I slumped by the side of my bed, weeping. Another list of “Pastor Ken’s Wrongs,” arose from our church. It came from a small, angry group of members who felt threatened by floods of new people, ministries and ideas. Their response: attack Ken’s character to remove him from the church.
We’d been on this battlefield once before, a few years earlier. The greater denominational leadership stepped in, examined the facts, and made a statement. “We find no basis to these allegations and believe most of them to be untrue or simple matters of personal preference. If you are unable to accept this man as your God-given pastor, we recommend you seek a new church.” That’s the short story.
The long story involves months of gut-wrenching conflict and many sleepless nights. We doubted our gifts and our callings. The great news is, what Satan crafted to destroy us, God used to develop warrior spirits inside of us. We became fervent in our prayer closets and Bible study which in turn built our faith and honed our use of our Spirit-Sword, the Word of God.
After the resolution of that first list, wonderful years of ministry and growth rolled out for a bit then, whoosh, we were deployed back onto that same battlefield. Did I rise in my warrior strength? No. I cowered in a whiny, “I can’t believe this is happening again,” place.
Warriors are not formed in battle, they are tested by it. Faith warriors are created in their secret places of prayer where the anguished heart wrestles with God and His Word until the thing at hand is prayed all the way through. Private victories prepare the way for public battles to accomplish not only our own freedom but freedom for others.
I am consistently drawn to movies and books about courageous men and women. Marcus Luttrell overcame the horrific loss of his teammates and vicious pursuit by his enemies all on top of serious, bodily wounds to live and inspire millions with his account of survival.
When I encounter these stories, I find my faith re-ignited. If men and women can give their last ounce of strength for their country or cause, can’t I find the grit to fight in the same way for my eternal country, the kingdom of God?
Honestly, I’ve spent too much of my life being a fearful, sometimes lazy, often self-absorbed foot soldier in the war between darkness and light. In the quiet, with only God speaking, I am reminded of how much time and energy I’ve squandered trying to make my life comfortable and happy, away from the front lines. What might be different in the world around me if I’d approached my role in the kingdom army like Marcus Luttrell?
In the next few posts I’d like to examine some overlooked faith warriors from the Bible. Til then, ask yourself how much you are willing to sacrifice to see God’s will come to pass in your life, your family, your church, your country and across the world. Where are you waiting to see God move? Where is the enemy messing with you and yours?
Let’s learn from a soldier like Marcus, who stayed true to his cause despite numerous hardships and dangers.
Stop quitting. The flesh hates hard stuff, but that’s life on this side of heaven. Remember, as soldiers in Christ’s army, we fight from a unique position of victory. Often, battles are won by people who wear down the enemy simply because they refuse to give up.
Remember you are harder and stronger than your enemies. The Lion of Judah lives inside us and empowers us with every heavenly resource to resist and drive back the one who only prowls around like a lion. God expects us to use all the weapons He’s given us. Picture yourself fighting alongside the Captain of the Hosts because that is your reality. He is leading the charge, not us.
Expect you will be knocked down. Determine you will rise each time. Jesus himself was tortured, beaten and murdered before He rose in victory. He is our perfect example that going under doesn’t mean staying under. We rise in the strength of the Holy Spirit who fortifies our character and faith.
Remember who and what is at stake and spend that last ounce of courage and strength. We fight for the King of Kings. We fight for souls balanced between eternal life and death. We fight for our wounded fellow soldiers. There is simply too much at stake here for me to be primarily concerned about my comfort or convenience.
Acknowledge your status as an actively serving soldier everyday of your earthly life. If God grants me life and breath, He designs missions just for me. No matter our state, He has purpose for us.
Are you starting to feel that warrior spirit in you? Let me finish with verses that will stoke that fire.
“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. Deut. 20:1-4
“Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15
“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and your right hand upholds me; and your gentleness makes me great.” Psalm 18:35
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deut. 20:4