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BAND OF SAINTS

Michael AA

BAND OF SAINTS

 

band-of-saints: n. 1. An  army of anointed operatives trained in the art of spiritual warfare to defeat the enemies of God by winning souls, advancing the kingdom and defending truth.  2. Righteous men and women exhibiting the character and nature of Christ.

 

I am a Christian Soldier – a professional.

I am a volunteer, knowing full well the suffering of my calling.

I serve for His name’s sake, in the memory of those who have served before me, in the fight with those who serve with me, in the encouragement of those who will serve after me.

I pledge to uphold the honor and integrity of my Christian life in all I am – in all I do.

I will serve wherever Jesus Christ requires; with honor and integrity.  I know I am not called into ministy for my life is my ministry.

I will always strive to excel in every art of spiritual warfare; ready to lead or follow; never quitting.

I will keep my mind, heart and body clean, alert and strong, for this is my debt to the One Who died for me.

I am trained for war, fighting to defeat the Lord’s enemies.

I will not bring shame upon Christ, my brothers or myself; excelling as a warrior through discipline and obedience; taking responsibility for my actions.

I will maintain a love for and a diligence in studying God’s Word, having a Biblical worldview, not relying upon my own ideas to determine what is true and absolute.

I am a soldier of God’s anointed army.  May God grant that I will not be found wanting, that I will do all God requires of me, that I will not fail this sacred trust. My goal is to succeed in every mission.

I will never surrender.

 

 The Art of Spiritual Warfare

 

I.  A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW

 

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15

 

Everyone has a worldview. Whether or not we realize it, we all have certain presuppositions and biases that affect the way we view all of life and reality.  Our worldview encompasses the following interpretations of life:

1.  An explanation of the world: “How did we get here?”

2.  An answer to the question: “Where are we heading?”

3.  An answer to the ethical question: “What should we do?”

4.  A theory of action: “How should we attain our goals?”

5.  A theory of knowledge: “What is true and false?”

 

A worldview is like a set of lenses through which we perceive the world around us.  It acts as a filter through which everything that enters our minds is processed and digested to create a set of core values. Our worldview is formed by our education, our upbringing, the culture we live in, the books we read, the media and movies we absorb, the six o’clock news, the people we tweeter, etc. For many people their worldview is simply something they have absorbed by osmosis from the surrounding cultural. Most people no longer deliberately organize their lives around a core value system.  Instead, most people back into a set of values that remains in force until something better or more appealing comes along.  They have never thought strategically about what they believe and wouldn’t be able to give a rational defense of their beliefs to others

 

For a soldier in God’s army, a Biblical worldview is non-negotiable.  Our filter is God’s Word, the only source of our grand perspective on life, truth, and meaning. Truth is absolute, not relativistic, and can only be understood by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the One Who said, “I am the way, the Truth and the life, no one can come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)  The Bible is either all true or all false.  We cannot pick and choose truth. Sadly though, less than 10% of born-again evangelical Christians possess a Biblical worldview.

 

Soldiers should never tolerate their beliefs to be considered relative; something that is only ‘true for them’.  God’s Word is absolute truth for all men and we should think in terms of worldviews with a command not only of our own way of thought but also that of other people, so that we can genuinely communicate with people in our pluralistic society and give a rational defense of our beliefs. (Col. 4:5-6; 2 Tim. 2:15)

 

We are to think and live with a consistent and cohesive Biblical worldview. We believe the Bible is God’s divinely inspired Word, revealed to mankind (2 Tim. 3:16). We believe that God exists (Heb. 11:6) and that He is the standard by which we measure everything else, for He created everything that exists (Gen.1:1) and everything is held together by Him (Col. 1:17). We believe that the fullness of God came to earth and lived in the human body of Jesus Christ of Nazareth 2,000 years ago (Col. 1:19). We believe that mankind chose to rebel against God in the Garden of Eden and because of that act of rebellion, sin and death entered the world (Rom. 5:12-14).  We believe that believing in (John 3:15-19, 5:24), and obeying (Luke 8:21, John 3:20, John 14:21, 23-24) Jesus Christ is the only way to have eternal life and to be reunited with God (Acts 4:10-12).

 

While Christianity is believed by faith, it is most definitely a reasonable and rational faith. It answers the questions of the mind and the heart. We all live by faith. Some people have faith in themselves. Some have faith in the government or in a hope for world peace. Some have faith in their money, their education or their employment. All of those things are temporal and can change. They can all let us down.  Life changes, but God can be depended on through it all. He will never leave nor forsake those who belong to Him. (Heb. 13:5b)   The Christian faith is reasonable and makes sense in a world that has lost its moral compass.

A Biblical worldview will equip you to be a powerful warrior for God.   Christ will live in your heart and you will come to know and understand the height, the depth, the width and the length of the Love of Christ. It surpasses all human knowledge. You will be filled with the fullness of God (Eph. 3:18-19) and anointed for His service (Acts 1:8). 

 

II. LEADERSHIP

“And you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.  And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”  1 John 2:20 & 27

 

Every soldier in God’s army is a leader.

Genghis Khan was considered one of the greatest military strategists in ancient history.  His officers and troopers alike were usually given a wide leeway by their superiors in carrying out their orders, so long as the larger objectives of the plan were well served and the orders promptly obeyed. The Mongols thus avoided the pitfalls of overly rigid discipline and micromanagement, which have proven a hobgoblin to armed forces throughout history. All soldiers had to be unconditionally loyal to each other and especially to the Khan.  Each warrior knew the strategies of battle, was equipped to fight wherever and whenever and did not have to wait for orders.

As warriors of the kingdom, we serve the greatest military strategist, the Lord God Almighty.  There is a war going on. It is not a war that is like the wars that are currently going on between nations today (although such wars may be a part of the bigger war). It is a spiritual war. It is a war between Christ and His church and Satan and his fallen celestial allies. It is an invisible war in that we fight against unseen forces (Eph. 6:12). It is therefore a war that must be waged by faith, and not by sight. It is a war that we cannot fight in our own strength, but only in the strength that God Himself supplies.

We are given wide freedom by God to carry out His commands, so long as the larger objective of the plan is followed and orders are obeyed (Matt. 28:19-20).  God has given us His Word that commands us to, “Destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5).  He expects us to be unconditionally loyal to Him and our fellow soldiers, equipped, ready to fight wherever and whenever, not waiting for anyone to give us orders.

