I’ve been reading in the book of Nehemiah and thinking about the resistance the people of God experienced as they were rebuilding the walls around their homes in Jerusalem. The time-frame is just after the Babylonian Captivity; the folks that had moved in and taken over when the Jews had been taken as prisoners were not happy to see them return and begin work.
I’m thinking that our spiritual enemy, Satan, is not happy to see us working in the church to build and rebuild spiritual walls around our homes and around our neighborhoods. As Christians we live under spiritual attack. Just like those folks back in Nehemiah’s time.
Too many of us, in the church today, think that everything is supposed to be all blessings and fun. Far too many are not equipped when Satan attacks. When illness, relationship difficulties, work troubles, financial problems, personal weaknesses, or direct attacks from those considered our friends or enemies, we are not prepared.
Too many of us think we can cruise through life and when any problem confronts us, we can run to our pastor or friends to rush over and battle for us. Now, there’s nothing wrong with getting counsel or help when times are hard… but every believer needs to be able to begin fighting his or her own spiritual battles. Ephesians 6:12,13 couldn’t be clearer – we are in a war against Satan’s attacks,
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
I challenge you to ask yourself the question, “Am I weapons ready to do battle?” Do I know how to go to the scriptures and find answers to spiritual problems? Am I ready to confront wrong doctrine when it comes against me? Can I recognize false teachers and my spiritual enemies – even when they disguise themselves as my friends? Do I live my life like I’m in a combat zone, with my spiritual weapons of defense ready at a moment’s notice?
Paul wrote his young friend, Timothy, some strong advice,
This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 1 Timothy 1:18
Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
Read how Israel lived and worked in a combat zone with each and every person ready to do battle any moment.
then I stationed men in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, the exposed places, and I stationed the people in families with their swords, spears and bows. Nehemiah 4:13
When our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had frustrated their plan, then all of us returned to the wall, each one to his work. Nehemiah 4:15
From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while half of them held the spears, the shields, the bows and the breastplates; and the captains were behind the whole house of Judah. Nehemiah 4:16
Those who were rebuilding the wall and those who carried burdens took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon. Nehemiah 4:17
As for the builders, each wore his sword girded at his side as he built,… Nehemiah 4:18
So neither I, my brothers, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us removed our clothes, each took his weapon even to the water. Nehemiah 4:23
What a great picture of how each of us is to be doing the work of ministry in our lives with one hand on the work and the other hand on our weapons of defense. You might be asking, “What weapons do Christians carry?” Let’s take a look.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all 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. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, Ephesians 6:13–18
Before combat troops go into a fight, the command is given, “weapons check” at which point the soldiers make sure they are ready for battle. God’s Word gives the same command: “Be ready… to make a defense;” “Stand against the wiles of the devil;” “Fight the good fight of faith;” Be on alert;” Be strong and be ready.” In other words, wear your armor and keep yourself “weapons ready” at all times.
So are you combat ready? If not – get a mentor. Ask someone to help you grow. Get training – take classes, go to seminars, join a small group and actually participate. Study your Bible and if you don’t know how, learn how. It’s war out there… are you constantly wearing your armor – ready for a fight? Or are you unarmed, unready, vulnerable, and uncertain?
Think about it.