Robert Thwaites-Battle Ready

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Book Report

A lot of times people will post book reports on a book they have read that has impacted their life. I want to post a sermon report instead. Our pastor Ed Young has been preaching a series called “Battle Ready.”

The synopsis published by the church reads:

Life is full of battles – relationships, temptations, parenting, finances, etc. As people of faith, we are supposed to be victorious overcomers, right? But often, do you feel unprepared for your challenges? Join us as Pastor Ed Young launches a new series of talks, “Battle Ready: Winning the Cultural War.” Together we’ll learn how to tap into a strength greater than we can imagine and discover the tools needed to stand firm as we take on life’s battles in true victory!

The series starts out addressing that this is not christianity 101. This is a more complex topic: Spiritual warfare. In the first sermon, Pastor Ed talks about how the evil one, the tempter, satan, tries to separate us from our relationship with God and Jesus.

He does this by first creating a foothold in our life. It starts out with just the temptation to do something you know you shouldn’t. We all are tempted, but if you marinade it, think on it, imagine what it would be like, (whatever your “it” may be) that’s how you get into trouble. You will be given thoughts such as “its not a big deal” “nobody will know” “everyone else has done it and had the benefits, you should too”.

This brings us back to the lords prayer “Lead us not into temptation.” It doesn’t read “lead us not into sin” but temptation. We are to stay away from even the temptation of moral crimes or doing the wrong thing. If we can avoid the temptations, we are sure to stay away from the wrong act itself.

The first time you give into the temptation, the devil pushes to create a stronghold by making it a habit. You will reap the temporary satisfaction of whatever that act brought you. First the devil told you its not a big deal, then moves into shaming you for it. “What would your friends say if they knew you did that” “How can you volunteer at a church after you have done such a thing” “God doesn’t love you anymore.” All lies from the one called the deceiver.

During this series, we are taught how to protect and insulate ourselves from these lies and “shots” from the devil. By having our identity in Christ rather than our self, we are guarded from these attacks. When the devil attacks God or Jesus, lucifer loses every time. We are to clothe ourselves in the armor of the spirit. Ephesians 6:11-13 reads “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, 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.” This gives us two things. Protection by faith in the form of a shield, and a way to fight back via a sword, which is the word of God.

In our small group we were to discuss some of the “darts” the enemy continues to shoot at us. The big ones being pride in thinking you can do it all on your own, self doubt and thinking you’re not good enough, and anxiety of the future that may or may not come. We further discussed how our faith in God can serve as a shield through these darts. We can trust in God to handle the future, fulfill his promises, how God is on our side and in the fight alongside us.

The helmet of salvation represents an amazing truth: that we should stand firm on our salvation. We have inherited an eternity with Christ, where we will be out of reach of any arrow that Satan can shoot our way. We will no longer face doubt, anxiety, and suffering. We can activate this helmet by reminding ourselves of our salvation. As we focus on this and other truths of God, we are protected from the enemies attacks.

The way to be prepared and protected is simple: read the Bible daily and study his word, fellowship with other believers to create a support system, and talk to God through prayer during the day.

Introspection: My biggest issues lately have been self value and anxiety of the future. Training my whole career to be a businessman and producer, all to have that gone by the wayside, I often feel as though I’m not “doing” anything. I’m smart, able bodied, college educated, good at problem solving, so why am I stuck here not able to build anything or create something for the future? This topic has been a heavy burden over the last few weeks. Last week was a tough one for me mentally. One day I just needed some space and sat in my bathroom. I just sat there wanting my old life back. I know that will never be the case again. That easy life is over, so I told myself. I’ll never have the freedom to play 4 rounds of golf and a few tennis matches per week. I wasn’t and am not suicidal, but I felt hopeless. It was hard seeing a world worth fighting for after sentencing happens. Hello! Clearly those thoughts do not come from a heavenly source. I was under attack. The devil found a weak point in my armor, and was taking full advantage of my weakness.

Though I had solidified my faith and relationship with Jesus during my post-arrest and especially through my heart issues, I wasn’t prepared to be under attack from the devil. My previous struggles were external, now I have internal struggles.

I now see right through these self doubt “shots” the devil has fired at me. I have a lot going in my favor, and I provide a huge value to my family. I have been given a purpose: “Go forth and make disciples of all nations.” I will no longer succumb to being told that I am worthless as a person. The devil will have to try something new to get to me, and when he does, I’ll be ready.

Rob Thwaites