Combat Fitness Center… we would call it a gym. Being on a military installation means that physical fitness and combat readiness are apparent everywhere you look. It’s the real deal. It’s something that is trained for every day. I walk into this place that is filled with young people who make benching look easy and just trot out the mile that I struggle to finish. To say that I am intimidated here is an understatement. I feel out of place and old. But I know that I need to be here. I need to strengthen this body and increase my stamina. Even though no one will send me to war, I still have to live and work and maintain my health. I want to be fit and active in order to be and do all that the Lord calls me to do.
There is another combat fitness center in my life. It’s called the church. I am extremely comfortable there. It’s a place of refuge and building up, a place to be nourished and refreshed. But it is also a place to train for combat. It is easy to forget that we (whether or not we are attached to the military) are in the middle of a war. And the consequences of this war are eternal. We have a very real Enemy who “prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) who ensnares (2 Timothy 2:26), who oppresses (Acts 10:38), who lies (John 8:44), and schemes (Ephesians 6:11).
But to be honest, I think that the Enemy doesn’t have much work to do with me. Most of the time, I am my own worst enemy. I get distracted. I fall to temptation. I succumb to those “Respectable Sins” that Jerry Bridges wrote about. And I bow to that strong idol of mine, Comfort.
I read Peter’s encouragement, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11) and I remember what is at stake. So I pray as Paul did that I may take up the whole armor of God, stand firm, and love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Ephesians 6:13,24)