It did not take long in church history before a special class of Christians developed who were considered professionals. Though the design is not Biblical, the idea that there should be a class of professional clergy who micromanage the troops has plagued Christianity for almost two thousand years.  In this model, the believers’ first obligation is to the church structure where they are expected to attend, follow directives and financially support the system. This lowers the bar for those who are not pursuing a ministry vocation.  They are simply the drones on permanent KP duty who work hard to finance the real workers who carry the weight of the kingdom.  Millions of soldiers are busily engaged in meaningless activities in a vain attempt to find purpose, direction, and victory.  Instead of becoming powerful soldiers of God, they are pitifully mired in chaos and confusion.

As we read and reread the New Testament, we find that all are enlisted to fight. Jesus calls all of us to surrender our whole life to battle for him. This is not a call into a career but into a kingdom. All soldiers of Christ’s kingdom are called to serve fully. There is no chain of command in this army, other than our allegiance first and foremost to God (vertical).  This uncompromising loyalty to the King shapes our relationships with others as equal warriors (horizontal).  God requires all of us to be equipped, to have a clear command of orders and to be ready at any time to engage the enemy.  As soldiers we need to stop retreating and taking refuge inside the walls of the church.  We are commanded to equip and mentor new recruits.

 

Equippers 

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.”  Eph. 4:11-12

Every soldier is called to be an anointed equipper. In the place of paid professional clergy, the Biblical blueprint is to have anointed men to equip fellow soldiers with the needed armaments.  Congregations not effectively ‘equipping the saints for work of service’ will find themselves scattered, in disarray and treading water.  Many men come into the church with leadership capabilities only to be relegated to some ineffective committee or board that just meets and meets, never tasting victory.  These men need to be equipped with spiritual weapons and turned loose on the world, using their God-given abilities to shatter the status quo, initiating new and better ways of defeating the enemy.  As trained, professional soldiers, they will win victory after victory for the King in their everyday lives, work and pursuits. 

 

Mentors

“I exhort the elders among you…shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; not yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.”  1 Peter 5:1-3

One wonders if Paul would have made it without Barnabas. The fear of Paul’s murderous threats toward those of the early church was still very much a reality when Barnabas took Paul to the apostles and vouched for the veracity of his testimony (Acts 9:26, 27). Barnabas did not have to do this, but this act of encouragement provided a necessary link between Paul and the fulfillment of his calling. Several years later, Barnabas was again prompted by the Holy Spirit to look for Paul (Acts 11:25).

Barnabas became a mentor to Paul, teaching him with words and actions.  He took this enemy of the cross and through patient diligence developed a leader in the army of God, authenticating God’s call on Paul’s life. The Tarsus tentmaker had seemingly been overlooked by the established church and bypassed for meaningful ministry assignments. But Barnabas remembered. Because of Barnabas’ influence, the church found a place for Paul and helped him develop trusted relationships and a respected teaching ministry (Acts 11:26; 13:1, 2)

Then Barnabas stepped out of the way.  Recognizing the hand of God on Paul, Barnabas took a back seat and watched God use Paul to build His church through the Gentiles.  Barnabas could have ‘lorded’ over Paul, asserting his position as the teacher, expecting Paul to recognize his place in the chain of command.  But Barnabas’ concern was for the kingdom, not earthly titles; he was willing to take a backseat to Paul, sensing the great work God had for Paul.  Paul was to be the star of the show, not Barnabas, and he knew this and willingly accepted Paul’s ascension.  It takes a humble leader to be this kind of example. 

Every soldier is a mentor. Like all prize-winning supporting actors, mentors bring depth and stability to the church, slowly but surely improving both performance and organizational resilience. They will never garner the most medals or the biggest crowds, but they also will be less likely to embarrass the church. These Special Forces soldiers inevitably end up being the backbone of the army.  The church’s long-term performance and survival depends far more on the contributions of their mentors, than the high-performing visionaries, whose strengths, when carried to an extreme, can lead to reckless or volatile behavior.

Equipping and mentoring are Biblical processes for the transmission of spiritual knowledge, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the equipper/mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less.  You must have an honest understanding of who you are (a soldier for Christ), what you know (a Biblical worldview), and what you can do (your mission for God). To be successful you have to prove to your fellow soldiers, not yourself, that you can be trusted to uphold the honor and integrity of your Christian life.

Recruits want to be trained by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. But there is a consistent flight of soldiers from the church, largely because they are appalled by the inferior existing leadership and frustrated by the inability to contribute their leadership know-how to the battle.  This is a trend that the church overlooks at its own peril.  We must equip, mentor, and unleash those to who have joined God’s army.  Every soldier of God is a potential leader begging to be set free from stagnate, traditional roles so they can demonstrate excellence, vision, growth and effectiveness in the fight to win the world. 

 

III. PERSONAL DISCIPLINE

“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

Great soldiers are not born. Desire and willpower are imperative to becoming a lethal soldier. Warriors become great through a never-ending drive to succeed by training, working and studying to improve their combat skills. They do not rest on their laurels; instead bringing order out of chaos, knowing mere survival is a lame accomplishment. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not one act but a lifestyle.

God has taken possession of our lives and we do no longer exist for ourselves but are in service to the King.  The results He expects are submission, holiness, transformation and evidence.

 

SUBMISSION

In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”

As with all structured military units, soldiers are instructed to obey their commanding officers and follow orders.  In Romans 12:1, the Holy Spirit urges us to present ourselves as living, holy, and acceptable sacrifices. One could conclude that this should occur daily in a Christian’s life. However, Romans 12:1 does not exhort us to a daily sacrifice. Instead, it exhorts us to a once-for-all-time sacrifice to God, a timeless act. It would be inaccurate to translate or interpret this as “keep on presenting”. A clearer rendering would be to “make a decisive dedication of your bodies”. This decisive dedication is not a daily occurrence.  Instead, it is a one-time act of sacrifice, a timeless offering defining our identity as revolutionaries dedicated to changing the world.

Presenting ourselves to God is tantamount to submitting to His will, sacrificing any notion that we know the best course of action.  No longer do we live our lives according to our own strategies or plans. The greatness of man’s power is the measure of his surrender. It is not a question of who you are or of what you are, but whether God controls you.  We fight the enemy with God’s knowledge, following His rules of engagement, as faithful soldiers who are bound by a sacred trust.  In submitting to God’s leadership in warfare, we gain three benefits.  First, it pleases God, for obedience is one of the trademarks of a loyal soldier.  Secondly we receive God’s protection; we go into battle anointed to meet the enemy.  Thirdly, God-given authority is the best source of direction. In spiritual warfare, knowledge cannot be gained from hypothesis, opinions, or theories.  It must be obtained from God, who knows the enemy and his tactics.

