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The Wrestling Match


Gwen Smith

July 10, 2015

Blog, Devotions, Holy Spirit, Trusting God

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bring it on Eph 6

It was the end of the school year.  The sun was blazing in the sweltering high 80s with not a hint of shade to be found on the treeless playground.  The boys were stinky from their sweaty schoolyard endeavors and the girls were now wilted versions of the fresh flowers they had been that morning.  It was almost time for the big wrestling competition.  Electric excitement lingered in the air.  I was a fifth grader at West Hempfield Elementary School in Irwin, Pennsylvania and I had signed up to participate in the wrestling match. What?

To this day, I’m somewhat amused and perplexed that I would’ve thrown myself into the middle of such a barbaric display.  Wrestling certainly wasn’t my sport of choice, or even a faint interest of mine.  So, as we all gathered around the red and white striped gymnasium mats for the annual, end-of-the year wrestling tournament, I was sweating bullets… not just from the relentless, yellow ball of heat in the sky, but also from the nerves that consumed my body.

Before the match even began, I was a captive to the bully in my brain.  What do you think you are doing?  This is ridiculous!  Caroline is not only three inches taller than you, but she’s meaner than you, and she’s in the sixth grade!  You are going down, Gwen.  Prepare to be humiliated in front of every fourth, fifth and sixth grader in the school.

At the sound of the whistle, the match was on.  Caroline and I danced around like two alley cats with their backs raised high.  She had a confidence in her eye that was foreign to me at that moment.  A series of unskilled and ungraceful moves followed. (Cringe with me here!) She lunged and I retreated.  I lunged and she retreated.  Then came contact.  Within seconds we were on our hands and knees battling for control. Battling for the win.

The sounds of the crowd were deafening as Caroline moved in to get the better of me.  All I could think was, Just DON’T let her get you on your back!  Feelings of hopelessness and desperation flooded my heart as she and I exchanged move for move.  There were several points allotted and several restarts from Mr. Gordon’s whistle.  In the midst of this primitive battle, my goal had changed from trying to win to just trying NOT to be pinned…therein lies the defeat.

As the match came to an end and the final whistle blew, it was Caroline’s victorious arm that was raised high in the sky.  I was defeated in front of half the school.  Cheers went up for Caroline as I shrunk back into the sea of students, longing for super powers that would render me invisible.  I was exhausted from the match, humiliated from my failure, and defeated by both Caroline and my own mind.

That was a dark day for me as a young girl.  But as dark as that day was emotionally, I was able to clearly see my opponent.  Ladies, when it comes to spiritual wrestling matches, we do not have the advantage of sight.  The Bible says: 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, NIV)

Many of the battles we contend with each day are spiritual.  We can’t see our enemy.  And while at first glance this may seem disarming, look again at Ephesians 6.  The Bible clearly tells us that we can be equipped to stand firm with the Armor of God!

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. 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. (Ephesians 6:13-18, NIV)

Though the wrestling match with Caroline seemed overwhelmingly daunting, the battles that I face now are so much greater.  I’m thankful that God’s word clearly says the victory is ours if we are in Christ. If God is for us, who can be against us? (TWEET this!) 

What are you wrestling with today?  Is the enemy speaking lies to you?  Do you feel weak?  Strength comes when we call on Jesus!  We can stand firm against the schemes of the devil when we put on the armor of God!   Suit up, friend, a battle is going on all around you. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power!

Dear Lord, I thank you for being a mighty God who longs to cover my weakness with Your strength.  Please equip me for all that lies ahead today, protect me from attacks and schemes of the enemy, and help me to be strong in Your mighty power.  Cover me with Your peace, truth, faith, and salvation so I can stand firm in the battle. In Jesus’s name, amen.


FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE: Are you suited up for the battle? Leave a comment that says, “I’m suited up!” or give a one sentence testimony of how God is equipping you for every challenge.

In the old testament, in days of war they often sent the singers in before the battle. Take a moment to listen to the song My Strength, My Song.

