A soldier trains before he enters battle. He makes sure he is physically fit, capable of using his weapons well, and tweaks his instincts and resolve. After all, if he decides to train during battle, he’ll likely be slaughtered before he can even guess at how he can begin fighting.
As Christians, we also need to prepare for battle, lest we be wiped out with the first shot from the enemy. Speaking from experience, I do not adequately prepare myself for attacks from the enemy, and usually end up giving into sin and temptation when he suddenly strikes at me.
Read the Bible. Memorize and mediate on verses. Pray. It all sounds so cliche, but what is the purpose of being disciplined in these areas? We build a closer relationship with God, yes, but it also strengthens us to be able to withstand the enemy when he attacks. With an arsenal of Bible verses and a direct line to the King, we are more than ready to take on the devil with the power of God. I remember many instances when the enemy suddenly attacks with a temptation, and I’m desperately scrabbling for a Bible verse or two to use against him, but to no avail. I have not memorized many verses, nor rehearsed the ones I know, I haven’t been praying consistently, so my phone line to God appears weak to me. So I give in.
I could have prepared myself if I had been disciplined enough to just faithfully do three simple tasks. I wouldn’t be slaughtered so quickly. I’d be fighting this war for the Lord, winning a victory He already won. And surprise! I actually have (actually more than) a fighting chance with God by my side. So often I forget that I can fight the enemy. Not on my own power, but God’s.
God will help us in our battles, but we also have a responsibility to prepare ourselves for them.