What He asks is a will which will no longer be divided between Him and any creature, a will workable in his hands, which wants without reservation everything He wants, and which never, under any circumstance, wants anything which He does not want.

 

HOLINESS

Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent.”

We will never be victorious in battle without first being holy, striving to be disciplined to attain the highest standards in everything we do personally.  Both the Old and New Testaments put a high priority on holiness, a crucial part of the Christian life. Only the disciplined ever get really good at anything. Everything in life requires some sort of discipline. Whether it is losing weight, climbing a mountain, using a computer, making good grades or being a great husband, it all comes down to a matter of discipline.

Discipline is the basic foundation of any successful military unit or company, the major difference between poor soldiers and excellent soldiers.  The best military units have disciplined soldiers who hold themselves to high standards at all times, while the worst units have weak soldiers and poor discipline.  A well-disciplined army will always come out the victor in battle. The only type of discipline is permanent discipline. 

God will never force us to be holy; it must be a free choice out of our loyalty to Him. In simple terms, holiness is being set apart for Him; the holiness of God being the highest honor expressed in the scriptures. We become holy through repentance and obedience as we adopt His character and inherit His holiness. This can only happen through discipline. The commands of God direct us to be imitators of Him and conforms us to His will. His will is where our future lies and we only win battles by becoming like Him.

What does it mean for us to be holy? When God told Israel to be holy in Leviticus 11:44-45, He was instructing them to be distinct from the other nations by giving them specific regulations to govern their lives. Israel is God’s chosen nation and God has set them apart from all other people. They are His special people, and consequently they were given standards that God wanted them to live by so the world would know they belonged to Him.   Peter repeats the Lord’s words in 1 Peter 1:16, talking specifically to believers. As believers, we need to be set apart and distinct from the world, living by God’s standards. God isn’t calling us to be perfect, but to be different from the world.

Holiness requires daily discipline and training. As we exercise our bodies, so should we train our hearts and minds for the mission which God has recruited us; we will not be found wanting.   Holy and disciplined soldiers are fierce, strong, and fearless warriors in the face of battle. Holiness is the result and application of discipline that preserves initiative and functions unfalteringly even in the absence of the commander, instilling a sense of confidence and responsibility in each individual. As revolutionaries we have a clear and compelling ideology as a part of God’s army. This ideology stands for something eternal and distinct, providing us with an articulate alternative to the relativistic, damning philosophies of the world, shaping us into anointed soldiers. 

 

TRANSFORMATION

Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”

The Greek word for biblical “transformation” is metamorphoo, from which we get the English word metamorphosis: i.e., a complete change, such as a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Biblical transformation, then, applies to an individual believer’s progress in sanctification.  Transformation is not ‘self-help’ dressed up in a very thin spirituality or a solution for our ‘practical needs’ as a way to sort out our ‘messy lives’ or as a ‘problem-solution format’ where faith is presented as a way to ‘make life easier through helpful solutions’.  God wants to rock, transform, dismantle and re-create our lives.  He redeems us, rescues us and liberates us for the ‘here after’ and the ‘here-and-now’.  God is primarily concerned with transforming the whole person, in all areas of our lives not just patterns of behavior.

Transformation is critical because whoever directs and controls our thinking is ultimately the one who will direct and control our lives.  How we think affects how we fight; how we fight influences our purpose and our purpose determines our actions.  We must always realize that the battle is for our mind.

“No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the One Who enlisted Him as a soldier.”   2 Peter 2:4

Few soldiers understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mould them accordingly. As members of His army, He has the right to interrupt our lives. He is Lord. When you accepted Him as Savoir, you gave Him the right to help Himself to your life anytime He wants. If you look up into His face and say, “Yes, Lord, whatever it costs,” at that moment He’ll flood your Life with His presence and power.

Revolutionaries are committed to making an impact, and hate being associated with losers.  As we see tangible evidence of progress in the battle for the souls of men, we know our sweat and determination is having a positive influence.   But without a renewed mind, we’ll never be transformed into Christ’s Image. He wants us to have the supernatural ability to discern everything that happens to us from His vantage point and His perspective. And though the Spirit of God is the One who transforms souls, each individual has a personal responsibility in the process.  We must be transformed husbands, fathers, employees, citizens and businessmen. Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether we are willing to pay the price of hard work, sacrifice and endurance to attain it.

 

EVIDENCE

Activity does not equate accomplishment.”

Basic Training – often called boot camp – prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental and emotional. It gives service members the basic tools necessary to perform the roles that will be asked of them for the duration of their tour.  The purpose of this training isn’t to “break” recruits. In fact, the combination of physical training, field exercises and classroom time makes individuals strong, loyal and fearsome in the heat of battle. It’s a tough process, but a rewarding one that soldiers value and demonstrate through their actions.

God is not satisfied with our activities if all we are doing is being busy for busyness sake instead of preparing to perform the mission He has called us to undertake. What He asks is a will which will no longer be divided between Him and any creature, a will pliant in His hands, which neither desires anything nor refuses anything, which wants without reservation everything He wants, and which never, under any pretext, wants anything which He does not want.  He is not trying to break us but to renew our minds, changing how we think and look at the world, molding us into the awesome warriors He desires.   The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender. It is not a question of who you are, or what you are, but whether God controls you.

We are changed into instruments of God through submission, transformation and holiness, evidenced by how we live, discerning the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.  Paul tells us (Eph. 5:8-10), though we formerly lived in darkness, we are now to live with understanding, as the light of the Lord, bringing revelation to a dark and lost world.  Light is ‘discovered’ by its effect on darkness, for darkness is only the absence of light. As Soldiers of light we are to live as conquerors, proving what pleases God; goodness, righteousness and truth realized on the personal level.  Revolutionaries require a personal sense of intimacy with others who share their dissatisfaction with the status quo and who are committed to the ends of the revolution.

