Dwight Fletcher | Fight stress with full battle gear
THE BATTLE against stress, which is destroying us, is very intense. We cannot consistently find ourselves in a state of distress and remain healthy physically and mentally. It’s a very powerful enemy so we must fight with full battle gear as outlined in Ephesians chapter 6. We must “… use every piece of God’s armour to resist the enemy…”. Each of the elements that make up our armour and equipment is critical and is a direct confrontation and contradiction of the character of our evil adversary and his kingdom.
Our enemy’s method in this war against stress, at its core is deception. We’re to stand against “the schemes” of the devil. The word used here is the Greek word from which we get our English word ‘methods’. It carries with it the idea of deceitfulness and trickery. Satan knows that he cannot come against the Kingdom of Christ and His followers with raw power, because he lacks the fire power. Christ’s power is much greater than Satan’s and he knows it, so he resorts to “schemes”, trickery, and deceit. Proper use of the armour is about countering Satan’s lies with God’s truth.
Our fight is close and personal as we wrestle. The word wrestle means “a contest between two until one hurls the other down and holds them down”. It’s a face-to-face conflict to the finish. We are wrestling Satan and his forces. It’s strenuous and takes deliberate energy. When it comes to wrestling, Satan is an Olympic champion who wants our external enemy (the world), and our internal enemy (the flesh) to defeat and destroy us. Therefore, he’s constantly looking for an unguarded area in our lives where he might establish a foothold.
Our victory depends on preparation, so to be able to wrestle well we must prepare. When the Apostle Paul wrote this victory strategy, he was staring at a Roman soldier. What separated the Roman soldier from all others was his preparation. Strenuous exercises helped the Romans to be more disciplined, physically fit, and healthier than any other army of their time. What good is knowing how to use a weapon, if we quickly became tired when using it? The Roman soldier’s physical training consisted mainly of marching. The average finishing time for marathon runners is 4.5 hours and a marathon is 26.2 miles. Roman soldiers sought to run 24 miles in five hours while wearing 66 pounds of armour. It sounds nearly impossible, but that was their goal. When they stood before an enemy they were prepared. They had trained until they had broken the limitation in their minds.
We must come to our Christian walk with a similar mentality. The soldiers might have joined the military as overweight and undisciplined weaklings, but by the end of their training, they would have gained great strength, power, and might. Our training is not to gain power, it’s to plug into our power (Jesus), and have that power flowing freely through us.
Too often, Christians don’t train and prepare for spiritual battle. People believe in Jesus for eternal life and receive the seal of the Holy Spirit but then sit around and relax until battle comes. Defeat comes because there’s no discipline, no training, and no exercise so there’s no victory. If our approach and our attitude is correct, we can walk in the truth of the Word as “… more than conquerors through him who loved us” Romans 8:37 (NIV). For us to overcome the attacks of the evil one it is important for us to understand exactly what the six pieces of armour and weaponry we have.