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Preparing for Battle

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1 NKJV


Series: Games People Play

WHAM! The big, red, rubber ball slammed right between my eyes, knocking me off my feet. Disoriented, I tried to gather myself. The teacher called timeout, helped me up from the gym floor, and escorted me to the bleachers to recover. PE Dodgeball, circa 1979. Boys against girls. No foam balls were used at that time, and I was beamed by a straight-line shot from a bigger, stronger boy.

Some events of life can hit us like that. Out of nowhere, an unexpected blow knocks the breath out of us and we fall to our knees. Sometimes we easily dodge the impact and steer completely clear of any fall-out. Other times, we miraculously experience a near miss. Life isn’t a game of dodgeball, but we can certainly learn some good lessons from that riveting contest.

First, we must be watchful, alert, and aware of all the surrounding activity. In dodgeball, others are out to get you—to eliminate you. In life, we understand an enemy watches and waits for us. In 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT), Peter instructed the people:

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 

Paul also encouraged others in his letter to the Church in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV) says:

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 

Second, we need to develop an offensive and defensive strategy. I remember using my small frame in dodgeball to hide behind other players to prepare for a sneak attack or to avoid getting hit by the ball. This brings to mind a very important passage of scripture we find in Ephesians 6.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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 6:10-18 NIV)

Putting on the armor of God protects us from the schemes of the enemy. The belt of truth secures our garment, our covering, and carries the sheath of our sword—the sword of the Spirit—the word of God. The breastplate of righteousness denotes our protective position in Christ. The gospel of peace on our feet assures God is with us in every step we take. The shield of faith guards from the attacks of the enemy. The helmet of salvation reminds us of Christ’s redeeming work in us. Finally, prayer. Constant communion with our Father. He gives wisdom, instruction, direction, and helps us by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Third, once we’ve done all to survive the attacks—whether in a game of dodgeball or the events of life—knowing God is with us and for us is key. Our victory in any fight is only established through the finished work of Jesus on the cross. But our mindset has a huge part to play in the outcome. Here are a few scriptures I cling to in any battle:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1 NIV)

He will not let your foot slip—He who watches over you will not slumber. (Psalm 121:3 NIV)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You preserve my life. You stretch out Your hand against the anger of my foes; with Your right hand You save me. (Psalm 138:7 NIV)

Circumstances can throw some pretty tough blows. But we don’t have to fall prey to the attacks of the enemy. Our ability to dodge and survive the battles is found in Christ. In John 10:28 (NIV), Jesus said:

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. 

Be alert. Put on your armor. Trust in the faithfulness of God. And know you can dodge every big, red, rubber ball because of Jesus.

Holding Fast to Hope,


Scripture References: Psalm 46:1, 91:1, 121:3, 138:7; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:10-18; John 10:28


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