Goodness is the achievement of moral excellence. God calls men to holiness, to a life that is contrary to their natural tendency toward sin.  Only with moral excellence can we experience maximum production in the war against sin.   It is important to recognize that by moral excellence we are not simply talking about a list of taboos or overt sins. Moral excellence means the pursuit of the moral will of God in every area of life – values, attitudes, priorities, goals or purposes, devotion, a Christ-like character at home, at the office, at church, as well as in one’s pastimes. God cannot prosper the life and ministry of those who are not concerned with holiness. When we continually fail to pursue moral excellence we start down the slippery slope of mediocrity that eventually leads to various levels of carnality. Without moral excellence your weapons are damaged, your passion is dampened, your strength is exhausted, and the enemy will spring up to take advantage of your weakness.   Christ has already vanquished the power of sin, and this is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated. Moral excellence means knowing the enemy and his tactics and knowing yourself and the weapons God has given you. This way you never fear the outcome of any battle.  The wise soldier of God will impose his will upon the enemy, but never allow the enemy’s will to be inflicted on him.

Righteousness   People rebel at the idea of being ‘righteous’, believing this means doing something because it is the right thing to do, something they ‘should’ do, not what they want to do.  This has never been a very big motivator for changing behavior.  Instead, Paul says (Romans 8:13) we renew our minds so we can live.  Drill instructors train recruits with the skills needed to stay alive. They are not concerned about cleaning your rifle for the sake of having the shiniest gun in the platoon, but so the weapon operates perfectly in battle, accomplishing the desired result of keeping the soldier alive.  For believers, to live we have to renew our minds according to God’s ways.  Righteousness is not a luxury but a necessity.

Truth   Facts are pesky things, as Ronald Reagan used to say.  They come face to face with our personally held opinions and theoddities and smack us up along the side the head.  The common perception regarding truth is that a person defines his or her own truth; i.e., truth is not discovered but it is constructed.  Yet personal opinions, regardless of sincerity, do not create truth nor does sincerity define truth.  Truth is that which corresponds to reality.  A person can believe something strongly and yet be wrong. We all know there is absolute truth – one plus one equals two, jump out of a plane without a parachute and you hit the ground, forget your anniversary and you’re toast. It seems the more we argue against absolute truth, the more we prove its existence. You cannot logically argue against the existence of absolute truth, for to argue against absolute truth is to establish that it exists; absolute truth is the basis of your argument. 

The reality of absolute truth requires a readiness on the part of Christ’s soldiers to defend His Word.  Readiness measures the ability of a military unit, such as an army division or a carrier battle group, to accomplish its assigned mission. Our national security requirements dictate that the armed forces must be prepared to defeat groups of adversaries at any given time. If you are first on the battlefield, waiting for the enemy, you will be fresh for the fight. However, if you are not prepared and have to rush to the battlefield, you will arrive exhausted, weak and vulnerable. The difference between victory and defeat is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, not a lack of will, but a lack of preparedness. Our mission is to be prepared to unashamedly defend the Truth with a captivating technique presented in an inoffensive manner.

“An overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, un-contentious, free from the love of money.  He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity, for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God? He must not be a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.  And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”  1Timothy 3:2-7 (Also Romans 2:17-24 & Titus)

We are professionals and we should live our lives in such a manner that people will have no reason to accuse us of evil and every reason to emulate us. When people in the world see us, do they want to be like us or are they repulsed by our lives, actions, habits, demeanor, appearance, behavior and performance, bringing shame on the name of Christ?  Are we so like the world, the differences so microscopic that we fit in easily, no one even knowing we serve the King of Kings?  Are we successes or failures in the skill of living?

An overseer is man who watches over the affairs of the church of God.  He’s a guardian and an inspector with his eye fixed on the goal or mark of the high calling of God.  Like an officer, he voluntarily and eagerly watches the troops, exercising oversight as an example to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3). Every man in the body of Christ should be an overseer. We are saints of God, professionals, whose lives should be an example to others.

We must be above reproach; nothing in our lives, past or present, can be used as an accusation that we have broken either the laws of God or the laws of the land. Past and present sins must be confessed and rectified. If the world sees us doing the same things they do, what right do we have to talk to them about sin and their need of a savior?

We must honor and obey the covenant of marriage.  Divorce rates among God’s people are no different than those of the world.  Is it any wonder why we have such a minimal effect on the world’s fall into debauchery, why they will not listen to our pious self-righteous soapbox oratory and why we lack the power of God in our lives?  God hates divorce and the church should be on her knees begging for God’s mercy.  As a professional soldier of God, we are commanded to keep our marriage vows pure and to hold our families intact.  We are the heads of our houses, which is not a right but a responsibility. And with the responsibility comes the duty to defend and protect our wives and children from the sin of divorce.  Anything less is an act of insubordination to our Commander and an admission of weakness in our character and our commitment to Jesus Christ.  

We must exhibit self-restraint and self-control of our emotions, desires and inclinations.  Everything we do in life should be well thought-out with careful attention to detail. We need to demonstrate common sense or, as Solomon taught in Proverbs, street smarts, using the wisdom and knowledge freely provided by God.  Rash decisions are not a characteristic of a professional.  Addictions, whether pleasures, possessions or pride, are nothing more than idols cleverly disguised as the necessities and rewards of life that draw us away from trusting God.  They have no place in the life of a professional.   

We must be respected by those in our circle of influence and have a good reputation outside of the church.  The story is told of a man sitting at a red light yelling obscenities to other drivers.  On the man’s car were bumper stickers calling people to Christ and extolling the virtues of the Christian life.  Another Christian witnessing the man’s tirade got out of his car, approached the man and told him to either change his lifestyle or take the bumper stickers off his car.  The same can be said about Christians who are lazy, unkempt, quarrelsome, prideful, untrustworthy, rude, heavy maintenance, complainers, lacking money skills, along with a whole host of other negative traits.  Professionals are esteemed and believed because people want to be with successful people. 

We must be mature and able to teach others as equippers and mentors.  Mature soldiers are concerned about the growth of other saints and not their own popularity or position.  We are trained to detect the presence of Satan and can discern between good and evil.  We are not taken in by every whim that enters the church and pay close attention to what we hear, not drifting away after strange fire.

We must display professionalism and successful living if we are to get people to even listen to the message of the Gospel.  The message of Christ is offensive enough; let’s not make it more offensive by living like whining, spoiled children who blaspheme the Name of God, twisting the truth to fit our own hurts, habits and hang-ups.

