Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and take-downs, joint locks, pins, and other grappling holds. It’s one of the oldest forms of combat. Growing up with a brother just a couple of years older than me, it wasn’t uncommon for us to wrestle with each other. It was always for fun, never in anger. We had no training in techniques or skills. Daddy was usually the referee, and there were no firm rules other than “play nice”. We grappled and twisted and rolled until one was pinned and the match was over. I don’t remember winning very often unless I received a helping hand from Daddy. As we grew older and interested in other things, wrestling became a thing of the past.
As adults, we often use the expression that we are “wrestling” with certain things. We wrestle with doubt and fear, jealousy and resentment, and untold other emotions and situations we go through. It is an accurate expression when we understand who we are wrestling with.
“For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood – contending only with physical opponents – but against the despotisms, against the powers, against the master spirits who are the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly sphere.” Ephesians 6:12
We are in combat. The spirit forces of wickedness are working against us 24/7. Jesus defeated them on the cross, taking away their authority to prevail over us, but until He returns we still have to stand against their efforts. So how is it that resentment overtakes us many days? Jealousy pins us down and won’t let go? Fear clinches tightly and immobilizes us? We forget who we are wrestling with and fail to prepare.
We have such a tendency to set our eyes on the natural – that person who has hurt us, the circumstances that are difficult, our own inability to set right the things that are wrong in our lives. We see them as our enemies and spend our energy and efforts “wrestling” with them. With this limited vision, we grow weary in this wrestling match and are easily overtaken.
The Bible repeatedly alerts us to the ways of our enemy. But with every insight into his schemes, the Word of God gives us the counter attack strategy. When we begin to follow God’s instructions, not only can we counter the attacks of the enemy, we can be on the offense and prevent many of them! If we know the enemy is coming after us, we can have our plan ready to defeat him at the onset!
“Put on God’s whole armor that you may be able to stand against all the strategies and the deceits of the devil”
“Therefore, put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day and having done all the crisis demands, to stand firmly in your place.” Ephesians 6:11, 13
The belt of truth. The breastplate of righteousness. The shoes of the Gospel of peace. The shield of faith. The helmet of salvation. The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6)
In order to face our enemy we must get properly dressed and armed. We must determine to live our lives in His truth, wear the righteousness He shed His blood to provide, walk in peace, keep our faith lifted up and stable, and of course, we must know we belong to Him – we have accepted the glorious salvation He offers. These are the protective pieces of our armor.
His word is our offensive weapon! God’s word is living and powerful and our only way to take authority over our enemy. Our own thoughts and emotions will produce no lasting results. We must use HIS words:
When resentment towards another is rising up, by faith we declare:
“My love is patient and kind, it does not act unbecomingly, it believes the best of EVERY person!” (1 Cor. 13)
When jealousy rears it’s ugly head, by faith we declare:
“My love is never envious or jealous, because where jealousy and strife exist there is every evil thing!” (1 Cor. 13, James 3)
When condemnation rushes in, by faith we declare:
“There is therefore now, NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus!” (Rom. 8)
We only lose the wrestling match if we haven’t prepared for it. Our faith is in what Jesus has done for us, and we discover the wonder of it by the study of His word. Our Father has already provided the helping hand that assures our victory!