You have a fight on your hands. Ephesians 6:12 reads:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” (The New American Standard Version ’95)
“Your hand-to-hand is not with human beings…” (The Passion Translation)
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…” (English Standard Version)
“We are in the ring with the MMA champion of evil…” (The Old Guy Version)
Not good. Struggle, hand-to-hand, wrestling, and a Mixed Martial Arts bout – and you aren’t in shape! Bloody and bruised to say the least; accidents and sickness to say more; bondage and death to say the most.
Paul writes a training manual in Ephesians 6:1-20. Read it over and over a few times.
Even the Apostle Paul wrestled in a Mixed Martial Arts ring. Paul records in 1 Thessalonians 2:18, “We miss you badly, and I personally wanted to come to you, trying again and again, but our adversary, Satan, blocked our way.”
Hmmmhhhmmm. It seems that Paul lost round one (not eternally) of an MMA bout with the evil one. If Paul lost a round, what happens to you – 15 pounds overweight and you haven’t memorized a verse of scripture in decades; getting winded walking up a flight of stairs; two years since you had a serious prayer meeting with other Christians?
You get the point. Being out of shape for spiritual warfare or any other physical context means defeat. Are you in spiritual shape for the upcoming end-of-times wrestling match of history?
Don’t get your fear level in an uproar, just because in one month you will be thrown into an octagon cage with a lion seeking to devour you. No worries! You have God in heaven listening to your prayers, Jesus at God’s side and on your side interceding for you, and the Holy Spirit is in you (Romans 8:26-27 and 34).
Yes, you have the ultimate tag team to help you. The best strategy: tap out quickly, and let the power of God take over!
- Build a base of faith. All coaches teach that you need a base of fitness. When I start cycling in the Spring it takes 500 miles to get a base of conditioning. Faith base-levels are regular times of devotional prayer and Bible reading.
- Do intervals. Recent studies show that when you do a minute of fast-paced exertion followed by a half minute of rest, you will be in better shape than exercising at a steady pace. What are intervals for you? Try giving a tithe as a base, then an offering over and above as an interval. You love Springfield; go on a short-term mission trip, or ask to help me with Zoom training of pastors in Russia or the Philippines. You have been stuck at home. Ask to serve in the children’s ministry or a food pantry when inoculated.
- Exercise with accountability. You will never be as fit as possible exercising by yourself. You must worship with others, submit to the teaching of pastors, and above all, walk in accountable relationships. For you, the isolation of 2020 must be the agreeing prayer of 2021.
I am going to continue this theme of spiritual warfare in Interruption #283. But right now, I’m going to take a shower!! Those who encounter me today will shout “Amen!”