 

IV. WEAPONS

“Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the full armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:11-13

A weapon is a tool or instrument used with the aim of causing damage or harm (either physical or mental) to living beings or artificial structures and systems. Weapons, whether employed individually or collectively, are used to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of activities such as fighting, self-defense, law enforcement and war. Their form can range from simple implements such as clubs to complicated modern implementations like intercontinental ballistic missles and biological weapons. Weapon development has progressed from early wood or stone clubs through revolutions in metalworking (swords, arrow heads), gunpowder (rifles, bombs), laser guidance systems and nuclear technology.  In the most basic context, a weapon is anything used to gain a strategic, material or mental advantage over an adversary.

A special type of soldier requires a special set of weapons to get the job done.  From the days of Ancient Assyria and Rome to the streets of modern Baghdad and Kabul, the individual soldier is still the key element to the success of any military operation and his individual weapons throughout history have often meant the difference between battles won and lost, lives lost or spared. Armed with the latest in personal weapons and body armor, the soldier has always been an integral part of the battlefield since day one – charged with the duty to conquer or be conquered. From spear and bronze shield to automatic weapons and Kevlar, an army fights or retreats based on what these soldiers can do with the weapons they have at their disposal.   The professional Christian soldier is only as good as his equipment, training and weapons.

 

STAND

Many Christians have the wrong idea about spiritual warfare. They see the Christian army assaulting the kingdom of hell while on patrol against demons and spiritual enemies. Instead of picturing the army of the church seeking out and attacking some kind of demonic fortress, we are to fight the enemy as Jesus illustrated in His ministry. Christ didn’t patrol around, looking for demons to conquer. That would almost be allowing demons to set the agenda for His ministry. Instead, knowing what God the Father wanted Him to accomplish, Jesus set about doing it and dealt with satanic opposition when it dared to present itself. When satanic opposition was encountered, Jesus un-movingly stood against it. When we are living for God and doing His work, Satan will show up. God has called us to fulfill a mission, while Satan does his best to stop us. When he attacks and intimidates, we are to stand. We love energetic warriors who advance the Kingdom of God so vigorously that it shakes the councils of hell, but we don’t let principalities and powers set our agenda. We do the Lord’s work and stand against every indication of spiritual opposition. All in all, there is a lot of power in that little word, stand.  It means we are going to be attacked but we must never be frightened.  We are always being alert, watching for the enemy to attack and never retreating, fighting in an uncertain, half-hearted way. 

In the movie The Bourne Identity, Jason is seen sitting in a restaurant with Marie, unable to remember who he is or what he does.  But somehow he is able to tell Marie all the little incidentals about their surroundings, like where the exits are in case they need to leave in a hurry.  He can tell her the license plate numbers of the six cars in the parking lot.  He knows the waitress is left handed and the guy at the counter weighs 215 pounds and can handle himself.  He knows the truck outside is the best place to find a gun. Though Jason has no need of this information at the moment, in the future it will allow him to set the agenda, enter the fight prepared, and be the first on the battlefield.  For a soldier of God, Standing Firm is a weapon.

 

GIRD YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH

Girding up your loins meant tying up long, loose clothing so that walking, running or fighting could be accomplished without encumbrance.   This prevented the loose ends of the clothing from becoming snagged on something or entangled with your feet that would cause you to stumble or fall down. Paul is telling us to secure anything that will cause us to stumble or fall when engaging the enemy during Christian battle, always being alert and ready to respond with spiritual mobility and agility. 

“Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation for Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lust which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be HOLY, for I am HOLY.’”1 Peter 1:13-16

Girding our minds with truth is to surround or wrap our minds in God’s word.   Every good soldier knows that if he is going to remain stable and strong in battle he must be steeped in Truth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Truth of God and no soldier can engage in spiritual warfare with any advantage or prospect of success unless this is known and conscientiously believed; by this we know where our strength lies. We are to gird ourselves with truth against all false religion and the various winds of doctrine by which cunning men and insidious devils lie in wait to deceive.  By girding our minds with absolute truth, we will not be entangled and tripped up by humanism, relativism, secularism, liberalism, universalism, and all of man’s deceptive doctrines peddled as truth.  By this alone we discover who our enemies are, and how they come on to attack us.  Girding our minds with the truth of the Bible and displaying an attitude of readiness and genuine commitment, will enable an anointed soldier to use truth as a weapon in battle.

As we grid our minds with truth, answers for all of life’s problems will be found. God’s word will show you how to live, improve and insulate your marriage, be the best dad, businessman and friend.  You can handle money, defeat, fear, addiction, lust, anger and what will happen to you when you die.  For a soldier of God, Truth is a weapon.

 

PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

Humans throughout recorded history have used various types of materials as body armor to protect themselves from injury in combat and other dangerous situations. The first protective clothing and shields were made from animal skins. As civilizations became more advanced, wooden shields and then metal shields came into use. Eventually, metal was also used as body armor, what we now refer to as the suit of armor associated with the knights of the Middle Ages. In the 1970s, one of its most significant achievements in the development of body armor was the invention of Kevlar ballistic fabric.

Body armor is designed to protect users from cuts, abrasions and heat. Soldiers serving in every branch of the Armed forces have depended upon body armor and flak jackets to protect them from combat hazards, such as ballistic projectiles and explosive fragmentation. Flame resistant, military body armor and flak jackets offer superior protection against thermal blasts and fire.

Righteous means being equitable, characterized or exhibiting impartiality, fairness, or reason in judgment of treatment: by implication – holy or innocent.  A righteous soldier stands for uprightness and integrity of character, moral decency and reputation for fair dealing.  Righteousness affects what we do, but what we do does not make us righteous.  The breastplate of righteousness is not our own good works, integrity, honesty, Bible reading, prayer or church attendance. We must understand that righteousness is not something we do but something we are; righteousness received by faith in Jesus. It gives us a general sense of confidence, an awareness of our standing and position. The breastplate of righteousness is a soldier’s best defense against the sin of spiritual pride, a lack of integrity or some defect of character that will leave a man exposed to the assaults of the enemy. Just as a soldier’s flak jacket protects his heart, chest and inner vital organs from an enemy’s attacks, so holy and righteous living (Rom. 6:13; 14:17) guards a believer’s heart against the assaults of the devil. It defends our conscience from all the wounds inflicted by past sin and failures and also keeps us from the constant array of temptations and lust that desire to inflict more harm on us. The breastplate of righteousness will keep a soldier’s mind, heart and body clean, alert and strong, enabling him to uphold the honor and integrity of his professional calling and personal mission.  For a soldier of God, Righteousness is a weapon.

