When playing first- or third-person shooter video games, I am definitely a “reloader”. Moving from one skirmish to the next, I instinctively click the reload button as soon as the fighting lets up for a second or two, so that I can head into the next wave with a full clip.
Of course, video game mechanics (at least in the fictitious games that I tend to play) are fake. In real life, I hope that no one would throw out dozens of nearly-filled magazines over the course of 20 minutes, even if ammunition stashes could be found in every crate and barrel. Then again, our men and women in uniform, who are fighting to keep the peace (and whose hard work – of a much more serious nature – I greatly appreciate), rarely encounter pre-programmed waves of zombies, aliens, or robots.
Sometimes, though, we do need to reload our internal magazines. While – for most of us – our role in fighting against sin is not to attack other people (only evil that may control them and pour out of them), we need to go into this battle prepared.
Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his holy prophets.
Acts of the Apostles 3:19-21 NLT
In the real world, though, in our fight against evil forces, we must regularly re-fill our spiritual, emotional, and mental supplies. I think of these as times of “refreshment”, and “restoration”. In the passage above, “refreshment” seems to be something that we can experience here on earth, while full “restoration” is something that we’ll need to wait until the end of time to experience.
So, how do we fuel up for our daily battle against sin, and its negative effects on our world? I propose that there are at least two ways that we can reload:
- Regular times of quiet with God. These moments – or hours – of blessing allow us to talk with him, and to listen for His comforting words and direction. We might read and think about His word, the Bible. We might reflect on His work in our lives (and in the lives of others who follow Him), and build up our trust for His future reliability. We might just listen for His voice.
- Regular times spent with other followers of Jesus. While some believers are isolated for seasons of their lives, God didn’t set up the church to be a bunch of individual action-movie heroes, going out on their own to take on forces far greater than themselves. In community, those of similar faith can strengthen each other, standing together against the onslaught of forces that oppose the truth, and sharing the weight of burdens that must be carried through the battlefield.
Take a look at what the writer of this proverb had to say about finding healing and strength:
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.
Proverbs 3:7-8 NLT
In addition to spending time with God and those who love Him, we must make sure that we are on God’s side in the first place. Showing fear (or reverence) for God, and submitting to His instructions, is a better way to live than going it alone (or listening to voices that really don’t care about our well-being), and the result of that is living a better life, separate from sin.
So, if you feel like you’re down to your last round, or you’re completely out of ammunition as you fight the good fight, look for a chance to reload. Fill up on the goodness of God – whether through time with Him, or time with others He has placed in your life – and get ready to jump back into the battle with God’s help, prepared for whatever this fallen world will throw at you.
And, if you need a quick, spare “magazine” to get back to the battle against evil, read Jeremiah 31:25.