Is there someone you know who needs to hear this message? Forward this via email. Post it on your Facebook page. Tweet a link. Share the call to courage.


Today’s post is an excerpt of TRUSTING GOD.
With impactful devotions, study questions, journal pages, free on-line video intros, and an index of trust-building Scriptures, this book is a resource you’ll refer to time-and-time again. To order your copy, click here


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About Gwen Smith

Gwen Smith

I am an unashamed, imperfect worshiper of Jesus Christ. I cling to His goodness to cover my mess and purpose my days to live out the hope of the Gospel. It is my joy and passion to inspire women to live fully in grace and truth. I write books, devotions and songs. I speak. I sing. I worship. I post, pin and tweet. I am intensely in love with the Word of God and believe, wholeheartedly, that the Bible is divinely inspired truth.


27 responses to “The Wrestling Match”

  1. Yvette says:

    I’m suited up!!!Thank you that for reminding us that God is in control and He always has our backs. The enemy is attacking my marriage and I also have to continue to rely on God’s promises and fight on a daily basis.

  2. Angie says:

    Embarrassingly, I’m just reading this today, a day late. But oh how appropriate. I am in the waiting room of an orthopedic oncologist with my 18 year old daughter for our first visit. And I an equipped for the battle ahead. The prayer was the exact words I was looking for but was unable to form.

  3. angela says:

    I am ready to fully surrender to God. I struggle with PPD after the birth of my third daughter. It’s been very difficult to push past the anxiety and depression but I know the Lord can lead me through anything. There is always a warmth and calmness that washes over me when I spend time with Him but I often seek the refuge of other people’s comfort before I look to the Lord. I want to be stronger in my walk with Him daily instead of going only when I have time. Thank you for this post. I certainly needed it this morning.

  4. Donna says:

    I’m suited up!!! This message was so fitting for what I dealt with at work today. I had a coworker who loves to gossip lie on me and when confronted by myself and our manager she sat and looked up straight in our eyes and lied. She stated as long as I lived I’d never have to be worried with her this woman who we’ll call “C” gossips all daily the manager even told her she is always the center of gossip. This woman is so evil little does she know what she did to me God is already working out as I was “suited up” her weapon that she tired to form can’t nor will ever hurt me!

  5. Rhonda Stanford says:

    The enemy is in my finances. I am behind on my maintenance payments for my apartment. I have asked GOD to take it from me, I know I am doing the best I can. I have to give it to Jesus and stop taking it back. I get so worried and the fear paralyzes me. All I know to do is pray. I know He hears me and that His desire for my family is that we keep our roof over our heads. Please pray for me, I know the fervent prayer of the righteous avails much! In Jesus’ Name.
    Thanks for listening

  6. Christina Tina Ocasio says:

    Thank you God for reminding me and confirming to stay suited up in your armor, for just last night I felt the enemy attacking when I heard my daughter wake up screaming, I had felt chills and I quickly checked on her and began to pray, believe and receive your peace and protection, with every challenge I’m going thru I abide under your wings, and if you are for us who can be against us. Thank you God for strengthening me in my walk with you and all that you are showing me. I know you are with me!…There is power in the name of Jesus!!!… Amen

  7. Becky Hernandez Johnson says:

    Almost every morning I wake up hearing a Christian song I’m going to start listening to the words maybe God’s trying to tell me something full armor of God

  8. Jeanie Roberson says:

    I just started reading your blog entries through Girlfriends in God. It was definitely a God thing. You know, where he intentionally keeps putting a message or a song or anything in front of your face to speak something important to you. At this time in your life, the words you are speaking are like cool water in a desert. Thank you for your faithfulness to God! And thank you for the reminder that we are in a battle and we need to put our armor on.

    • Becky Hernandez Johnson says:

      Every morning I wake up will not every morning mostly every morning I’m hearing a Christian song I’m going to start to listen to the words

  9. Stacey says:

    I’m suited up!!! Thank you Gwen for the great reminder. How great our mighty God is! The enemy is in my marriage I have put on God’s Armor against the spirit of doubt, fear, and abondanment. I praise you Lord for giving me strength, peace, and direction. I know you are with me and love me.

