BY: RICHARD LEE
Preparations always have to be part of the plan before carrying out a mission. Before battling in the trenches, a linemen needs to put on his pads and helmet in addition to studying plays and watching game film of the other team. In the battle of the trenches in World War One, a soldier needed to wear protective equipment and carry his weapons. A baseball scout needs to bring his notebook, pitch radar, and game ticket to prepare for watching a prospect play. A boxing manager needs to schedule matches and promote their fighter. A police officer needs to carry his gun and badge. Professors need to have their power points and notes ready for their lecture. College students prepare by doing their homework, reading their textbooks, and showing up to class on time.
When someone has a goal, there has to be prep work accounted for. So what does a Christian do? At times, it doesn’t even seem like preparation is necessary because Christians at times appear to not even have a goal. Sometimes it seems like there’s no point in doing anything Christian related.
But just like anything else, there is a purpose to Christianity.
In Matthew 22:37, Jesus says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
That sounds simple enough: Love God.
Right after that in Matthew 22:39, Jesus says “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Neighbors don’t have to be limited to the people that live next door from you. Neighbors can mean anybody that comes around your way. So that means Jesus is telling Christians to love everybody around them.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells his disciples “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
Soooo… that means tell people about Jesus and what he did.
So there is a point to Christianity even though it doesn’t always seem obvious. So since Christians have a goal (love God, love neighbors, and make disciples), how do they prepare for it? Since Christians have a mission and a reason to do what they do, there has to be an obstacle or an antagonist.
Just like in any conflict, Christians enter a fight and their opponent is sin. The battleground is much bigger than any warzone or football field though. When Christians go out for war, the whole world is their battlefield. We live in a world where society embraces sin. According to the Bible, sin is defined, as anything that is against God and it’s everywhere. Christians are always going to be tempted and encouraged to partake in activities that move closer towards sin and farther away from God. Jesus was tempted by the Devil. It even says in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Society encourages us to follow its path and not Jesus’s. We’re encouraged to go to school and find a good job with good healthcare or have a Disney or Nicholas Sparks kind of love story or establish the best reputation in whatever among your peers. All that’s great to have. We’re humans so it’s natural to want that but for Christians, their number one priority should be God and everything under that list needs to be based off of God.
So how do Christians prepare for battle against sin? It’s a war. They can’t just step onto the field and go. Fortunately, everything they need is in Ephesians 6:10-20. It’s the armor of God. This is the ultimate preparation for a Christian. This armor is built specifically to protect against the “powers of the dark world.” The Scripture says that this armor consists of a belt (Ephesians 6:14), a breastplate (6:14), fitted feet (6:15), a shield (6:16), a helmet (6:17), and prayer (6:18). The belt represents “truth”. The breastplate represents “righteousness of place.” The feet fitted represents “readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” The shield represents “faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. The helmet represents “salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” This full body suit isn’t meant to actually physically be worn, but a Christian assembling all those pieces together demonstrates a firm and established foundation as well as an understanding of the Gospel.
All the descriptions and different parts of the armor might seem like a lot but when it comes down to the bottom line, it’s really simple: all those pieces are easily obtained if one puts their complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ. But what does complete faith and trust in Christ mean? It’s not complicated, it just simply means Jesus saved and changed your life. The last piece of the armor is prayer. This might be the most significant of them all because armor can always be chipped or damaged, just like our faith. The armor works well but God provides an insurance plan in case it doesn’t work out. With prayer, Christians will never be alone because they can always call for help when they need it.
So in terms of preparation for war, Christians are ready; however, being ready for war isn’t why the title of this piece is “Are you ready?”
Life’s not meant to be easy. Everybody’s going to go through struggles and tribulations because we live in a broken and sin-infested world. Christians need to prepare their armor when it comes to interacting with the Devil’s playground of a world. But at the end of the day, can Christians really win this fight? The answer’s no; after all, Christians are only humans.
This is where the question “Are you ready?” really goes into effect. This is what we all need to prepare for.
Jesus is coming back.
Revelations 22:12-13 says, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
No matter how brutal, hopeless, one-sided and ugly the war gets for the Christians, their side’s going to win because a hero’s going to swoop in and save the day. Think Batman coming back to punch Bane in the mouth in The Dark Knight Rises… but bigger.
Jesus already won when he defeated death and rose again on the third day for our sins but he’s coming back down to our world to call us up with him. It doesn’t take much to prepare for this. All we have to do is love God, love our neighbors, and make disciples, and everything else is going to come naturally. I can’t tell you when the day comes but when it happens, are you ready?