I played football from the 4th grade through my senior year in college and remembered the exhilaration felt when the coach stated, “Today will not be a full pad day.” That meant during today’s practice we would not be “hitting” each other (sounds violent doesn’t it?! It was!). Our practice fields became grassless and incredibly hard surfaced early in the fall. So, it was almost like blocking and tackling on concrete. Furthermore, what was the fun hitting the same teammates over and over again. Now, game day was a totally different experience. You were more than glad to put on the full pads. In fact, you made sure that you put on every bit of protection that you had. It was time to compete against another team who planned to knock you around to win a game. You hit and got hit but during that game, you didn’t feel it. You were competing. Now, the next day, you were so sore, you could barely walk. Game day was worth it.
The Apostle Paul admonished believers in Ephesians 6:10-11 to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. As Christians, every day is a full pad day…put on the whole armor of God. We have to compete each and every day.
Now in the next verse (verse 12), Paul tells us who the competitor is not so that we don’t get off track. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood.” Allow me to ask you a quick question. Who do you perceive is your competitor? If honest, you most likely would say another person (i.e. your spouse, your rebellious, spoiled children, an in-law, another person who you seem to keep an ongoing conflict, a hurtful relative especially during this holiday season, an insensitive neighbor who drives you crazy, a boss, a fellow employee who you are competing against for a higher paying job…). Paul says we are not even on the real playing field. We are wrestling against who in reality is not our opponent
Then, in verse 12 Paul tells us who our enemy is so that we can focus and prepare. “We wrestle against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Guys, we better get focused on the real opponent or we will continue daily to get our backsides kicked with hurtful, unhealthy relationships and a defeated personal life in the wake. Your opponent is not another person but the devil and his cohorts. Are you prepared for that?
Paul knew that the recognition of our true enemy, would stagger and sober us. Thus, he came back again in verse 13 repeating verse 11 for emphasis, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Again, he stated to put your full armor on…it’s a full pad day! If you do, you will “be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
You can win! But you must get your eyes off flesh and blood and on your real opponent. Oh, by the way, as a believer don’t try to turn and run or avoid what Paul is saying here. There is no armor made to protect your backside!
Today is a full pad day!