My brother-in-law is one of the best people you will ever meet. We’ve been family for a long time and friends even longer. Probably the biggest experience that we’ve shared together is music related. We’ve been able to play music, record music, write music, and lead worship together for many years. Around the same time of a concert our band played this past July, my brother-in-law gave me a gift that I hope to hold onto for a long time to come. He gave me a simple bracelet, called a Chaco wrist wrap. He has a couple of them, and thinks they are cool, but to me, it has become a reminder of one of his strongest God-given character traits.
This character trait stems from a separate and completely non-musical memory that I have of my brother-in-law. Before we played music together, we played baseball together as a part of our high school team. It’s important to understand that my brother-in-law was much more than an average baseball player in those days. He travelled to play on select teams and has friends that have gone on to play at the college and professional level. One year, our team made it to the state tournament and we all met just before getting on the bus to take some batting practice. My brother-in-law, being the above average player that I mentioned before, began to hit everything that was thrown to him during that batting practice. He wasn’t just hitting, he was hitting like crazy. If he wasn’t hitting balls out of the park, he was smoking line drives into the outfield. The whole time, with each crack of the bat, our coach yelled so all could hear, “He’s ready to go to war! He’s ready to go to war!”
That memory has stayed with me throughout the years because of the lessons about the Christian life that I’ve learned from it. I learned the importance of being prepared, and the reality of spiritual warfare.
- The importance of being prepared. Being prepared in life means more than just knowing what you need to know or being practiced up. Being prepared also means that you are ready to withstand the situations and challenges that you had no idea were coming. Being truly prepared means that you’ve readied yourself under the power of the Bible, God’s living word. Ephesians 6:14 tells Christ followers to be “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
- The reality of spiritual warfare. We are ready to go to war in life when we are truly prepared and when we know the reality of the enemy we face. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our struggle, our war, is “not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” I’m a firm believer that spiritual forces of evil are manifested daily right here in the world as we know it. I’m also a firm believer that we can only conquer the evils of this world through the power of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s power allows us to identify, pray about, stand up to, and defeat any evil that we encounter.
So, sometimes I wear a bracelet…if you attend BridgeWay Church you’ll likely see me wearing it most Sundays. There is no magic at all in it, but it serves to remind me that it’s time to go to war. Are you ready to go to war? I pray that all Christ followers can seek to understand true preparedness through God’s word, and are able to win victories daily over evil in this world. If you are in the process of preparing, then don’t quit! God will use us in mighty ways to defeat evil as we trust in Him.