Maintain Your Defenses

Scotland 2013, Tantallon Castle, crumbling curtain walls ...This is a photo of the Tantallon Castle.  It was once, as castles are built to be, a strong defense against those who wish to harm the people living inside the castle walls.  The thing about castles, as can be seen in the picture, is that their walls will crumble.  All across the UK and Europe are castles that are falling down – castles that once allowed people to rest safely inside.  The thing is, castle walls must be maintained.  If you do not maintain the castle wall, it begins to crumble, and soon it no longer provides any defense from your enemies.

Likewise, Soldiers know that they must constantly be inspecting and maintaining their defenses.  Refill and/or replace sandbags, keep refreshing camouflage, reinforce fighting positions, upgrade the quality of cover material, and the list goes on and on.  As soon as you stop maintaining your defenses, the enemy can exploit weaknesses.  When it comes to defenses – you can never rest.

Now then – The past few weeks have gone fairly well.    I have found it easier to engage in prayer (you can read about that here) and in general, felt reasonably well focused.  It was a rather restful time – so rest I did.  As a result, the defenses that had been built up earlier began to crumble a bit.  I did not notice as I was enjoying my break.  Then one day last week I realized that I was not feeling quite as good as I should.  I noticed that temptations that I had been blind to and did not notice for the past few weeks were still there and trying to catch my attention.

Thankfully I noticed this early on and started filling sandbags, replacing crumbling walls, and strengthening my spiritual fighting position before the enemy could invade.  As technology has developed from the industrial revolution and since, we have gotten where we do not like to work.  We tend to like easy “one and done” solutions to anything we may be facing.  Trouble is – that is not how faith works.  That is not how the path to holiness works.  Instead, the path to holiness requires we work, maintain our defenses, and consciously choose to follow Jesus daily.  We are told to “work out [our] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) and “work to show [ourselves] to God as one approved” (2 Timothy 2:15) and to flee from sin (1 Timothy 6:9) and, finally, Jesus says, “ “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

What does all of this mean – we can rest once we are in the Kingdom of God and He maintains the defenses.  Until then, every day, we need to maintain our own defenses.  Do you want to replace crumbling stones, refill and replace sandbags, and reinforce your spiritual fighting position?  Read Scripture, pray daily, encourage other Christians and accept the encouragement given by other Christians, worship where you feel the presence of God, and keep your eyes on Jesus.

Buen Camino,
Fr Steve

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