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Friday, September 13, 2013

Be Prepared!

Prepared:  properly expectant, organized, or equipped; ready; to put in proper condition or readiness.  The opposite of being prepared is being rather disorganized or unaware.  There are probably a lot of things in life we are neither prepared for, nor equipped to handle at the moment.  They seem to creep up on us and then we are scrambling to find the solution and just struggling the whole time to keep our heads above water.  There are numerous times we are admonished in scripture to "prepare" or "be prepared". All of them have to do with getting the right frame of reference, right frame of mind, or the right frame of spirit.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.  (Ephesians 6:13-18 MSG)

The right frame of reference helps us to determine our "orientation" in the whole process.  We get our feet on the ground, steadying ourselves for what lies ahead.  The right frame of mind helps us to get our head in the game. We focus our attentions and our thinking abilities on the issues at hand.  The right frame of spirit is often overlooked in our preparation processes.  We just plug right along without taking the time to get ourselves as "rooted" as we can in the Word, time in God's presence, and/or ensuring we have brought ourselves and our needs before the one who has the ability to take care of both.

The word to us this morning is pretty straight forward:  We are up against more than we can handle.  That being the case, I think it is wise to have a game plan which far outweighs our own abilities and assets.  When we get things in order the way God wants us to, it is like we are stashing away secret weapons in our defensive and offensive arsenal which we can use whenever we have the need.  When we have both the offensive and defensive weaponry, we are pretty well fit.  Try fighting the battle with only defensive weaponry such as a shield or a helmet, and you will find yourself able to ward off a few of the jabs of the swords and arrows coming your way, but you won't leave any "marks" on your enemy!  You need the offensive weaponry of the sword, dagger, and such to actually cause him a little pain of his own!

There are a lot of things which help us to "get ready" in life, but none as precious or important to us than the "things" God provides for our safety and protection.  When we get in the car, we buckle the seat belt.  It is a means of ensuring our greatest opportunity to survive in a wreck. It is a defensive weapon.  When we are behind the wheel, attentive to oncoming traffic, the changes in the traffic flow, and the merging of other vehicles into our path, we are driving defensively.  Both are necessary to ensure the journey is made with the least amount of unnecessary heartache and headache!  Why then do we try to go through our lives without the same attentiveness toward the offensive and defensive weaponry God provides us for our protection?  Isn't it kind of silly to invest so much into our "natural" lives and then neglect our "spiritual"?  Paul was reminding us of just this point - we need to be ready - inside and out!

Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them.   Truth - that which conforms to reality. Righteousness - that which is alignment with acceptable standards of morality, justice and uprightness.  Faith - confidence or trust in that which is outside of our own ability.  Salvation - the state of being protected from harm. Paul focuses us on these four things because they are interrelated in both our defensive and offensive arsenal.  When we have a firm understanding of what is real, we are not duped by what is not.  When we stand upon what is aligned with the principles of God, we find our ability to ward off attack is better simply because our "footing" is solid.  When there is confidence in something other than our own ability, talent, or treasure, there is boldness to take on the attack, but also drive with which to push back the enemy!

So, if we want to be "prepared", it means we get the right frame of reference, right frame of mind, or the right frame of spirit.  One without the other is leaving us with some "hole" in our defense, or standing without anything with which to strike out an "offensive" blow!  Just sayin!