I recently watched Remember the Titans, I have always loved this movie, it has heart, football, and soul power. (It is also a movie that I try not to feed my own white guilt but instead learn from.) But my favorite part of this movie is when they are at camp in Gettysburg. It contains one of my favorite monologues of any sports movie.
Anybody know what this place is? This is Gettysburg. This is where they fought the battle of Gettysburg. Fifty thousand men died fighting right here on this field, fighting the same fight that we’re still fighting amongst ourselves…today. This green field right here, was painted red, bubbling with blood from young boys. Smoke and hot lead pouring right through their bodies. Listen to their souls, man. ‘I killed my brother with malice in my heart. Hatred destroyed my family.’ You listen and take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together right now, on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed just like they were.
I don’t care if you don’t like each other, but you will respect each other. I don’t know, maybe we’ll learn to play this game like men.Coach Boone, Remember the Titans (2000)
A pretty freaking good monologue. The training and camp sequence following this monologue is also pretty freaking good too. We see a team come together and start working together to build an incredible team in order to change the game as we know it. But before you know it the sequence ends and they are on the bus ride back home singing “hey hey hey, goodbye.” And yeah, the team still had some struggles through the season but they pulled together and won. It is an awesome movie with an amazing ending. Isn’t it so cool that life just works like that?
Wait. Hold up. No it does not. Struggle or training or fighting does not happen in a sequence or montage. That’s not how it works. That’s not how real life works. But don’t we wish it worked like that.
I say this not to say that those sequences in movies are bad, or to criticize the industry in doing that. But we as people who watch and consume these movies day in and day out, we see this and expect that change and transformation happen with the flick of an action sequence. Or a training montage.
Let me break it to you if you have not gotten it yet. That is not how life works. At. All.
Sucks, doesn’t it? Yeah.
Currently I feel like I’m on that action sequence right now and I want to just rush through it. But, no. That is when all the fun stuff happens. The building of amazing habits with brothers. The gearing up with armor.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.Ephesians 6: 10-20, ESV
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. We are in a fight right now. And it is not with mankind. But with dark forces that wish for us to be divided. This fight though, is so easy to be misconstrued with people and individuals around us. We are so easily convinced that the world is against us and that it is me against the world. Or that it is me and God against the world. Well, let me tell you. THAT, is a lie, and it is a lie I believed for so long. Embarrassingly long. But that does not mean it is too late to gear up with brothers and sisters to fight a fight that (spoiler alert) has already been won.
I think so many of us in Western culture, or those of us who went to cheesy Vacation Bible School things as kids look at the armor of God as a good way to “feel good.” Or even a way for us to fill in a lesson that we did not have enough time to plan. I mean, let’s face it, it is what we do. But think about the context of these verses. This letter to the Ephesians was more than likely not read as a lesson for kids. Actually, I would almost guarantee the fact that these verses were not used for a children’s lesson. Why? Because it is a call to arms.
This passage is straight up saying, “there is a fight and we are going to war with the best tools out there.” I really do not think about that at all when I read it. But these verses are telling me to gear up with protection with the expectation of a war that ends in a victory. This is an active call. The training sequence that takes time to undergo. During this time, and times following we must be consistent and constantly in prayer with the Lord.
Yeah, it is easy to want to rush through the action montage, but if we rush through it, we might tighten or sharpen our swords wrong. Let’s do it right people. Let’s do it with others, watching each other’s blind spots. Keeping our eyes on God as we train. Take those steps in vulnerability, bring things to the light, pursue righteousness. Just do it. Do it.
Gear up. We’ve got a war to win.