Richard and Jane stepped off the airplane and walked into the Aspen, CO airport. They shivered in the crisp winter air as they climbed into an idling taxi and said, “Hotel Jerome.” They arrived at the hotel with just enough time to check-in and change into evening attire for dinner. The meal began with an appetizer of Lobster Strudel moving on to a main course of Pan-seared Red Snapper for Richard and a Tofu enchilada for Jane who also included a Baby Iceburg Wedge side-salad. Their stomachs too full for dessert they enjoyed the view for a few more minutes before taking the elevator back up to their room.
The exhaustion of the flight from New York city and the heavy meal they had just devoured lulled them into an early bedtime. Richard awoke at 2am and clicked the off button on the remote while Jane slept. When the sunlight peeked through the curtains they ordered room service for breakfast. Jane showered and dressed in her Spyder gear while waiting on Richard to finish getting ready. She nearly left the room without him, but he finally grunted he was ready when she asked him for the fifth time if he was ready to go. He stepped into the room wearing his Bermuda shorts and flip flips carrying his snowboard bag. Jane, completely annoyed now, shrilly said, “I thought you said you were ready to go!” “I am,” replied Richard nonchalantly. “But, it’s going to be a high of 12 degrees today.” Jane shot back.
Richard headed for the door leaving Jane standing with her chin hanging slack and nearly immobilized by shock. She managed to pick up her boarding gear before the door slammed in her face. They stepped out of the warmth of the hotel lobby into the cold of winter. Jane noticed Richard shiver, but he headed for a waiting taxi and she followed. The taxi driver didn’t even raise an eyebrow.
Richard and Jane slid into a chair lift, gliding easily to the top of the mountain. Jane shoved off and began the trip down the recently ascended mountain. Richard seemed to be having some troubles. For starters his flip-flops weren’t working so well with the bindings on the snowboard. Finally he managed to feel comfortable with his efforts and began the trip down the mountain. His feet slid out of his makeshift arrangement and he tumbled head first through the snow narrowly avoiding other skiers and stopping just before he hit a tree. The cold quickly stiffened up his muscles and walking through the snow back to his snowboard proved to be quite the expedition. He couldn’t get his half-frozen feet into the bindings so he belly-flopped onto the snowboard and began the trip down the mountain again. His trip down the mountain proved to be a comedy of errors. He hit a total of four trees and nearly ran over a 92-year-old grandma celebrating her birthday with a trip down the mountain on a pair of antique skis. Just when he thought he had safely made it to the bottom he ran into a man dressed in white. Thunk. The ice that had begun to form on Richards body cracked. Richard noticed that despite hitting the man full force from coming down the mountain the run in didn’t seem to faze the mans stance in the least. In fact he stood firmly in the same place without moving or falling down. Richard looked up in a daze at the man. Through blurred eyes he read the word “Truth” on the mans belt and saw the word “Righteousness” on the front of the mans jacket. “Funny, ” Richard thought, he had never heard of those two brands of ski clothing before. Before closing his eyes to stop the spinning he noticed the word “Peace” emblazoned on the strangers shoes. Before passing out for a moment he realized he sure could use a little peace in his life after the crazy trip down the side of the mountain.
This may seem like a pretty silly story, but I think it illustrates something that a lot of us unconsciously do; go into our day spiritually unprepared for the world we live in. Paul, in the Bible, makes it pretty clear that our struggles-all of our struggles–are never really against anything flesh and blood or things that we can see, but there is always a spiritual force behind our trials and tribulations. All of our battles are spiritual battles when it comes right down to the heart of it. So the only way to be ready for spiritual battles is to prepare and arm ourselves spiritually. Paul, again in the Bible, uses the metaphors of battle gear: helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, sword of truth etc. Without taking time to equip ourselves spiritually everyday by spending time with God in His word, it’s like going into battle wearing a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops armed with only a water gun. And that’s just how the devil likes us to be.