When was the Last Time You Trained for Battle?
“A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power.”
Prov. 24:5 (NASB)
Few words can intimidate an NFL quarterback like the word “blitz”. Combined with names like Lawrence “L.T.” Taylor, Dick Butkus, Jack Lambert, Sam Huff, Ray Nitschke, Joe Schmidt, Bill George, Ray Lewis, and Junior Seau, you have the heartbeat of a defensive team.
The middle linebacker is to the defense what the quarterback is to an offense. He’s the playmaker; the one everyone looks to for guidance, inspiration, and advice. He is the coach’s eyes and ears on defense. The linebacker must be one of the most gifted athletes on the field. Whatever the offensive or defensive scheme the linebacker must provide a triple threat. He has to be quick, tough, and strong, and have great vision and great intuition. A good linebacker knows that every offensive alignment brings a certain strength and weakness. Depending on the defensive formation they can either over-play the opponents strength or prey upon their weakness.
The enduring middle linebacker for the Oakland Raiders is one such player—Greg “Beek” Biekert. In 2000 he led his team in tackles for the third straight season, with 126. After playing for four years at Colorado State, he was voted MVP as a senior and received All American Honorable Mention for his insightful play. As I have interviewed running backs who’ve run against “Beek,” they testify to his toughness, declaring, “Hitting Greg is like running up against a rock wall! His feet don’t move; he’s planted!” According to Defensive Line Coach Mike Waufle and fullback John Ritchie, “Beek can cause you more problems in the preparation of an offensive game plan than almost any other player. A tough, mobile middle linebacker like Beek can produce a lot of sleepless nights for Offensive Coordinators.”
One of Biekert’s role models both on and off the field was the legendary Mike Singletary. Former Bear coach Mike Ditka, a real believer in tough linebackers, once asked Singletary, “When’s the last time you broke a helmet?” When Singletary replied it had been a while, Ditka challenged him, “I want to hear one break.” While playing at Baylor University, Singletary broke 16 helmets—all of them his own!
At times, Christians, we too are called to play tough. When it comes to dealing with sin that could impact our lives or our loved ones, God wants us to knock sin down before it gets started. Paul reminds us, “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.” Ephesians 6:12. We too must be quick, have great vision, and great intuition. And just as line-backers train for the “battle” on the field, anticipating and preparing for the hit, so it must be with a Christian. We must immerse ourselves in God’s word and train ourselves in His ways, preparing for battle.
The Power of Truth:
- “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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph. 6:13-17
Suggestion for Prayer:
God knows your weaknesses. Ask Him to strengthen you. Commit to studying His Word and knowing His ways. Prepare yourself for battle.