SHOD YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE

The foot is an anatomical structure and the terminal portion of the leg that bears weight and allows locomotion. The human foot and ankle is a strong and complex mechanical structure containing more than 26 bones, 33 joints (20 of which are actively articulated), and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Shoes are designed to make the foot optimally functional. 

Humans usually wear shoes or similar footwear for protection from hazards when walking outside. Shoes have been around for so long that we take them for granted. What would you have done to stop the pain and damage to the bottom of your feet if you had to hunt for food, plow a field or defend your property in your bare feet? Imagine how that must have hurt. So sooner than later someone came up with the idea of covering the feet with animal hide to protect his or her feet. Shoes, in some form or another, have been around for a very long time. The evolution of foot coverings, from the sandal to present-day athletic shoes that are marvels of engineering, continues even today as we find new materials with which to cover our feet.

The military success of Alexander the Great was due in large measure to his army being well shod and thus able to undertake long marches at incredible speed over rough terrain at a moments notice. The modern military boot, often specialized for certain climates and conditions, is a multifunctional, multi-theater footwear system that will afford the soldier protection and added capability in conditions ranging from minus 20 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Combat boots, designed for rugged terrain with ankle stability and support, traction grip soles and superior protection, are worn by soldiers during training, reconnaissance and battle.  The military boot’s outstanding worth is the readiness it affords the soldier to move directly into combat, prepared to fight.

The phrase ‘having your feet shod’ means “putting shoe leather to our faith.” It is a call to action. These shoes are designed for active spiritual combat.  Preparation signifies a base or foundation; a firm and solid knowledge of the Word of God that makes known the only peace that can be obtained between God and man is through Jesus Christ. The gospel of peace is what the Christian soldier is to set his foot upon, and to stand fast on; as the shoe is to the foot. Obedience to Christ demands a constant and firm standing in the Gospel, striving and contending for it without being moved. A trained soldier puts on his shoes before the battle, not during. Because we are already on enemy turf, we should be doing our homework. In 1 Peter 3:15, Peter admonishes us to “…always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.”  This implies that we have already gone through the training and are prepared. The Christian soldier is to promote the gospel of peace and to meet the attacks of the enemy with a concise, thoughtful and ready defense.  Peace is obtained through strength. Putting on these shoes does not mean you are going to escape warfare, for peace is not passive, but powerful. Peace and fear are opposites.  For a soldier of God, Preparation is a weapon.

 

TAKING UP THE SHIELD OF FAITH

Down through the ages, many objects have been used as shields; trees, rocks, wagons, doors, walls, dead horses and other people to name a few.  The goal and purpose has always been the same – to protect against an enemy intent on hurting, maiming or killing.  During Operation Iraqi Freedom, we were introduced to the mother of all shields, the Patriot Missile System, a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defense system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft, using an aerial interceptor missile and high performance radar system. The Patriot was designed with four major operational functions: communications, command and control, radar surveillance, and missile guidance. These four functions combine to provide a coordinated, secure and integrated air defense system.  Modular and highly mobile, the Patriot’s ultimate function is to shield soldiers and allies on the ground anywhere it is needed in the world.

Up until now, Paul’s description of the armor of God has been limited to items we wear. We put on the belt, the breastplate and the shoes, and they essentially hold themselves up. The shield is different.  A soldier must pick it up and hold it in front of his body. Just strapping it to our arm won’t do any good at all if we don’t make the effort to hold it aloft and use it.  Just pointing the Patriot toward the sky will do no good unless a soldier has faith in the system and knows how to use it.  So it is with the shield of faith.

Faith involves a huge element of trust founded on the promises of God. We must examine the evidence and see that God has proved Himself to be unchanging and consistent; firmly believing that He will fulfill His promises to us.  In order for us to trust someone, the person must exhibit two qualities.  First he has to exist (be a real person) and secondly he must be trustworthy (he has proven that he will do what he says).  In the same fashion, to have trust/faith in God, He has to exist (be a reality) and He has proven that His promises are true (either personally or through His word).  Nowhere is scripture are we admonished to take a leap of blind faith; this is not Biblical faith but simply wishful thinking.  Instead we are called to step into the light and see things as they really are, not what we want them to be.  We believe because God is real.  The great joy of Christian faith is found in the Person Who invites us to trust and believe Jesus.  Biblical faith is active trust, based on knowledge and grounded in evidence.

The shield of faith guards us during satanic attacks of unbelief. While a physical shield protects our bodies, faith can protect our spiritual lives as we are encouraged by reading the Bible (Romans 10:17).  God has communicated His word to enable His army to have a coordinated defense against Satan’s schemes and lies.

The shield of faith deflects the satanic attacks of fear, doubt and worry.   The only time they can hit us is when we let our shield down—when we stop believing that God is in control.  Being in command of our lives, He is working everything out for our good; defeating the spiritual forces of wickedness and bringing security to our lives.

The shield of faith is the first line of defense for the Christian soldier. Faith gives us spiritual radar so we can know the activities of the forces of darkness before they happen.  God’s army can never be taken by surprise, always holding the high ground, detecting the enemy’s position and movements, thereby launching an offensive assault at lightening speed against an unsuspecting foe. 

The shield of faith can incapacitate Satan and his minions. When Satan was tempting Christ, His faith in the word and commands of God repelled Satan (Matthew 4). Our faith in God, as demonstrated by Christ, will give Satan a good shove backwards, giving us the power and confidence to fight back against temptation and sin. God tells us that faith cannot just be in our minds, it must produce action, through obedience.  For a soldier of God, Faith is a weapon.

 

THE HELMET OF SALVATION

A helmet is a type of personal protection designed specifically to guard the head against harm and injury.  Football players, polo players, motorcyclists and children on roller blades wear helmets, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In a Calvin and Hobbs cartoon, the toy tiger wears a saucepan on his head during a make-believe battle with Calvin’s archenemy – a girl.  Even a simple baseball cap can be a helmet when a flock of pigeons fly overhead. 

In the heat of battle, a soldier cannot keep his head down or run to the barracks and hide out until the smoke clears; he must face the enemy and return fire with precision and accuracy. Therefore, the professional soldier depends upon his helmet to protect his head against projectiles, shrapnel and exploding devises, all things that can penetrate his brain and cause death, as he engages the enemy and takes aim.

