Andy B unpacks this week’s theme, “Going Equipped”, by providing real-life examples and consequences for being prepared or not being prepared. These examples include real stories involving military logistics, scouting and the Vulcan.
As the phrase ‘going equipped’ has various meanings, he explains what some of those are.
He quotes 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which explains how the Word of God equips us for every good work.
Andy B also relates his scouting days, and how, as a scout, he was trained to be ready for any situation.
And he finishes with the challenge to be ready; equipped for what God may ask of us in the week to come.
So, Going Equipped! If you're in the land of the United Kingdom, you might think of the phrase Going Equipped as a legal term, for somebody who goes out to steal a car, or break into into a house, 'cos they'll have a crowbar. And we have this kind of image of what going equipped could be like. We're not talking about that. Although in a sense, perhaps we are. But we are talking about going equipped. How do we be ready for what we're supposed to be doing?
If you're driving your car down the road and it breaks down. And you think, oh ok, well i, it's broken down. I don't know what's wrong with the car I'll call the breakdown service and they can come and fix the car, take me where I've got to go, or whatever needs to be done. So you call them up and the van arrives. And you're waiting for this Recovery Van, filled with tools to repair your car, or at least tow you where you need to go. And ice cream van turns up! And the person driving says, oh, sorry, I didn't know what you wanted. Did you do, do you want an ice cream? Or should I go and get me other van?
As daft as that might sound, when we make that phone call, we want the right person to come, and we want them to be equipped. If it's a hot day, you might like an ice cream, but we want them to come with a box of tools, and preferably some knowledge about how to repair an engine.
Going equipped simply means that we arrive to do whatever we've got to do. And we're ready. If you are, like me, I was I was a scout, I was a Cub. And one of the things you learned, so it's a motto is be prepared, which means you're ready. And I remember as a cub, we had to turn up every single week, Cub Scouts were to stand up, and we'd get inspected on how we looked, and havewe got the right uniform? And we had a special bag we had to have with us at all times that had important things. And this'll date it! So we had a little book of what to do if somebody's falling over, and what's the recovery position. And we had some little coins in there for the phone boxes. So you could put the coins in and make a phone call, back in the days when phone boxes were a thing, before mobile phones. There was such a time! And we were prepared for all sorts of things. And we were trained in all sorts of things.
I remember being on a scout camp one year, and we're walking through on a day out of the camp, we were in the local city, local town. And a lady comes up to us in tears. Bearing in mind, we're kind of 12 to 14 years old. Oh, you're scouts, you can help. I've lost my son. What do I do? And again, bear in mind, we're 12 to 14 years old. But she sees us in our uniforms and she said "You're prepared for everything, what do I do?" And all I could come up with was, ""Well, I think we should bring the Police", cos if you've lost your child that's kind of serious. We helped to look and we didn't really do much good. But, we comforted her because she felt we were prepared. And in some ways, yes. Maybe perhaps we were a little.
And all this episode today, all this stuff is all about being prepared. What does that mean for us as Christians? Whether we apply that into our exercise, and I'm gonna go out for a cycle but my, my bike's got a puncture. And the chains rusted, and it doesn't work. Well, you're not going for a cycle are you. Being prepared, Going Equipped, means we're ready for what's coming.
I was thinking, as I was looking at the, the horrific situation in Ukraine as Russia is indiscriminately killing civilians. But one of the things slowing down the Russians, thank God, is their logistics is dreadful. Because they've got this massive long convoy that's going nowhere because, well, they can't get logistics.
During the Second World War, one of the problems we had, and it was famously talked about by one of the German High Command officers, was 'why the English and the Allies, why hvae they stopped their advance?'. Well they're advancing so fast, they're running out of petrol. They have to wait for their logistics.
It doesn't matter how good those troops were at the front, they can't be any better than the logistical support behind them. So, if you want to take an army out, you take out the logistics as well. You have to factor that in. In fact, is quite important to think about removing the ability to function, and being equipped, Going Equipped, being prepared is all about having the tools, at our fingertips, that we need for life.
Let's just jump into 2 Timothy chapter 3, verse 16, to 17, which says this,
"All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
As Christians, the reason why we love the Word of God, the reason why we would go to church, or we might pray, or spend time with other Christians, is about us being made ready so we can go equipped. And what are we equipped for? Well, for every good work. What's good work? Well sharing the gospel, for one thing.
The church in the West seems to be really, broadly speaking, is very much into social justice. And there's an element of social justice which we absolutely should be involved in. But it's easy to to lose sight of our goal. And while social justice is important, it's not the most important thing we can do. People's rights to freedom are not as important as having a faith and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It's really easy to get slightly askew from what we need to do, from what's really godly, to something that's very, very good, but it's never going to be good enough relative to our relationship with Jesus.
