Robert Griffin III, oft-running quarterback for the Washington Redskins, is in his third NFL season and still regularly takes big hits from defenders when he runs. Other quarterbacks are more likely to slide, but Griffin tends to stay upright and get pummeled. His coach, Jay Gruden, has been concerned with Griffin’s failure to “get down,” in the 2014 NFL preseason:
“It’s something we have to continue to talk to him about: how important he is to this franchise,” coach Jay Gruden told reporters. “When he gets out of the pocket, he needs to protect himself. He’s had a career where he’s been able to get out of those predicaments with his speed and athleticism. But here, being that it’s a 16-game season with all the great talent that’s across the league, he’s got to pick his shots and learn how to get down a little bit better.”1
Why hasn’t Griffin learned how to slide already? It shouldn’t be so hard: Little League baseball players learn how to slide regularly, and most of them are far less athletically gifted than Griffin. Commentator Al Michaels suggested the Redskins bring in a baseball player from the neighboring Washington Nationals baseball club to give the quarterback sliding lessons. The Redskins have too much invested in Griffin’s skills to see them destroyed by big hits due to failure to get out of defenders’ way.
Like Griffin, some Christians should have learned some lessons years ago, but are still unprepared. We are engaged in spiritual warfare against the powers of darkness, and if we are unprepared to respond properly, we will suffer. Paul’s discussion of the armor of God is about preparation for the battle against the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12-17). The devil will try to destroy our faith, and so Paul tells us to “put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (6:15). Peter tells us to be ready to give an answer for our hope (1 Peter 3:15). Some Christians in the first century clearly neglected their preparation (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:12). How may we avoid their mistakes?
- Study the Bible more. The more familiar we are with what the Bible actually teaches, the more confident we will be that our faith cannot be shaken. God’s powerful working in the Old Testament, sometimes ignored today, will give us confidence.
- Pray for wisdom more. God has promised to give us wisdom if we will ask. Why would we neglect to seek His providential help?
- Study false religions more. Many times those who attack the truth are coming from a definite perspective formed by certain presuppositions. The more familiar we are with these assumptions, the less likely we will be to fall prey to false arguments.
- Study apologetical arguments more. The more familiar we are with the traditional arguments for theism, for the divinity of Jesus, and for the inspiration of the Bible, the less likely we will be caught off guard.
- Live the Christian life more authentically. If Christianity is our commitment only when we are in the church building, and has little to do with our decision making on a daily basis, then we will not be soldiers of the cross at all.
Further guidelines for the preparation for our battle against Satan are available throughout the Scriptures. Feel free to add to the list in the comments.