Paintballing and spiritual warfare

Kevin Ibanez 

“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” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV).

This past weekend, we celebrated my twin boys (James and Jacob) thirteenth birthday. My wife and I asked them a few weeks ago what they wanted to do for this special birthday. We were thinking maybe a party, or a trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain, but instead they said that they wanted to go paintballing. They had never been before and it sounded like a lot of fun, so I did my research and found a place to go in Lake Elsinore. It has been a few years since I had been paintballing. I forgot how exhausting it could be. You get into two teams on a course set up with obstacles to hide behind, the referee yells, “Go”, and then you sprint and hide for cover. You then begin the process of methodically hiding, advancing and shooting these little round paint filled balls at extremely ridiculous speeds at each other with the intent of “hitting” your opponent and getting them out.

Though I have never personally been in combat or served in the military, I think that I got a low-level taste of what it could be like to be in a battle. It is high stress, high stakes, adrenaline rushing, and when the “game” or battle is done, you are a sweaty, exhausted mess. We lost some games, or battles, and won others. It was a lot of fun, but it was a lot of work, too.

Between games, we refilled our “hoppers” with paint balls, refilled our CO2 canisters so we could make sure our “markers” or guns would shoot properly and propel the paintballs at high speeds towards our opponents. We also rested and drank a ton of water. As I rested, I was reminded that as Christians, our battle is not really on the paintball field, but it is spiritual battle. We are called into combat duty every day of our lives. There are moments of rest and replenishment, like attending church services, and spending time with God during our devotional times, but our opponent, our adversary, Satan, does not rest and he is always on the attack. In 1 Peter 5:8, we are reminded that “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

So my encouragement to all of us is to be on guard, to put on the full armor of God every day as Paul instructs us to in Ephesians 6, and to be ready to fight and never, ever give up. Remember that we may lose some battles, but we know by reading the book of Revelation, in the end, we win the war and Jesus Christ, our great God, King and General receives and deserves all the glory!

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