I don't know about you, but I'm a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Perhaps it's the warrior nature of my personality, or maybe it's how bleak the darkness can seem until the heart-pounding victory at the end when all bursts forth and is redeemed.
Tolkein's epic story weaves dimensional characters and the ever-present element of good vs. evil. He doesn't gloss over the reality that we're in war, fighting for the light to remain in this world.
This clip features the bravery of Eowyn, the niece of King Theoden, who has been cooped up in a crumbling empire, her uncle's mind poisoned by a deceptive advisor, Wormtongue (appropriate, no?). In addition, his influence over Eowyn has made her depressed and discouraged. She lacks the confidence to go to battle, but not the desire.
She sneaks off to battle, dressed as a warrior, willingly accepting the responsibility of an equally "unwanted" warrior, a small hobbit friend. She admires his determination to step out and defend and she encourages him to go forward for their friends and for the world as they once knew it. It's this very friend who gives her the small window she needs to gain enough freedom to vanquish the Lord of the Nazgul, the Enemy's right-hand--and immortal--dark rider.
In Ephesians 6, Paul also calls us to battle...actually, correction needed: we are already at battle. He calls us to pick up our weapons and fight.
Denying the war won't make it dissolve. It will only give the Enemy more leverage.
So, we fight.
But, certainly not alone and certainly not without the necessary equipment. Just as Eowyn needed armor and nearby friends, so do we need to surround ourselves with an alliance of sisters.
Ephesians 6 tells us exactly what we'll need.
Together, we strap on the belt of truth--make no mistake, there is only one place to receive that, and it's not coming from the world.
We protect our hearts (our thoughts, feelings, and internal dialogue) with righteousness.
Be ready with the Gospel of peace. Don't get stuck. Listen. Receive. Move!
We shield ourselves with faith, which protects us from "the flaming arrows of the evil one" (vs.16).
We keep the helmet of salvation on, shielding our thoughts from a skewed perspective. We are here for a season, to do a job, and then we are off to the World that we were saved for.
And the offensive weapon--the sword of the Spirit--gives us the wisdom, discernment, and power to fight. It's the "word of God" (vs.17).
Through all these tactics and disciplinary tactics, we ask the Lord to come in the midst of every decision, every struggle, every attack.
- Stay alert. You won't naturally win. We are fighting against a devastating enemy, one who wishes for nothing more than our death and destruction (John 10:10). But, we also have teamed up with the One and Only. Stay with Him and you can't lose.
- Get moving. Wherever You see the Lord working, join in the fight and remember that the victory belongs to Him. He's moving, so we move with Him.
- Stay in formation. In battle, we don't run off by ourselves and expect to pull off some ridiculous Rambo incarnation. No, we stay together in an "I've got your back" kind of way. Don't isolation yourself and think you'll be as strong. Alone, you are vulnerable; together we are a mighty force indeed (Ecc. 4:12).
"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 Message).