I realize the title being Ready to Rumble sounds contradictory to my tagline: Love Because You Are Loved. Sometimes, however, loving people means fighting for them or for ourselves. More than ever, we need to be “strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10), praying for God to give us a tender heart and thick skin.
In Matthew 10:16, Jesus says, “I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.” This scripture always startles me because snakes are usually something I avoid, not mimic, but we’re supposed to emulate their shrewdness. Ephesians 6 reminds us that our battle isn’t against people (flesh and blood) but against spiritual forces of evil. For us to stand firm against the devil’s schemes, we need to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for battle.
Mentally – We must set our minds on the things of God, whatever is pure, noble, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8), but we must also be alert and ready for battle. Our feet are to be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). Peace comes with knowing the battle plan and the weapons we have at our disposal and having faith in our spiritual leaders and God who is ultimately in command.
Physically – We have to put on the full armor of God, the buckle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, and the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:14-17). Sometimes we can feel like David trying on King Saul’s armor. At first, we may feel clumsy when we put on and adjust our breastplate of righteousness and choose not to join in gossip or cuss at the car that cut us off. It may seem awkward to pick up the shield of faith and pray out loud in front of others, raise our hands during worship, or bring a pie to the grumpy neighbor who yells at the kids to get off his lawn.
So far, these armor pieces are for defense against attack, but to go on the offensive, we have to take up the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. We can hold our ground and stand firm, but if we want to take back territory and gain victories, it means picking up our Bibles and not just reading but knowing the scriptures.
Emotionally – Being strong in the Lord also means shoring up ourselves emotionally. David and his band of men had returned from battle to find the Amalekites had burned their village and taken all the women and children. 1 Samuel 30:4 says, “So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.” The men turned bitter and threatened to stone David to death. Verse 6 states, “But David found strength in the Lord his God.” He rallied his men and went after the Amalekites. When we are emotionally drained, and the well of our tears has run dry, we can crawl into God’s lap, collapse into His open arms, and He will renew our strength.
Spiritually – “Pray in the spirit on all occasions and with all kinds of prayers and requests,” Paul says in Ephesians 6:18. More than ever, we need to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit tells us. Jesus said, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13). God isn’t going to leave us in the dark. He communicates with us through His field commander, the Holy Spirit, and if we’re listening and ready, He’ll direct our steps, telling us when to move out, hold, take cover, or fire.
God gives us the armor, and the power comes from Him, but it’s up to us to put it on and be ready.