Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
All of San Antonio is rooting for the McAllister Park Little League to win the Little League World Series. On Sunday, they will either be world Champions, or have completed the most successful season in San Antonio's Little League history. Either way, these kids are already champions. But next week, their baseball battle will be over, they'll return home, and then start another school year. They'll be forced to move on to the next challenge.
The Christian life isn't so different. Luther writes in his Large Catechism:
We Christians must be armed (Ephesians 6:10-18) and daily expect to be constantly attacked. No one may go on in security and carelessly, as though the devil were far from us. At all times we must expect and block his blows. Though I am now chaste, patient, kind, and in firm faith, the devil will this very hour send such an arrow into my heart that I can scarcely stand. For he is an enemy that never stops or becomes tired. So when one temptation stops. there always arise others and fresh ones.
Even when we experience victories in our battle against sin and Satan, we are forced to move on and get ready for the next attack. Like a team that fails to prepare properly for an opponent as is caught off guard and defeated, we too can take our opponent for granted.
Luther quotes Ephesians 6 when he speaks about being armed. There St. Paul talks about putting on the full armor of God:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
May you all be fitted with the armor of God, and protected by the powerful Word of God, the comfort of the Gospel, and the faith that clings to Christ alone. Rejoice in your victories, and prepare yourselves for Satan's next attack, for you know it is coming. But with the shield of faith, you have nothing to fear--for the victory has already been won in Jesus Christ. Amen.