How much stress could be avoided if we were always prepared, ready for everything!
Being a teacher, I have noticed that many students undergo extreme anxiety when facing ordinary tests. They ask themselves: “Did I study enough? Did I sleep enough? Did I…?”
Some undergo what I call the black-out syndrome: “Did I miss anything? Did I forget my pencil, my ruler, my paper? Did I…?”
Others are facing what I call the “coffee syndrome”: “I am so nervous I can’t focus!” they cry, clutching their mug of coffee. And if it happens that they receive the dreaded “F”, you will hear them cry out in anguish: “How could this have happened??? I studied from midnight to 6 a.m., and drank plenty of cups of black coffee!”
Those who seem to be the best prepared for tests (which always results in the best grades!) are those who study daily, starting at least a week before the event!
Remember “Practice makes perfect”?
The importance of being well-prepared becomes even more evident in war-time situations. Think about it: Would you let your guard down if you were a soldier entering enemy territory? No way! We know that the consequences would mean certain death!
Yet we let down our guard before our enemies on a daily basis!
The apostle Paul tells us: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Eph 6:12-14 NIV)
We are all on enemy turf, friends! This planet is in full blown rebellion against God, motivated by its prince called the devil: “The prince of this world now stands condemned.” (John 16l:11 NIV); “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” (Eph 2:1-2 NIV).
Our enemy is on the prowl. The devil will try everything within his means to deceive and defeat us. His goal: Our destruction! Is it any wonder the apostle Peter left us this warning: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)?
This is why we always need to be ready to face his unforeseen attacks. Otherwise we will be turned into dog meat. Or should I say “lion meat”!
Peter goes on to advise: “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:9 NIV) This is why the apostle Paul urges us to have our feet fitted with readiness: “…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Eph 6:15 NIV) If our feet are well prepared, they will drive us to either resist or run away, according to the best method of attack at the time (Remember Joseph? See Gen 39: 11-12).
Let’s be aware of the situation we are in. We are heaven bound! This rebellious place is not our home. Let’s not become comfortable in it, let’s not become swallowed up by complacency. Remember: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil 3:20 NIV)
“An F! I got an F! Can you believe this! How is this possible? I looked at the cover of my book every day last weekend! When I wasn’t having fun, that is . . . But I studied for an entire two hours before the test!”
Are you prepared for heaven?
P. S. Have you noticed that readiness come “from the gospel of peace”?
(To access the entire “When Temptation Looms” devotional series, please click here.)