Galatians 5, 22 You can go from read this yourself to 24.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness" and more. That's the fruit of the Spirit. That's part of going equipped. That's part of, of being ready for what's coming. Because when we walk with Jesus, when we have a relationship with Him, I've used this phrase many times, the Fruit of the Spirit it's 1 fruit with 9 parts. It's not 9 fruits. it's 1 fruit, with 9 parts to it. And those Fruit of the Spirit are the spontaneous outpouring of the Holy Spirit in us, as we have a relationship with Jesus Christ. So as we're walking along with God, the Fruit of the Spirit isn't something we simply tick boxes, and we do when we saw. It's what happens in us, as we have a relationship with Jesus. But that is equipping us for service of God. That's it's purpose.
Why do we need to think about being gentle, or kind, or compassionate? Well, it's not for social justice. Yes, that's a part of it. But the reason for those things is so we can do, back to the Timothy reading, so we can do every good work. That's why we need to know scripture. That's why we need to have a prayer life. We need to be with Jesus Christ, on our own, with other people, so that, that spontaneous outworking of the Holy Spirit, in the terms of theFruit of the Spirit, can grow and develop.
And then the obvious 1 which you've probably been waiting for, The Armour of God. Ephesians Chapter 6, verse 10.
"Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might."
There's something about being in a group of people, that's for you! I remember, a long time ago, I was with a guy, who's an Asian guy in the UK, and he'd became a Christian. He'd been thrown out by his family because he wasn't following their religion. He'd found a relationship with Jesus Christ. He was an amazing guy, but he was enormously muscular. Let's put it that way. And I remember walking down a street in Luton, in the UK feeling a little bit nervous. About 18, 17, 18 and thinking, oh, wow, everyone's big. And just realising who I'm stood next to. 1, he's a brother in Christ. 2, he's a bouncer in, as a job. 3, he's enormously huge, and he's muscular, and he's very confident. He was a gentle giant too. But, walking with him, gave me confidence. And when we stand strong in the Lord, we have confidence just like this chap gave to me.
"Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil."
We're not trying to fight the devil. We're trying to stand against the schemes of the devil. I've met many Christians who wear them out , and they're shouting at the devil, they're talking to the devil, and they're fighting the devil, and exhausting themselves. Just stand.
"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."
This is all setting up for the armour of God,
"Therefore take up the whole armour of God."
Well, this, therefore is saying look, of all the stuff we've just said, this is why therefore you need this stuff.
The belt of truth. That's important! The breastplate of righteousness, the bit that protects this. If you look at modern body armour, where does the most important parts of the body armour go? Well, it goes around the heart to protect it. Shoes. Having the gospel of peace, readiness, being equipped going equipped, being ready, prepared. It's the calling the breakdown, recovery service, and they turn up with their with their van, and they got flashy lights, and they've got, kind of overalls on, and they've got they got gloves, and they've got tools, and they're ready. Which helps you be peaceful!
"In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one."
If we have faith in God, we cannot have fear. Faith and fear cannot exist! if you are struggling with fear, and I struggle with fear, everyone struggles with fear, no one's going to be immune to that. When we struggle with fear, and if you are struggling with fear now, you need to increase your faith. Don't fight the fear. Increase your faith! Because the faith extinguishes the errors of the enemy, the fear.
"Take the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying all times in the spirit, with all prayer and supplication."
The interesting thing about praying in the Spirit. I remember was, we were in a prayer meeting and people were, they were praying but it was kind of either a prayer they'd heard before, or they were reading out of a book, or they were repeating a prayer that somebody's written down for them. Now there's nothing wrong with saying prayers that are written down. There's nothing wrong with, with reading a prayer together. But I remember praying, and somebody commenting afterwards about, 'Oh you're praying in this particular way'. Now, they used this really big fancy word. I couldn't even remember what it was. All he meant was, you're praying in the Spirit, because I wasn't reading off a script. Now, there's nothing wrong with that. It's not negative at all. But I don't pray that way. I pray in the spirit means, I just pray out loud and as I feel led to pray.
I remember being at a funeral where I was saying something, and the vicar of this church was, sadly quite a controlling individual. "You must write down what you're going to say, you'll never be able to cope, you must write this down." And I ignored him because that's not me. I just said what I needed to say, and I prayed. We need to be ourselves. That's important. We need to listen to counsel. We need to know wisdom to know when to ignore counsel. But we need to pray in the Spirit and that is part of the armour of God. It's not just about having all the right kit on.
