Latter Day Saints, A Call to Battle: Put on Your Spiritual Armor: Guest Blogger Deirdra Eden Coppel
Several years ago I participated in a medieval jousting tournament. As part of my training and preparation, I needed to gain 25 pounds before I could compete in the lowest weight division. I was not strong enough to wear the armor or accurately aim my lance at a charging competitor. I spent four months in the gym strengthening my body and feasting
on protein and weight gainer.
I had many struggles during this time in my life. I lost many loved ones to death and divorce and was forced to make difficult changes. This particular day as I was in the gym, I was praying in my heart asking, "Heavenly Father, why is all of this happening?"
The Spirit whispered, "So you will be strong enough to wear armor." I realized that God was teaching me a parable. I had to put my physical body through uncomfortable strain, pressure and resistance in order to help my muscles get stronger. My trials were tools which put strain, pressure and resistance on me to help my spirit become stronger and more resilient. Feasting upon the scriptures was what fueled me much like feasting upon protein helped my muscles to grow.
To work out effectively, we push ourselves until we don't think we can go anymore. Then we go just a little farther. We also need to let our bodies rest before we push to the extreme again. Looking back on our lives, most of us can see a pattern with trials much like this. We are pushed until we don't think we can go no more, and then we are pushed a little further. Times of extreme trials are followed by brief periods of rest.
"When you push against the boundaries of experience into the twilight of the unknown, the Lord will strengthen you. The beauty of your eternal soul will begin to unfold." (Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, Nov. 2003, 41).
I didn't have to go through this all by myself. I had a trainer who encouraged me and educated me on nutrition and how to exercise effectively. We have prophets, apostles and other leaders who are like our trainers. If we listen and do what they ask us to do, we will get stronger. We need to trust them even if they ask us to do hard things or sacrifice something that is not good for us anyway.
As Latter Day Saints, we are on the frontline of the war against Satan. In the war against Satan, you do not want to ride into battle unprotected. We need to be refined and spiritually strong enough to wear the Armor of God.
"There has never been more expected of the faithful in such a short period of time than there is of us. Never before on the face of this earth have the forces of evil and the forces of good been so well organized. Now is the great day of the devil's power." (Ezra Taft Benson, "In His Steps," Ensign, Sep 1988, 2).
We know the outcome of the war. We know that God is going to win. Tools such as the Internet work for both sides. They can be tools of mass enlightenment from God or Satan's weapons of mass destruction. The battle has now come down to the individual. We must remember who we are.
"Though this world has a way of diminishing and demeaning men and women, the reality is we are all of royal, divine lineage." (Elder M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, May 2004, 86).
We are in the heat of the battle for which Satan and his armies have been preparing and perfecting their battle tactics for thousands of years. We too have been preparing for thousands of years before we were born to come to earth with a mortal body which would empower us to fight evil. Satan can not hurt us unless we let him.
In this battle against Satan, God has given us "Sacred Super Powers," which most Latter Day Saints call spiritual gifts or talents. Everyone is given different gifts and abilities. Every Latter Day Saint should use his or her gifts, time, talents and any other "Sacred Super Powers" to help build up and defend Heavenly Father's Kingdom.
"All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 181).
This story does have a happy ending. Six months after starting my training, I competed in a jousting tournament. What a rush! There is nothing like the feeling of being on a galloping war horse dressed in full armor. Just as I did well in the tournament, we will do well in our lives if we prepare to wear the armor of God. Like most journeys or quests in life, the prize I won was not nearly as valuable as the lessons I learned getting there.
"Great battles can make great heroes and heroines. We will never have a better opportunity to be valiant in a more crucial cause than in the battle we face today and in the immediate future. Some of the greatest battles we will face will be fought within the silent chambers of our own souls." (Ezra Taft Benson, "In His Steps," Ensign, Sep 1988, 2).
For more Spiritual Armor go to my website, www.Knightess.com, and click on "Spiritual Armor."