When we come to Christ we are saved from the terrible consequences of sin. But we still must put up with the sinful flesh we live with everyday and the doubts that may arise in our minds about what Christ has done. Our enemy hates that we have chosen this path and will stop at nothing to destroy us because of it. Satan will tempt us to give up, quit, lose hope, and sin, all things that penetrate our minds and bring eternal death. 

In the battle against sin, the helmet protects the soldier’s vital but vulnerable head from otherwise fatal blows and his thoughts from the enemy’s attacks and temptations to disobey God. It is this helmet that guards our minds from the improvised explosive devices Satan sets to steal our joy and hope that protects our minds from the discouragement, despair and deception in this world.

The helmet of salvation enables us to take the eternal view of spiritual warfare and to maintain total confidence in victory, no matter how long the battle may seem to last here on earth. We have a salvation that is certain and eternal, a salvation that cannot be defeated. There is absolutely no room for discouragement when you realize who you are and that Christ paid the full price for your redemption. For years the church has abandoned the field of battle and taken refuge inside the walls of the church choosing monasticism instead of engaging the enemy in the public arena.  All the while we have been in hiding; the enemy has raped, looted, and plundered the world in the public square of ideas.  Now we find the secularists, humanists and relativists surrounding the church and breaking down the doors.

We have been redeemed, we have been paid for, we are no longer our own. Put on your helmet and protect your mind from the weapons of satanic conformity. For a soldier of God, the Helmet of Salvation is a weapon.

 

THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, THE WORD OF GOD

The Romans were known as the army with “the sword that conquered the world.” The prowess of the sword in close range combat made it a fearsome tool in the hand of a skilled Roman warrior. Its dual edges wreaked havoc on foes, while its tapered point could pierce through even heavy metal armor.

The sword of the Spirit is the only weapon listed by Paul that serves in an offensive capacity; without our sword, we are nothing more than heavily armored moving targets.  Our sword, the word of God, has an edge and a point which cuts through all the cleverness of errant human theologies, and lays bare the thoughts and intents of the heart of man. To be a Christian is to be a warrior in a hostile battlefield; our profession is war. The enemy is too near for anything but hand-to-hand combat so we must know the word, use the word and engage our adversary with the word wherever he dares to appear. As soldiers in God’s army, it is our responsibility and duty to use His Word to discern the truth, defeat the powers of evil and to cut through every defense our enemy can raise. The Bible trained soldier of Jesus Christ must expect to face conflict in this world – it is a battlefield. Neither should he seek the friendship of the world; for that would be enmity against God.  If the word of God dwells in us richly, in all wisdom, and if we do not dull the edge of the sword by our own ineptitude, we can be sure it will pierce the enemy’s armor, stop the advance of false beliefs, and rescue us from sin and temptation. The evil within us will shrivel up and die and be transformed into light. The one thing that remains absolutely clear from Paul’s word is the order to take our swords.  God’s order is to be obeyed – take up the sword.  No soldier of God can count himself worthy of conscription unless with courage and valor he takes up the sword.   For a soldier of God, the Sword of the Spirit is the ultimate weapon.

 

V.  TRAINING

Being a man and a soldier of God is reason to be proud, something to celebrate. For decades, real men have been considered superfluous and out-dated, Neanderthal chauvinists.  Admitting sexism through acquiesce of guilt, men were expected to commit masculine suicide to atone for centuries of unspecified gender crimes. But pay no attention to the liberal, social engineers who have tried to force men to fit into a feminist policy so radical and unnatural that no real man would legitimize its existence. Cheer for your male gender and take pride in being a man.

Let that pride burn within our hearts. Our ancestors included great warriors, great leaders and great teachers.  Men like Eisenhower, Lincoln and King David give us a justification to be proud. Real men of God have a deep need for adventure and conquest, not as an option but as a deep-seated trait. Tell us we are unnecessary and we will remind you of men like Ronald Reagan, Christopher Columbus and the Tuskegee Airmen; men who endeavored to build greater cities, greater countries and greater civilizations, always striving to create a better world for all people. 

Men of God live by an honor code, holding respect and chivalry as equal values. We will hold a door for a woman, offer our seat to a woman and stand when a woman joins our table in a restaurant.  Men are custom-made by God to be providers, protectors and producers, who, from the beginning of time, have been called by God to labor and care for their wives and children.  We are more involved in raising our children and bringing stability to our homes today, than ever before, all the while upholding the manly virtues of physical courage, stoicism, toughness and masculinity. Tell us that men are outmoded when you need your furnace cleaned, your child is drowning, a purse-snatcher needs tackling or a single mother needs help moving. Do not be afraid to pat yourself on the back. You bring home the bacon and expect nothing more than the respect of your family. Straighten your shoulders and stop apologizing for existing. We need to remember who we are and be proud of the wars we have won, the nations we have saved and the people we have liberated. We have fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers we endeavor to emulate. It’s still a glorious thing to be a man.  

It is clear from God’s word that our defense and conquest can only be obtained by sheer fighting. Yet many in the church and pulpits have thrown up the flag of truce, compromising the word of God, not wanting to be considered divisive or intolerant even though Christ admonishes us to be just that.  But if you are a true Christian man, you can never accept compromise, for the proposal of concession does not resonate with the battle plan for a soldier of God. The adversary understands the art of equivocation; but soldiers abhor it. If we seek peace through cooperation with the world’s philosophies, we are going down a road from which we shall return in disgrace, if we return at all. We have never been ordered by God to offer a truce or to get as good of terms as we can. Let’s not be lulled into thinking that if we move toward the middle, the world will abandon some of her positions and meet us half way, as though sin will become more acceptable and tolerable.  If we compromise with sin, it will not become less atrocious or seemingly more congenial and user friendly.  These are not the marching orders we have received from God.  He tells us that friendship with the world is hostility toward Him and whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  We cannot have it both ways.  Either we chose to have the Lord’s fiery jealousy flaming for us or we will have His fiery wrath burning against us.  As Joshua declared, ‘Choose today whom you will serve’.  We will never win the war if we end our fight and try to be agreeable with the enemies of God. We cannot be silent, hoping to win the battle by accident and evasion. Our orders from God are clear; take up our swords and fight.  

God transforms us by His power and His Spirit. Apart from God’s grace, there is no transformation, there is no forgiveness and there is no way to be holy. Our transformation begins at the cross. We confess our sins and surrender every part of our lives to Him and He redeems us from the inside out. We can’t cling to our old lives and still be submitting to God for redemption, there must first be yielding.  We have a view of this process in Exodus 33.

