We are in a spiritual war as believers. Ephesians 6:10-18 makes that very clear.
I was reminded of this today in engaging with a member from a false religion. There were two other believers with me, so I just did most of the listening and let the three of them do most of the talking.
I admit standing there, I felt quite ill-equipped. I knew that what was being shared by this person was false, yet I couldn't think of any specific Bible passages or verses to address the falsehood. I had a hard time thinking clearly, even to pray.
I got a taste of the front lines of the war of deception and realized I was inadequately prepared.
We live in a culture that puts so much emphasis on physical appearance, health, and the strength of an individual. One doesn't have to look or go far to see this played out.
Yet, while we should be taking care of and exercising the physical bodies the Lord has given us, how infinitely more important is taking care of and exercising the spiritual!
Don't get me wrong, spiritual and physical heath can't be separated. A believer who is following the Lord wholeheartedly is going to take care of themselves physically so that they might be able to serve the Lord to their fullest potential. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Yet, it is quite possible to be physically fit and languishing spiritually.1 Timothy 4:8
comes to mind, "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."
So allow me to ask you a question with the verse above in mind.If you could see a physical representation of your spiritual life, what would it look like?
I reiterate, we sometimes get so caught up in the physical, we forget about the even more real reality, the spiritual. Our bodies aren't going to live forever, but our spirit will.
As believers, we are blessed to be a part of the remnant, we are adopted children of the living God, we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have been saved from an eternity in Hell, we are no longer slaves to sin, and we have the privilege of being ambassadors for the King of kings to this lost and dying world. (Romans 11:5, John 1:12, 14:16-17, 3:16, Romans 6:6-7, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
Those are some of the blessings and responsibilities of our calling.
Now, allow me to ask some hard questions to force all of us to think about how much we are really training for spiritual warfare.
- How seriously do you & I take the spiritual war we are in? "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)
- How much spiritual training have you & I been doing lately? "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
- How skillful are you & I in wielding the sword? "The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17b)
- Are you & I truly prayer warriors? "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people." (Ephesians 6:18)
- How equipped are you & I to discuss biblical doctrines biblically? "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
If you are anything like me, all five questions sting a bit, for in my personal life there is certainly room for improvement in every area.
Yet, praise the Lord I recognize my need for utter dependence upon Him! (John 15:5)
The Christian life isn't a matter of us trying harder to live for God. The true Christian life is a one of dying. The call is to follow Christ and die and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to guide our every word, thought and action. (Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49, Galatians 2:20, Luke 9:23)
So I ask my opening question again, How's Your Spiritual Physique?
Now that I have looked at Scripture and thought about my calling as a believer, I'll honestly answer, I'm a bit out of shape.
Yet it doesn't have to end there. I acknowledge that I am out of shape when it comes to spiritual fitness, but I know where to go to rebuild stamina, endurance and strength.
- Seek the counsel and wisdom of seasoned Christian warriors who have gone before.
- Intense, brutally honest real, regular prayer.
- Intentional, regular, deep study of the Word and mediation upon it day and night.
- Submission to the Spirit's power and His cleansing, discipline, direction, and training.
The above four steps are certainly easy to type out, but hard to live out. Yet, the Christian life was never promised to be easy, but rather rewarding. (Galatians 6:9, Hebrews 11:6, Philippians 3:14, Romans 8:18)
Praise the Lord for His loving grace in opening my eyes more fully to the war that we are in and challenging me to be more intentional and intense about spiritually working out!
My prayer is that God is working the same in your heart today!
Now if you would excuse me, I have a sword that beckons me to the training grounds..."The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5