BRITS REALLY HAVE SOME neat ways of saying things. Although British slang and their euphemisms take getting used to, they have a great way of getting right to the point. Debbie’s sorted for Tuesday night because she’s found a babysitter. Any guesses on what this means? It means everything is set for going out because she found a babysitter. “Sorted” is used to describe a situation in which everything is correctly organized or repaired, or when someone has everything that is needed. In one of the British series I watch on Netflix, a DCI (deputy chief inspector) tells a DI (detective inspector) that he needs to take a few days off to “Get sorted.” Everyone, regardless of culture or religion, needs to “get sorted” now and again. An “unsorted” person is hardly capable of being properly organized, calm and collected—ready to do battle.
Military soldiers are tasked with always being “at the ready.” Sentries are summarily punished for falling asleep while on watch. Supply sergeants are sanctioned for failing to keep the proper supplies in stock. According to the Boot Camp & Military Institute website, soldiers must undergo training for situational awareness, survival, physical fitness, putting personal matters in order, and mindfulness. Combat is quite challenging and can put your physical and mental capabilities to the test. Preparedness and removal of distractions are paramount. The goal of every person in battle is fourfold: (1)find the enemy with reconnaissance; (2) fix their position with fire power; (3) fight them with maneuvers; and (4) finish them by putting them out of the fight for good.
How Should We Prepare for Battle?
As Christians, we are most effective when we are in good order and under control. There is an important axiom that says no one can win a battle for which he or she has not prepared. Armor, weaponry, strategy, tenacity, fitness (spiritual, mental, physical), supplies, QRF (a quick response force team in the waiting): all of these are vital to surviving a battle. Despite all the preparations we make, it is still possible to get in over our heads and require rescuing or reinforcements. If we anticipate a tough go of it regarding a difficult situation (like when coming to the aid of someone in crisis) it is best to not go alone. Jesus prepared and sent seventy-two evangelists into every town “two by two” (Luke 10:1). No doubt the reason for sending the men in twos was because, as Jesus said, “…I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves” (10:3).
Satan has been scheming against mankind since the Garden of Eden. Revelation 12:9 says, “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” The devil deceives us by masquerading as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). He has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan is continually slandering us in God’s court. He will stop at nothing to get us accused or indited. The Greek word for “Satan” is diabolos (διάβολος), which means “slanderer.” But if we are in Christ, we cannot be indited. I have a t-shirt with the the saying, “If You Bring Up My Past, You Should Know That Jesus Dropped the Charges.”
Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might, putting on the whole armor of God in order to withstand the schemes of the devil (Eph. 6:13). This is just like the soldier headed onto the battlefield with his or her flak jacket, helmet, weapons, and ammo, or a firefighter fully suiting up before heading to a fire. The whole armor expresses your full trust in God. This becomes clearer with each piece of armor. Paul says we are to put this armor on so that when the day of evil comes, we may be able to stand our ground, and after we have done everything, to stand. When we take up the armor of God, we are not quickly grabbing a uniform and a few resources. We are letting God outfit us with what he’s done for us. We can never be self-sufficient enough to get through our battles. To me, this suggests that we must take off our “self,” put the on armor of God, and never take it off.
The armor required to battle Satan may not be comfortable to put on, but it is very necessary if we want to be effective. It’s not a call to war, but a declaration to live in victory. Paul’s instructions to the Ephesians, and us, about the armor are very specific and powerful:
“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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:13-17).
It is highly unlikely that soldiers heading onto the battlefield without armor, weapons, ammunition, or a QRF plan in place will survive, let alone win the battle. The same holds true for Christians. Consider the hostility existing today toward Christ, absolute truth, universal morality, proponents of godly marriages, opponents of abortion, and those who promote the One True God. When the so-called New Atheists became known—writing best-selling books like The God Delusion and Letter to a Christian Nation, and debating Christians across the country—Christianity was the brunt of their attacks. Our teens and young adults attending secular universities and public schools are being pummeled with arguments against the existence of God and the idea of Intelligent Design, in favor of a singularity of matter and energy called The Big Bang and Darwinian evolution.
Today’s Christian churches have been impacted (if not damaged) by culture and legal action. There is a renewed cry to keep our “opinions about God” to ourselves, and to stop saying “Merry Christmas.” True followers of Christ need to suit up and head out the door to share Jesus and be prepared to give a defense for the hope we have in Him. Get sorted. Be ready. And whatever comes your way, stand in the firmness of your convictions.
Steven Barto, B.S. Psy., M.A. Theology
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Co.), 2008.
Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation (New York, NY: Random House), 2006.