Early last week I had a very interesting conversation with a young woman who makes her living working in a sacred setting. Her training and her avocation are directly related to ministering the gospel. She contacted me, really out of the blue, to share with me that things had not been going well in her life. I won’t tell you the details of the conversation because they are confidential. But what struck me so clearly is that many people are well-trained in the word. They know a lot about the Bible. They are in church every Sunday and several other days as well. Yet, there is no victory in their lives. And they continue to go down the same roads to destruction. People believe in God but they lack the faith to do what is required.
In class we had quite a bit of discussion about the differences between belief and faith. Believing something (or professing a belief) is fairly easy and rather benign. Faith, on the other hand, takes action. Scripture teaches that faith without works is dead. Jackson writes ‘Faith must be mixed with action. Without action, a word can die and a season can pass.’ (27) Many of us totally miss out on blessings and benefits because we exist in a state of belief (I believe I can be thin. I believe I can get a new job. I believe …) instead of acting in faith (I won’t eat that second piece of cake. I’ll type up my resume.) It is time for us to get off the path of belief and on the road of faith through action. This is the way of the warrior.
The chapter details three stages of preparation for warriors.
1. Looking in – self-examination
2. Looking up - Praying about the destination
3. Looking out – recognizing opportunities
Take a look at the diagram above. Almost daily we are presented with ‘forks in the road’ moments when we have to decide whether or not we will seek God’s face or stubbornly go our own way. If we are doing as Jackson suggests, we look in. We examine our motives for choosing one way over the other. Then we look up or pray and seek God’s directions before making a move. If we are clear about our motives and have sought God’s directions we are better able to look out, or see the correct sign-posts. Look again at the diagram. How often do we choose to go our own way? Fortunately for us, God allows U-turns. However, the longer it takes for you to make a u-turn, the longer it takes to get to the place where you are firmly in God’s blessings and anointing.
Here is another metaphor that I think may help. Imagine yourself walking -blindly, disobediently, without victory – on your own path. Even though you are not where God wants you to be, all is not lost. God will also give you opportunities to make a shift from your road to God’s. The sooner you move from your path, the less junk you have to walk through. Look at the diagram. If you transition from your way to God’s way immediately after you make the wrong turn, the distance is very short. But look at the top of the diagram. Imagine the space in the top of the Y filled with the residue from sinful behaviors, wrong choices, broken dreams, heartache. The longer you are on your path, the greater the distance between your way and God’s. Wouldn’t you rather wade through a little bit of junk to get back on course rather than to fight your way through a major wilderness? Of course, what we really want, as warriors, is to make the right choice from the beginning, to fight the right fight in the right way. You can do ALL THINGS through CHRIST!