by Soma member Daniel Wilhelm.
As I was driving early last Tuesday morning to meet with a friend for breakfast, I was proud of myself. I had woken up at 5:55 am, gotten dressed, and was ready to leave by 6:10 for our 6:15 meeting, only three minutes away from my house. I was feeling good—until less than a mile away from my house I looked to my left and saw the Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu martial arts studio with its lights on and several people inside practicing their defense techniques. I could see two men grappling on the ground, fully dressed in their Jiu-Jitsu uniforms.
At that moment I wasn’t feeling too cocky about my roll-out-of bed, 2-mile drive to eat food someone else would prepare for me.
I would like to tell you that this was the moment of revelation, but it wasn’t. The meeting with my friend was good and spiritually convicting. However, it was on my way back that God truly unpacked what he was showing me.
When I passed the little dojo, again, the lights were off and no one was there. I realized that they had dedicated this morning to practice their defense techniques before they went to work so that one day, if necessary, they could defend their lives from an attacker seeking to harm them. It was at that moment God spoke to me by stirring this question in my mind:
Am I willing to practice the techniques for the defense of my faith?
1 Peter 3:14-16 says,
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”
These men at the dojo practice their techniques on the chance that one day they might be attacked, but do we realize that we have a known adversary whose guaranteed desire is to attack us?
1 Peter 5:8 tells us,
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Paul also commands us us to put on the armor of God as our defense (Ephesians 6: 10-20). Are we willing to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, studying the Bible, thinking about what we read, and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what it says? I thank God that He is willing to meet me in my car and convict me of this truth so early in the morning—that like these men who are up and dressed at 6:00 am practicing the defense of their lives from an unknown enemy, we too should take seriously the defense of our faith, our souls, and our eternity.