Chapter 2:Warriors and Warfare

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

God gave me a wonderful picture that I think is helpful in putting this together.

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!

Chapter 1: Is Your Head In The Game

In this first chapter, Harry Jackson helps readers understand that we became warriors in a battle as old as the ages the moment we accept Christ into our lives. Jackson says ‘the moment a person is born again, he or she becomes identified with a King and a Kingdom.’ (20) Our war is a very real war. The enemy is determined to win and we have to be just as determined to thwart his efforts. In class I reminded people that we are not Sam the Sheepdog fighting Wile Coyote. We don’t clock in, engage in dangerous battles, take a lunch break, fight some more then clock out with a ‘see you tomorrow’ on smiling lips. The enemy is not playing games with us. Winning the war requires training and discipline.

We fight the war at two levels: air control and on the ground. Winning in the ‘air’ requires focused, persistent prayer. It also requires using the word – out loud. Consider the way a two year old ‘wins’ battles over going to bed or getting her way. She uses her words – out loud. You rarely if ever see a two year old sulking. That would be easily ignored. Instead, they lay claim to the air. Likewise, Christians must lay claim to the air. Speak the word. Discipline your thoughts and your words.

We fight land battles over the ground that we occupy, at work, home and play. God has strategically placed each believer in territory that he and she must lay claim to for the sake of the gospel. Whether you are a doctor, janitor, stay at home Mom or millionaire, that ground is yours to take for our King! If we don’t, the king of this world will place his flag on that spot and claim it as victory. Every person has special gifts to use wherever they are stationed. Don’t be AWOL.

Jackson teaches that ‘becoming a world-class warrior demands a lifestyle based upon discipline, commitment and the Word of God.’ (23) This study promises to help us develop these skills.

I invite you to join us next week for lesson two: Warriors and Warfare: Fight the Right War in the Right Way.

The Shoe Box

Some of you may have read this before. However, the kernel of truth in it caused me to laugh out loud. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think. Testimonials etc. are welcomed

The Shoe Box (Author unknown)

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife’s bedside.

She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000.

He asked her about the contents. ‘When we were to be married,’ she said, ‘ my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.’

The little old man was so moved; he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

‘Honey,’ he said, ‘that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?’

‘Oh,’ she said, ‘that’s the money I made from selling the dolls.’

A Prayer…….

Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man;
Love to forgive him;
And Patience for his moods;
Because Lord, if I pray for Strength,
I’ll beat him to death, because I don’t know how to crochet.

Join me for a New Study Beginning Sunday, Sept. 14

Every day it becomes clearer to me that we MUST acknowledge that we are at war and prepare for the battle. The larger battle IS the Lord’s but we are the foot soldiers and there are some battles that we are going to have wage and win. The battle for our minds, hearts, spirits is a very real battle. The battle for our families is a very real battle. The battle for our communities, our homes, our schools – all battles that we are going to have to participate in. This study is going to help you gird up and make sure you’re fighting the right battles at the right times and in the right way.

Every week I will post a summary from the Sunday discussion.  I invite you to add your thoughts to the comments posted. I know this will be a rich experience for all who participate.

The book is The Way of the Warrior: How To Fulfill Life’s Most Difficult Assignment, Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

You can find the book at Amazon or at local bookstores.

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