My husband loves to play golf, but I think he actually loves buying and selling golf clubs more. I think it’s because deep down there’s a belief that if he can just get the perfect set his game will improve. (He denies this.) He’s quite good at trading in and trading up; he only buys things he knows he can sell for a profit. He also does his research – he knows clubs!
Earlier this week we took a ride to Greenville to a few of his favorite places to look for clubs. He’d sold his clubs and needed a replacement set. He was excited to find just what he was looking for, a used set of Pings in great condition at a good price. But before he would buy them, he wanted to verify the serial number to make sure they were the “real deal.” It was comical to see both of us trying to read the tiny, engraved number that would assure him the clubs were genuine. Finally, the store clerk who had young eyes helped him out and a call to the “Ping hotline” was made. To his disappointment, they didn’t check out. Someone had substituted a different shaft. Their value was compromised and not worth the investment. While they would be perfectly fine for playing the game, they were not the authentic product of the maker. In the end, Todd knew they would let him down.
This story illustrates our Christmas gift for today: the gift of being equipped.
As Christ-followers, we are not playing a game. Instead, the Bible tells us we are in a war, and warriors need weapons. We need to be properly equipped to live holy, victorious, effective lives that bring glory to our King Jesus.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
Paul admonished believers (those of us who have put our faith in Christ) earlier in this same letter: Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). The Christian life is not a random walk without purpose. We are in a battle, both for our own holiness and against the advances of our enemy, the devil, who walks around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour, and wants to steal, kill, and destroy the people of God, our innocent children, and the message of the gospel.
We cannot engage in battle with poor substitutes for weapons – knockoffs that have no power against spiritual forces. We need the authentic weapons God has given us through His indwelling Holy Spirit as we put on the armor of God.
Ephesians 6:11-12 – Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
We need TRUTH, not the deception and lies of our culture.
We need RIGHTEOUSNESS, not sinful compromising to avoid offending or to be politically correct.
We need the complete GOSPEL of Jesus Christ, not the prosperity version or a watered-down version that accepts all faiths as equally true.
We need FAITH that perseveres, not doubts when trials or challenges come.
We need SALVATION, not an intellectual decision or legalistic change in behavior to earn God’s favor.
We need the sword of the Spirit, the WORD OF GOD, rather than philosophy and empty deception, traditions of men, and principles of the world.
We need to PRAY diligently and devotedly, not haphazardly or only when we are in trouble.
For every spiritual weapon God has given us, the enemy would like to substitute his “fake” – one that makes you feel like you are fighting the good fight but will let you down in the end. The good news is that God’s weapons are freely and generously available to all who believe and place their faith in Jesus. They are divine weapons, able to dismantle spiritual fortresses and give us victory in every part of our lives.
Have you opened this gift? Are you ready to go to battle today? Perhaps you need the magnifying glass of God’s Word to examine the “serial number” of your weapons. Don’t settle for poor substitutes. Open God’s gifts and be equipped.