Battle Ready

Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20.

After a savage mink managed to kill 30-odd chickens on our farm last year, Rick was able to kill it, handily ending its reign of terror.

Sad to report that we’re now battling with “son of mink” here on First Fruits Farm in recent weeks. This guy has found his way into our chicken coop three times in as many weeks, despite our best efforts to close every opening and patch every hole. We are down 32 chickens and counting.

We’re farmers — or in our case, at least we’re laborers for the Kingdom harvest. We aren’t sentimental about chickens. But the mink’s methods are downright creepy, the stuff of campfire stories.

Once inside the coop, he bites a chicken’s neck to drink its blood. He’s not interested in the meat and leaves the chicken’s mangled lifeless body in a heap.

Each time he’s gotten in the coop, the mink has had his fill of chicken blood, killing two, three and four of them before disappearing when Rick arrives too late with his gun.

What is the biggest threat to your chickens? Maybe at your farm you battle hawks, owls, raccoons, possums, snakes, foxes or weasels.

And what about our metaphorical chicken coop? What happens when we lower our guard, assume we’re secure and think we have it covered?

One of our biggest threats, on the farm and to our souls, is complacency.

Like the mink on our farm, our spiritual enemies are always out there, waiting for a small hole to open up, a weakness to develop.

We don’t intentionally let things slip into disrepair, but life has a way of lulling us into a false sense of security, especially when we think that something is “once and done.”

It’s exactly when you don’t take the time to look for tracks around the coop, to tack loose boards or to provide welded wire coverage over the runs that the mink will strike.

Predators don’t rest. Minks will find their way to chickens and drink their blood. Satan prowls among us, looking for the ones he can devour.

Even worse than minks for killing chickens are weasels. They’re small and can get in anywhere. They practically kill for the fun of it, thinking nothing of slaughtering 30 chickens in a night.

Weasels attack a hen house with vengeance, like warriors in a pitched battle, and are notoriously hard to catch.

They are in the same family as minks — mustelidae — much like all the forces of darkness work together as minions of the big, overarching enemy — Satan.

And just as we can identify what kind of creature killed the chickens in our coops by the carnage it leaves, we can also see clearly Satan’s devastation in the wake of evil.

And so it is with our spiritual lives. We long for peace, for a connection with God and for freedom from sin and despair.

But so often we forget the fury of our enemies and we become complacent. We start to think it’s easy, that we have it covered, that our chicken coop, once secure, will stay that way.

We forget to stay battle ready.

As followers of Christ, we can and should be prepared for the onslaught of temptation, of sin, of evil. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians encourages us to be battle ready through the armor of God.

We are protected when we realize that it is God who leads the charge. We will be delivered safely when we receive and listen to his orders through daily prayer.

We are well-prepared when we study his battle manual through daily Bible reading. We stay strong when we confer with our fellow soldiers through Christian community.

We are battle ready when we tend our coops and pay attention to God, every day in ways small and large.

originally published on Lancaster Farming Journal