Warfare-Battle Up!

Twelve men set out on a weekend adventure; backpacking in a little-known rocky area in southeast Kansas. The trail took us through a small canyon that felt like something out of the Lord of the Rings. Eventually, we came across a short cliff where we had to pass our backpacks down to the guys below while slithering through what seemed like a fissure in the rocky ledge. With outcroppings of rocks cantilevering overhead, a vista opened up to a fantastic view of the adjacent lake!  We weren’t all that far in on the trail, but if someone became injured, it would be a couple of hours before we could get help.

Backpack transfer

The guys up front scouted out a perfect campsite. Soon, the campfire was roaring as we settled down for some MREs (meals ready to eat). Headlamps bounced around in the darkness as guys made their way to the campfire.

Mentoring Warriors Backpacking Adventure Trip

Authentic Manhood

The conversation focused on why men have a tendency to hide and pose and put on a front when around each other. We were made to be our best when we are courageously vulnerable. There is something almost mystic about guys sitting around a campfire at night. You can barely see each other’s faces, and yet the vulnerability starts to come out. 

“I’m struggling with lust.” one young man admitted. “I can’t keep fighting this battle alone.”  Another guy talked about his repeated bouts with anger. “Mine is fear and anxiety.” another voice said amidst the crackling fire. We talked about how God calls us men to speak the truth with love to each other. Iron sharpens iron. Whether it is about emotions or addictions we wrestle with or simply needing an extra hand managing the hike along the rocky trail, men who admit their needs are far more authentic than the guy who tries to fake having his act together.

Battles Ensued

It’s interesting to note that in the week that followed that Mentoring Warriors backpacking adventure, several of the men admitted facing spiritual attacks. Horrific dreams filled with loss, accusations, and threats from faceless enemies. Physically and emotionally draining.  One evening, I went to bed with a great attitude and a close sense of the Lord’s presence. I slept very well until out of nowhere I was bombarded with a dream that felt like it was from Friday the 13th!

My Spiritual Attack

In my dream, my wife and I and a good friend of ours got home late at night. It was a different house than ours; an older bungalow. We came in the back door.  As I walked through the house, I noticed it had been ransacked. Everything was out of place as if someone had broken in. I got to the front door and noticed the basement lights were on. Just then, a strong knock came at the front door. While that was happening, our friend was listening to voicemails on our phone (with the speaker on). The voice was spewing threats, accusations, and condemnations. In my dream, I froze with fear. I could hardly get the words out to call 911. Then, I woke up. My heart was racing and I felt like I had been attacked with fear!

Why is this Happening?

As soon as I got up, I opened up the Bible to Ephesians 6:10-20 and journaled what had just happened. 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

As much as we live in a physical world, we equally live in a supernatural one. Those campfire conversations were supernatural signs of men fighting spiritual battles alone and admitting their need for help. Spiritual ground was being taken back from the Enemy and he was not going to give up souls easily. Strongholds were challenged on that backpacking trip and the impact was seen in those who had various kinds of spiritual attacks in the days that followed.

A Few Days Later

Mentoring Warriors hosts Boot Camps; where we go through author David Riffel’s book entitled Mentoring Warriors. Those 8-week Boot Camps entail learning to mentor warrior-aged men.  The discussion in that particular session (a few days after our backpacking trip) included a deep conversation about identity and sexual purity.  Of course, porn came up and ways to find victory. Once again, men became authentic about their own struggles, and victories, in that area. Interestingly enough, more spiritual attacks happened with other men (who didn’t go on the backpacking trip). 

Here’s What I Know

The Enemy likes it when you are complacent. When the most exciting thing you do is watch an NFL game or nap in your hammock. He has you lulled to sleep, spiritually speaking.  But, talk about being authentic. Talk about needing other men to sharpen you. Talk about finding victory over strongholds, about pursuing God and taking back spiritual territory that the Enemy has had for far too long, and you will suddenly find yourself in the midst of spiritual battles. 

Armed and Ready

Perhaps you have been facing some unusual attacks. Perhaps you find yourself walking closer to God and facing battles against temptations and opposition to the Gospel. Perhaps you feel as if someone is shouting threats, condemnations, and accusations deep in your soul. Your entire identity in Christ is being questioned. This is NOT the time to shrink back. It is time to put on the full armor of God and surround yourself with other brothers in Christ who will fight the battle WITH you. It doesn’t matter if your battle is with porn or anger, alcohol addictions, greed, or a host of other strongholds, your victory WILL come as you pursue Christ and call on other brothers and mentors for help.

I’ve never known a man to find victory over spiritual battles who fights alone.  It is time to be battle-ready!  Ephesians 6:10-20 tells you what armor to put on. 

Who will you be authentic with? Perhaps you need to go on a backpacking trip or join a Mentoring Warriors Boot Camp. Thank God for the men who are waking up from their slumber and are being equipped for battle!

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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