Where's your shield?
“He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.”
Any athlete engaged in athletic competition—whether individual or team competition—is aware that his or her well-conditioned and dedicated athleticism is the most important weapon of defense. Regardless of his or her size or the opposition, an athlete without properly conditioned athleticism is the prime target for an adversary.
A warrior would no sooner lay down his shield than he would his sword. The Word of God often reminds us of the importance to this truth. There is peace in knowing that He who has created the heavens is also my shield. At the same time, it gives me unrest to witness so many athletes of God willingly laying down their shields in the midst of an ever-increasing spiritual battle.
Proverbs proclaims that God is a shield to those who walk in integrity; Ephesians 6:16 considers our faith a shield against the “fiery missiles” that Satan throws our way. Nonetheless, Christian athletes are continually trading in their integrity for pleasure and exchanging their faith for selfish gain. Just look at what happened in Major League Baseball! In effect, players are exchanging their shields for temporary and earthly treasures. As the Apostle Paul so eloquently puts it in Romans 1:22-23: “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”
It is becoming increasingly apparent that our enemy often knows us better than we do. He is extremely aware of the fact that God is a shield to the righteous and that no weapon formed against that person will prevail (Isaiah 54:17). It is with this knowledge that the father of lies so persistently insists that we are not at war. Those Christian athletes, who accept his deception, willingly lay down their athletic shields, their righteousness and God’s protection. For them, the battle might as well be over.
We must sound a battle cry for the army of God. Do not be deceived any longer by the lies of our enemy! “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). It is for this reason that we must pursue righteousness and God. Proverbs 2 promises that those who walk in integrity will not only have God as their shield, but as their provider. He will guard our paths, preserve our ways, watch over us, deliver us from evil, and lead us so that we may walk in the way of good men.
1. Do you go to bed at night with your integrity still in tact?
2. Do you wake with your integrity in the morning?