Almost every day is a fight for something on this battlefield called life. Some days we get by without too many struggles. Those days are like cool drinks of water on a hot, balmy day. We try to enjoy them when they come along. What a blessing to sail through a day and be able to tuck ourselves into bed that night with a smile, sigh of contentment and a “thank you Father”. However, sometimes we mindlessly go through them without stopping to “smell the roses”. How selfish of us to carelessly take little to no notice of those easier days. What a blessing from the Father when the pavement seems to rise up to meet our feet. When we hit every green light. When we catch a mint-condition pair of designer shoes on the 75% off clearance rack. (Taking into consideration that we really need them and have the extra money to purchase them.) When our kids come home with 100% on their spelling test and no homework for that night. When our toddler finally decides it’s time to start using the potty. When the checkout line at Wal-Mart is short. When we receive a check in the mail because we overpaid a bill or when we find a considerable mistake in your checkbook that turns out to be in our favor. When our husband calls us just to say “I love you”. When the phone doesn’t ring off the hook and our email inbox isn’t filled to the brim with messages. When our sister-prickle seems to have left her quills at home that day. When that quick and easy recipe you got off of the Internet turns out to be a hit with your family. When you can remember your memory verse from last week and your quiet time with the Lord was amazing. When the barista at our favorite coffee shop makes our drink with absolute perfection. When it’s cold and rainy after work and you have a full tank of gas in your car that allows you to drive home without stopping at the gas station. Here’s the best one…you were able to fix your hair without any fuss and it looks great! Oh, and those designer shoes you bought on clearance go beautifully with the outfit you’re wearing that day.
Some of those are rather shallow things but my point is that we miss those neat, little things that help make our day less of a battle. I’ve found many of those things to be blessings in my life and I try really hard to take notice of them when they happen. It is so important for us to enjoy and draw from those breaks in the battle. The battles we face on a daily basis can sometimes be daunting. The battlefield is an ugly place. When I think of a battlefield the mental image I get is not one of joy or pleasure. To me, it’s a dirty place. It’s grimy. It stinks. It’s a place where you’re surrounded by death and/or injury. It’s a place of weariness. It can often times be a place of confusion and overwhelming attacks from the enemy. Sometimes it’s a place of utter defeat.
James 1 talks about “count it all joy…the trying of your faith will bring you patience, endurance and strength”. Thanks James, that’s exactly what this girl wanted to hear. Count it all joy? Really? When you look at the gut-wrenching, dirty, strength-zapping battles we often face, “joy” isn’t the first thing that pops into my mind. It’s more like “Ugh”. Many times I have found myself in a place of defeat…far, far from that place where I can count it all joy. There have been days where you could have found me in the fetal position under my desk at work. Maybe I wasn’t exactly salt and light in the Wal-Mart checkout line. Maybe I missed a chance to help my fellow soldier because I was too wrapped up in my own fight. Worse yet, at times I just gave up right there in the middle of the battle. I just sat right down and waved my little white flag and let the enemy run smack over me. After all, I didn’t go looking for a fight, the battle came and found me. It wasn’t fair. How/why did it happen? (Talk about being a whiney baby…no wonder I lost so many battles!) Folks, I missed the opportunity to “count it all joy” far too many times. It was hard for me to see that the trials I was tackling were actually strengthening me. The enemy was able to way-lay me because I went into the battle unprepared.
This battlefield of life is no place to be if we’re weary, empty, unprepared and naked. Our enemy roams around like a lion, ready to devour us. He fights dirty. He hits us in our weak spots. He uses the ones we love in his battle against us. He loves using the element of surprise. He uses guerrilla warfare. There is no place in your life he won’t attempt to attack. There’s no sacred time either…he loves attacking at the most inappropriate times. His goal is not to strengthen our patience and endurance. His goal is to kill us. We help him in meeting his goal when we attempt to go up against him unprepared.
A warrior is always prepared. They train daily. They are always on the lookout for the enemy. They know how to respond at a moment’s notice. They get up every morning and put on their battle gear. They fill themselves up on life-giving food. We tell our kids that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We convince them that going about their day on an empty stomach makes them weak and ineffective. What makes us think that same principle isn’t true for our spirits? Being a warrior is not just a physical attribute. It is a mindset. It takes a huge heart. It takes endurance, power and determination. It takes knowing who you are in Christ so that you can stare the enemy in the eyes and say to him, “This day I will fight!”