulness. I want Satan trembling when he looks in the future because our young ones will face him with faith, focus, steadfastness, firmly planted in the strength of God and His promise to overcome evil. We love and trust You alone.