Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Ephesians 6:17 (NIV)
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
A young soldier entered the army and soon after he graduated from boot camp that the call came for his infantry division to head off to repel some evil forces in a specific location overseas. He had trained well and received the best score on all of the field tests. It certainly looked like he would fare well on the battlefield. The day came for his division to suit up and prepare to head to the area of conflict.
The soldier was meticulous in cleaning his rifle and sharpening his special tools that he may need if he faced hand to hand combat. The day finally arrived when this soldier would head off into battle for the first time. His field commander arrived for inspection to evaluate the division’s readiness to engage to the enemy. The checklist was read and reread and checked and rechecked. Helmets, bulletproof vests, MRE’s, communication devices, maps, medicines. The list was gone over with great attention to detail. Nothing had been overlooked.
The field commander looked over each soldier and their equipment and would make notes in his small ledger. It would be his word that would give the ok for this division to be approved for combat. Those in the division were certain they had passed the test. they had received the best marks in boot camp and they scored well above the score necessary for combat readiness.
The inspection was now over and the field commander entered the barracks to give his final word that would surely send them into the combat zone. Every soldier’s eyes were fixed on the commander to see him give the final approval. The soldiers were all at attention. their lines were crisp, their uniforms perfect, their weapons were spotless, their packs were very carefully organized. They had taken care of everything.
That is why they were all stunned when the commander gave them a failing score. His statement that they were not prepared for combat left every one of them stunned. They had trained for months, they were meticulous in their attention to detail. Not once had they even been even close to a defeat in the wargames they had participated in but now they were given the not ready for combat score.
How could this be, where did they fail? What did they miss? The soldier that had received the highest marks during boot camp was ordered to stand in front of the commander. He was given the order to point his weapon at the commander and when the order was given he was to fire his weapon directly at the field commander. This order was unheard of. Something like this had never been ordered before but the soldier knew the penalty for disobeying a direct order, so he complied.
His weapon was now pointing directly at the field commander. The commander then gave the order, “On the count of three I order you to fire your weapon directly at me soldier. Do you understand, soldier??
The hands of the young soldier were trembling and every other soldier stood in stunned attention. Perhaps the commander was wanting to demonstrate the protection ability the bulletproof vests had, but this was something he was not prepared to do.
“One! Two! Three!” There was silence. The young infantryman refused to pull the trigger.
The command was given a second time. “One! Two! Three! Fire Soldier, fire!”
Once again the command was disobeyed.
“Soldier you have one last time to obey my order. If you refuse you will be brought up on disciplinary charges for refusal to obey a direct order. Do you understand, soldier?”
One! Two! Three! Fire!”
The soldier obeyed and pulled the trigger. Everyone was stunned by what happened next. Nothing happened nothing.
“Sir, I don’t understand what just happened.” came the reply from the soldier still holding his weapon pointed at the commander.
‘Well young man you may have received the highest scores during boot camp for all your combat readiness and preparation but you forgot one fundamental piece of equipment when you prepared to go into combat.”
“Sir, what did I forget?”
“Young man, you can have all the protective gear you want, you can have all the best communication devices and the best possible training but if you forget this one piece you will be destroyed on the battlefield along with many of those who are counting on you to have their backs. The one fundamental piece of equipment you forgot was your ammunition. Your weapon is not loaded, there are no bullets in the chamber.”
Many would look at this young soldier and speak words of condemnation. “How stupid could a person be to forget to load their weapon before going into battle?” Yet how foolish are those who go out every day into the battlefield to fight an invisible enemy without ever taking the time to load their weapons? Is it any wonder the church and those who make up her ranks are so weak and defeated in our day. How few there are who spend the time necessary to arm themselves with God’s Word before they go out into the fray.
May we prepare ourselves for battle every day by loading our arsenal with God’s Word so we will not engage the enemy unarmed.
Opening the Ammunition locker, loading my weapons,