This past Saturday my husband and I experienced a new adventure…we competed in The Warrior Dash, a grueling 3.27 mile race held at Copper Mountain Ski area that boasted 12 warrior feats including clamboring over junk cars, crawling through mud beneath barbed wire, climbing cargo nets, speed-stepping through tires, and leaping over 3 ½ foot tall flames of fire. OK, so the truth is that I drug my husband kicking and screaming with me on this adventure and he now highly doubts my sanity, but we had a complete blast and not only intend to do it again next year, we even have costumes picked out. Training for this unique run had me working my proverbial posterior off, but even the Manitou Incline, trail runs, treadmill runs, P90X, and Turbo Jam somehow still didn’t make me feel fit enough for this dashing day of warrior fun. So this had me wondering, if I don’t feel physically ready for a mountain race after months of training, what must it take to become a spiritually battle-ready warrior?
In a world crammed full and racing at break-neck speed toward the next thing to be done, the spiritual can become dim, even to those well aware of the powers and principalities of this present darkness against which we war. Often this can happen when things are running smoothly and circumstances seem to indicate that we have won the battle. Then the inevitable fiery darts of the enemy come flying in from somewhere in the dark and our comfortable but unprotected flesh gets pierced, and we are left reeling and bleeding and wondering: What does it take to become a battle-ready warrior?
Thankfully, we do not have a High Priest that is unable to sympathize with our weakness (Heb. 4:15), but One that outlines the rules of engagement for us in a victorious Battle Plan for the purpose of training (2 Tim 3:16)! Ephesians 6:11 is one of many Scriptures that gives insight into what is needed to stand strong, prepared, and firm, and become warriors that are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37) through Him that has overcome the world (John 16:33)!
Throughout the book of Ephesians, we see Paul showing the church of Ephesus the power, grace, provision, protection, love, and inheritance they have through Christ. In chapter 6, Paul looks to the armor of the Roman soldier to provide an adequate understanding of what is needed to be ready for the battle against the enemy of our souls. It is interesting to note both the offensive and defensive items and qualities mentioned. “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (v 14 – 17). Verse 18 puts it all together with the essential, power-giving ingredient, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” We must be constant in prayer living minute by minute in the power God infuses within us as we lift all things up to Him for His use.
Another vitally necessary part of preparedness in the battle against darkness is fellowship with others that are engaged in the same battle we are in, on the same side of the fight, and able to encourage us and spur us on. Verse 18 continues, “…with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”
My husband and I were not the only mentally unstable adventurers in the Warrior Dash this weekend! One of my dearest friends ran the same race. After finishing (10 minutes faster than I!), she was telling me of a time in the race that she was tired, worn down, slowing down, and feeling the pain. Another runner touched her on the shoulder and said, “I’ve been following you the whole way, and there is no need to slow down now.” The encouragement, understanding, and sharpening of this fellow racer was just what my friend needed to keep going and finish the race strong. They ran the rest of the race together, silently spurring the other on. Encouragement, accountability, love, and companionship from fellow believers can be the key to staying battle-ready when feeling battle-weary (Prov 27:17; Heb 10:24; Heb 12:1).
There is an obscure story of a man in the Bible that I recently discovered. His name is Benaiah and his story is found in 2 Samuel chapter 23, verses 20 and 21. This passage describes the warrior-esque behavior and accomplishments of Benaiah. I have said this before, but I do get an absolute kick out of reading the Bible! You have got to check this one out: “He did many heroic deeds…he chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught and killed the lion.” In the minds of the vast majority of the general public, this would not be considered the wisest course of action. Personally, I would prefer to opt out of chasing a lion into a pit on a snowy day. King David, however, was inclined to admire this sort of warrior mentality since two verses later, “David put (Benaiah) in charge of his bodyguard.” There is not much else written on this lion-chaser, but there is much reason to believe that battle-readiness was a normal, natural way of life for him.
So as I look to the inspired Word of God, I find the answer to what I need to become and stay ready for the battle I know is before me. And the best thing? The best thing is knowing that if God is for me, none can stand against me (Rom 8:31)! The best thing is knowing that we are overcomers because He is the Overcomer (1 John 5:4; John 16:33)! In the Warrior Dash, we ran for the prize of a fuzzy viking helmet! 🙂 But spiritually, I want to finish the course and keep the faith for the reward of the crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:7-8).