If you think about a modern soldier, they've got a bulletproof helmet, and they've got all sorts of gear and kit that helps them fight the battles they've got to fight. But, pray in the Spirit. How does that fit into the armour that we see a modern soldier wear. I think it works really perfectly well, actually. It's called a radio, and a headset, so they can communicate with the people they need to talk to. So, they're ready to go but where have they got to go? Well, they wait for the command. In the modern world that tends to be through a headset. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions. "To that end, keep alert. with all perseverance making supplication for all the saints, praying, thinking."
There are a number of people who think about this family, my family, and we get the odd message here and there. We got a card through the post the other day. Very precious! Somebody thought about us and prayed for us. Praying for the saints. The saints are us. The Saints are you, if you know Jesus Christ.
The armour of God is how we protect ourselves. The Fruit of the Spirit is not our effort, but it's the effort of the Holy Spirit working in us, and out through us, as we have a relationship with Jesus Christ. We need to be ready for what's coming.
The Falkland Islands came to my mind because one of the most famous parts of the Falkland Islands conflict, in the 80s, was RAF Vulcan bombers flying from the UK, down to Port Stanley, and stopping off at Ascension Island. And there's this amazing story about how they got this plane from where the, where the Allies were, English were, to, to the Falklands and back again. And there were all these other planes that, that got them along. And I've seen the chart that was used for all the refuelling. And one refuelling plane had to refuel several others, and fly back, and get more fuel, and come back out. And it was immensely complex.
But, on the day that they were going to do this bombing raid on the airport to show the Argentinians that we can do this there were 2 planes, 2 Vulcan bombers. There was the lead one, and there was a second one in reserve. The reserve bomber, 'Well, it aint gonna be us is it'. Everybody's here. That plane is as mint condition as it's gonna be. It's gonna go off. Everyone's psyched and ready. And then there was a really odd thing, because one of the seals, in the cockpit on one of the windows, failed. That plane was scrubbed, and the reserve play then flew. That's why there was a reserve. However, the pilot of the reserve Vulcan didn't have his survival gear on, 'cos it was uncomfortable and hot, and it was hot where they were, and 'I don't want to wear it' 'cos it's, I'm not going to be flying anyway. And he was a bit hungover from the night before. It wasn't great. But he was the one that actually flew the mission. Was he ready? Equipped. While he was in his pilot's seat. He was ready to go. He knew the mission, just didn't expect to be doing it. And that's why we need to be fitted with the gospel that comes from the readiness of peace.
We need to be ready to do every good thing, from Timothy, that God is asking us to do. That pilot was sort of ready, and he got the job done! They got the bombs on target. And although it wasn't necessarily a very, it wasn't much of a victory in many ways, because it just put a few holes in the runway, it actually had huge implications to the Argentinian government, that we could do that. And it was a huge morale booster too.
Are we ready for what God's calling us to do? If you're thinking about exercise, we always come back to exercise, 'cos this is Endurance. If you're thinking about exercise, are you ready for your next run, your next mountain walk, your next climb, your next row? Are you ready for that, whatever you're gonna be doing? Have you got your equipment ready? I can guarantee you're not just going to go for it, and hope for the best. There's a time for that. But if you're planning it, you're gonna be ready. You're gonna have water in your bottles. You're going to have the food, and the drinks, that you need. You're gonna have all the equipment ready, and cleaned and good to go.
Do we do that in our Christian faith? Do we take that time to actually be ready? 'Cos that's what the Bible calls us to do.
Let's make sure that in all that we're doing, we're equipped to do what God is asking us to do.
Go away, read Galatians 5,22 and onwards to the Fruit of the Spirit. Go and read Ephesians 6, the armour of God.
Go and read 2 Timothy and understand that every piece of scripture is great. Why do we do all these things? In order to do every good thing for God. We need to be ready, we need to go equipped. And that being, means, preparation, not just rocking up and hoping for the best. There's a time for that. We're not talking about a time for that. We're talking about planned, and specific, and deliberate.
Let's be equipped, let's go equipped, let's be ready and expectant for whatever God's gonna call us to do today, tomorrow, and this week.
Let's pray. Father God, I thank you that in Scripture, there is so much clarity about what you're asking us to do. That you tell us about so many different things. You, You lead us and You guide us, about how to live life, how we can best serve You, how we can be the very best versions of ourselves that we can be, when we follow You and walk with You. Lord, God, would you teach us, each, how to be better equipped, and more prepared, to walk the life that you want us to live? Not trying to pursue our own goals, but pursuing Your goals for us. Not building our kingdoms, but helping to be Your workers on Earth to build Your kingdom. Father, help us to go equipped into the situations that we go into, to be ready for whatever's coming, because we've already made those preparations ahead of time. Father, God speak to us by your word and make us ready to serve you we pray. Amen.
Written by Andy B