    In Jesus’ Name,

  10. Sandy says:

    I am leading a group of High School youth and 7 other adults from our church on a trip to the National Lutheran Youth Gathering in Detroit, Michigan. I tied each bundle of shirts with the “Armor of God” verse on their tag…there are many obstacles that we cannot see ahead of us, but in the wise words of my 11 year old, all we need to do is remember that God is the only one big enough to protect us as we journey. Thank you for this sweet devotional to help set my heart in the right place and to encourage me to give each struggle over to Him…He is faithful.

  11. Desiree says:

    I am suited up. I have put on the full Armor of God against the spirit of doubt,fear and all the others. Victory is mines in Jesus.Amen.

  12. Cindy Teel says:

    I am a missionary in Germany to our American military singles. My hubby of 35 yrs and I have been here 8 years. A few months ago I was diagnosed with 2 incurable life threatening lung diseases. I already have much chronic pain and other ailments, but God is faithful to help me thru each day. He gives me the energy to keep moving to manage the many things that go with this disease. He gives me courage to continue to try to be a blessing and minister to others in spite of my physical limitations. He fills my heart with joy and love for others. Thank you for your writings they are an encouragement. God has encouraged me to seek out other women who are encourager a and glean from what He has given them as well. Keep up the good work!

  13. Alexis says:

    I’m a soldier of the Lord in full Armor! 😀 Just recently lost my job due to the company filing Chapter 11 and my branch was closed as a result, but knowing I have the Almighty on my side and guiding me, BRING IT! 🙂 #Godisgood

  14. Kelly says:

    “I am suited up” ! – I give praise and thanks to God for the armor that he so freely blesses me with ! This morning during my walk, as I talked with God, the evil one tried his best to distract with me thoughts to trouble and upset me. I wasn’t going to allow the evil one to bring me down to the low level that he so frequently seeks to do. In Asking fervently for God’s strength and peace to deliver me out from the dark area, he surely did, and I soared to a higher place of peace, calm and strength that only he can bring to me- I give thanks for such blessings !

  15. Diane Shenton says:

    Gwen you are my inspiration to keep going forward in my walk with Jesus. Thank you! Now how do I deal with widowhood, not feeling the spirit when I go to church and trying to please everyone else. Diane

    • Cindy Teel says:

      My prayers are with you! Remember that God is the only one you need to please, and He is easy. Just go focussed on Him. He loves you so much. I’m sure your church does too. They just may not be able to show it, reach out to them.

  16. Laura says:

    I am more ready for battle than I was before. Praise God for the strength and the sword that His word is. I am going through a challenge right now that is testing my strength and trust in Him. I finally did it. Finished the Psalm adventure. I can’t count the ways that has blessed me. Taught me to hear something new from God for me. Taught me to praise and worship Him in my prayers. Taught me to tell God what’s on my heart. Ask Him for help and turn it into praising Him. A verse I read last week came to mind yesterday and calmed my heart throughout the day and is growing peace in me. Where there was fear of reactions and fear of what is ahead now there is a sense of trusting God to work this out. All glory to him. He really is becoming my strength and my song. Thank you God and thank you Gwen for your ministry. I agree Cindy I pray my flesh won’t get in the way.

  17. Cindy says:

    I am indeed suited up for battle! Hope and pray my flesh doesn’t get in the way, as it wants to and too often does! Praise God for our Helper, His Holy Spirit!!

  18. Gwen Carter says:

    How I needed to read your work today. May God’s love, peace and mercy be yours and mine this day.

  19. Karen Venezia says:

    Praise Jesus! How many times I have read this scripture, heard this scripture preached, studied what this scripture means and still did not (and knew in my heart that there was more to it) understand! But, praise Jesus (and thank you Gwen for you faithfulness (I picture you with a watering can here), for TODAY I can say PRAISE JESUS, I DO understand! I can’t wait for more understanding of this scripture. There’s nothing like a heart understanding of what God is saying to us!

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