Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-18 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication.
Reflection: I’m going to admit, when I first thought about writing this message, I titled it “Fight like a girl” …. but when I started to think about it, I pictured in my mind how girls fight; very chaotically. Can you picture a girl swinging her arms, even sometimes with her eyes closed? She may get a lot of licks in, but they wouldn’t be focused licks, they wouldn’t be intentional. And this fight we are in is filled with intention. This fight we are in is filled with purpose. I don’t know about you, but I am fighting for the lives of those I love, for the health of the church, cures for disease, for love to abound in every circumstance, for healing, for saved souls, for marriages to become loosed, and the prodigal children to return to what they know to be true.
We need to be fighting with calculated intent to disarm the enemy and we cannot continue to do that with accidental hope. We cannot continue to swing and hope to harm the enemy – or hope to restore life.
The message from Paul, in Ephesians 6:10-18, makes it clear for us. Girls (this is my interpretation) fight against flesh and blood…. women understand that this battle is against the rulers, the authorities and powers of this dark world – and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies. Women understand that this fight requires us to intentionally put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace; and in addition, take up the shield of faith to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one – and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. If that isn’t already a lot; if you are not already tired from preparing for battle – once you have all these protections in place, then you need to pray in the Spirit.
Does this sound accidental to you?
In 2019, let’s be intentional with our prayers, with suiting up for whatever comes our way! Let’s be intentional in sharing God’s word. Let’s be intentional in our fight for fairness! Let’s be intentional in loving ourselves and others! We know things will happen, so let us proclaim now that we will lift our eyes to the hills instead of swinging uncontrollably at our perceived enemy. Give God space, in 2019, to help you to prepare for your battles. Give God permission to love your rough edges, He wants to, I promise. And then, give yourself permission to let go of bitterness, anger, rage, malice, slander, and unhealthy language towards ourselves and others. I cannot promise you that 2019 will be the year that you live your “best life”, but I can promise you that if you are purposeful in seeking God, He is there to be found.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for being my strength. Thank You for being my guiding star through 2018. I’m ready now, to prepare for battle. I’m ready to enter this new year equipped with Your armor – to bring this world back to You. When the fight becomes too much Lord, I promise to look to You instead of bowing out. Because I know You never meant for this to be a fight of one – I will be waiting in great expectation for those You will send into my life to bring and share blessings and lessons. This year I will no longer feel like I can only come to You when I’ve gotten myself together – I’m coming to You now Lord, this last day of the year, broken, bruised, forgotten, tossed aside, grieving, uncertain and lost – to be found and loved by You. I’m opening myself up to be used, only by You! This year God use me to fulfill Your will on earth, which leads to the plan You have for my life. I’m ready – and I’m willing. Let’s Go, together!
All my best, Toby