“Warfare” – Devotional with Chaplain Smith

Arkansas Heart Hospital

Last year I decided that it was time for me to get physically fit, so in December I accepted a challenge to participate in our Cardiac Rehab Program’s “Twelve Days of Fitmas.” One of the driving forces for me to get in better shape was that when a “Code Blue” alert was called while in my office in the basement, by the time I would run up the stairs and get to the room, there was almost a need for a second “Code Blue” because I couldn’t breathe.

I have learned that even though you may not be overweight, it does not mean you are physically fit. This was clear every time I responded to a “Code Blue.” I have never been one to enjoy exercise and I have for some time had poor eating habits — this combined with being 64 years old was a perfect recipe for poor physical health.

After I finished the 12-day challenge I decided to continue. It was tough and required a lot of discipline to hang in there long enough to make exercising a habit. Our Wellness Coordinator Eric Siebenmorgen has been excellent at motivating me and teaching me to properly execute the exercises in a way that gets the greatest results. I have been able to stick with this for about six months, faithfully attempting to attend the gym at least three days per week. After consulting with Eric, I have also begun to consistently eat healthier.

As fate would have it, for about the last month, illness, vacations, time with grandchildren and home projects have sidelined my workouts. They were all legitimate and important events or tasks, but the net effect is I have allowed them to disrupt my momentum and take me away from the things that are essential to be physically fit. I am amazed that in just 30 days, I have lost so much of what it took me six months of physical discipline to gain. These legitimate events also interrupted my spiritual disciplines also.

If the physical gains are lost in just one month of not being faithful to exercising, just think about what happens to our spiritual fitness when we neglect the disciplines that keep us spiritually healthy. Our spiritual health suffers greatly when the spiritual exercises that equip us for the work God calls us to are abandoned — spiritual exercises like prayer, meditation, reading God’s word and community worship. Whether you read the Bible, the Torah or the Quran, or some other holy book, a regular diet of spiritual wisdom will fuel your soul just as eating healthy foods fuels your physical body.

I believe today more than ever we need to be spiritually fit. As we look at our society and the world we live in, increasingly we are confronted with spiritual darkness, forces of evil. The world wants us to look at each other as if people are the problem. Humanity’s true struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.

Ephesians 6:12 speaks of it this way: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” In short, we are in spiritual warfare.

The devil is happy to let you picture him as a cartoon character in a red jumpsuit with horns, so you won’t take him seriously. Know this, he has a team of demons that know your history, weaknesses and sin patterns. Their goal is to keep you from experiencing God’s will for your life and they are good at what they do.

The only way to win is to fight the spiritual with the spiritual. Your human strength won’t work. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:13, “for this reason put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, to stand firm.” Your only hope is to be strengthened by the Lord and to put on the full armor of God.

There are six pieces of armor. The first is Truth. Wear it like a belt around your waist. God’s word is Truth. To wear truth like a belt is to live authentically before God.

The second is Righteousness — wear it like armor on your chest. God’s righteousness, not your own. God imputed Christ’s perfect righteousness to us.
The third is Peace. We need our feet sandaled with the readiness for the gospel of Peace. Roman soldiers wore sandals with cleats built in to help them have firm footing and to stand their ground under attack.

The fourth is Faith; take up the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. What is faith? It’s acting like God’s telling the truth, being obedient to God’s view on the matter.
The fifth is Salvation — take up the helmet of Salvation. A helmet protects the head, the mind, the control center of the body. Our spiritual standing in Christ must protect our thinking. We are to think God’s thoughts and not operate on human wisdom.

The last piece of armor is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This is the only offensive weapon on the list. This Sword is more like a dagger made for close hand to hand combat. Paul is talking about the Word of God spoken, made effective by the Spirit, to cut through the devils lies.
Don’t be afraid about the warfare or the victory. We have read the end of the book, and because of what Jesus did on the cross, we win! He has charged us with occupying the land until He returns.

Written by Chaplain Smith.


Chaplain Shelby Smith served at a local church for 19 years before joining Arkansas Heart Hospital. Here, he has the opportunity to meet the spiritual needs of patients, their families and our staff. In addition to offering prayer and encouragement, Chaplain Shelby Smith shares a weekly devotional.

Read more of Chaplain Smith’s devotionals.