Training Strategy #1 – If we expect God to bless our warfare, we must cleanse the sin from our lives so His presence will go before us into battle.  After the people sinned by worshipping the golden calf in chapter 32, God sent His people into the Promised Land.  Ahead of them He would send an angel to clear the way, but He, Himself would not go with them; His presence would not be with the Israelites (v. 3).   Their sin had caused a separation between God and His people.  Even though they would see some success, without God’s daily presence in their lives, the long term victory would be impossible.  When we try to battle for God with sin in our lives, we will win a few scrimmages, yet struggle everyday in our attempt to win the war.  And like the Israelites, it is imperative we ask for God’s forgiveness, seek repentance and “…cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8).

Training Strategy #2 – Accept God’s discipline, for, like a seasoned combat veteran, He will correct those areas in our lives that comprise our strengths and abilities and make us weak and vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks.  With God’s discipline, we will survive.  The Israelite children realized how their sin had compromised their chance for victory and, “…they went into mourning…” (v.4)   When we mourn for our sins, we willing place ourselves in the position to receive God’s discipline, “…that we may share His holiness.”  (Hebrews 12:10)

Training Strategy #3 – Strip off your masks to reveal the authentic you underneath, stop wearing costumes, pretending to play some role that’s really not you and let God put together all the facets of what makes you whole, becoming the soldier He meant for you to be. In verse 5, God told Moses to tell the people to, “…put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I will do with you.”  The people were not the same on the inside as they looked on the outside.  Their ornaments masked who they really were; on the outside they were all dressed up, but on the inside they were all messed up.  We all wear masks. One reason for wearing a mask is to pretend to be someone or something else. It may convey our genuine happiness to other people to make them laugh, or it may disguise or hide our real emotions, such as loneliness or fear. A mask may be used to change one’s identity, to transform one into a new character, or to hide one’s identity, to protect one from being hurt. Because we cannot fool God, for He knows who we are, we must strip off our masks and stand naked before God, so we can see ourselves as He sees us.  Removing the fig leaves frees us to be ourselves and to own our experiences, so we can face reality, be transformed and live victoriously. 

Training Strategy #4 – Separate ourselves from the world and its works, worship God with a pure and humble heart and God will speak to us “…as His friend.”  We will learn His will for our lives and be equipped for battle.  The tent of meeting, where Moses would go to seek God, was pitched, “…outside the camp, a good distance from the camp…” away from the people (v.7).  Here, “…the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face…” (v.11).   The place where God met with Moses was set apart and holy, consecrated to the worship of Jehovah.  This pleased God and He would talk to Moses as a man speaks to his friend. A face to face relationship with God requires a separation from the world.

Training Strategy #5 – Learn to wait for God and let Him put His plans into action for our lives.  King David, known for having the heart of God, knew what it meant to wait.  He admonishes us in Psalms 27:14 – “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage.”  Waiting for God will make you strong and give you the courage to face the battle. When Moses would leave the tent of meeting, Joshua his servant would, “…not depart from the tent.” (v.11)  Joshua saw how God anointed Moses to display His power, to lead the people and defeat His enemies.  He was willing to wait on God to receive his marching orders.

Training Strategy #6 – Spend time with God and learn Who He is.  When you know the mind of your Commander, trust will replace doubt, faith will replace fear, and loyalty will replace sedition.  Instead of saber rattling, your “…weapons will be divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses”. (1 Cor. 10:4)  The LORD showed favor to Moses, which encouraged him to ask, “…let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee…” (v.13) “…show me Thy glory!” (v.18)  So God passed by Moses as he hid his face in the rock and Moses was shown the nature and character of God. (34:5-7) Then he revered and worshipped God, understanding better the One he served for his eyes were opened.  Stop believing what you think about God and get to know Him personally.

 

 VI.  PersonalityWho are you?

You are unique and understanding your personality will open up a whole new world.  You will find your areas of strengths and weaknesses which is a big step in growing up.  Immature people blame their parents, mates, children, friends, circumstances for why they have not become what they had hoped to be.  A mature person examines himself, accentuates his positives and eliminates his negatives.

Though there are many derivatives of personality types, every person falls into one of four different categories – Sanguine, Melancholy, Choleric and Phlegmatic.

Sanguine personalities are the life of the party, emotional, expressive, enthusiastic and appealing.  They love to think up new activities that are colorful and creative and can inspire others to join in.  Thriving on compliments, a sanguine is a people person who makes friends easily, loves people, makes life fun and prevents dull moments.  As weaknesses, a sanguine, while they have good intentions, seldom follows through on any given plan.  They tend to talk to much, are self-centered narcissists, have uncultivated memories, are disorganized and immature.  While a sanguine is often the one voted ‘Most Likely to Succeed,’ they seldom cross the finish line.

Deep, thoughtful and analytical describes a Melancholy personality.  If you are a melancholy you are genius prone, talented, artistic, detailed and idealistic.  As friends, melancholies are faithful and devoted, willing to listen with a deep concern for other people.  Being schedule oriented and perfectionists, they love charts, graphs, figures and lists.  On the downside, melancholies are easily depressed, have low self-esteem, like to procrastinate and put unrealistic demands on others. They tend to worry excessively.

If you are a Choleric you are a born leader who is dynamic, strong willed, decisive, independent; you can run anything.  A choleric conveys confidence and thrives on opposition as they motivate others to action by setting goals, seeking practical solutions and facing problems head-on.  They are usually right, must correct wrongs and excel in emergencies.  The choleric Achilles’ heel is their need to be in control.  They are compulsive workers and expect everyone in their sphere to follow suit.  Being abrasive, unsympathetic and impatient does not endear them to others; though they are right most of the time, they are unpopular.  Most terrorists and people on death row are choleric.

If you need someone who is easygoing, relaxed, calm, cool, and collected, then a Phlegmatic is your person.  A phlegmatic personality makes you an all-purpose person sought after by others.  They are good listeners, competent, peaceful, avoiding conflicts and faithful, traits that explain the reason for their many friends.  The phlegmatic has low-key weaknesses.  They don’t have temper tantrums, sink into depressions or get excited.  They resist change, appear lazy, procrastinate and display a Jekyll and Hyde persona; when pushed, they will plant their feet like a stubborn mule. 

 

 

 

 

 

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