Robert Madu said, “Approval from heaven doesn’t absolve us from battle. Battle comes because heaven approves.” Jesus went straight from His baptism into the wilderness to battle with the devil. Why should it be any different from the Sons of Valor?
Your battle may come from anywhere. The people around you fall apart. You watch your son suffer through physical, spiritual, and emotional pain. Your Beauty faces threats to her appearance from injury or illness. Expectations at work rise. Resources disappear. The voices of the world drown out our Father’s voice.
When we reclaim lost ground, the enemy will counter. The attack will come. Peter gives us directions, as a captain telling his troops as they go out into the battlefield (I Peter 5:8,9)
Be alert(vigilant) and of sober mind (reflective, thoughtful). Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.
This week, we look back to before the Outpost. We start with the beginning of a story, a reminder of where you were before Jesus set you free.
Remember, the devil doesn’t care about what happens to your job, your family, or you. As Job found out, the enemy’s goal is to get us to curse God. To doubt our Father. To live in the lie rather than stand in the truth.
Resist him, Sons of Valor.
Stand firm, my brothers.
Strength and Honor, Paul
Knowing the path
I opened my eyes. Not that it mattered. The view was the same whether my eyes were open or closed. The clank of the chains echoed in the cavern as I shifted my weight. Every day, it was the same. I never knew if my eyes were opened or closed until they lit the fire. Every morning, I worried I had gone blind.
Then the fire blazed behind me, sending a yellowish orange light flickering onto the wall in front of me. This was my world. Cold rock wall behind my back. Chains around my wrists, ankles and waist held me in place. All I could see was the shimmering glow in front of me.
Soon figures began crossing between me and the fire, casting weird, distorted shadows onto the wall. Well, now I know they are shadows. Back then, I thought it was real. That’s a horse, dancing in the light of the flames. And then a woman, carrying a jar of water. It was hard to get a clear picture with the images constantly shifting, moving, and changing in the dancing light.
And the sounds. Everything merged together into chaos echoing off the walls of the cave. Nothing I could understand, but the cow shadow had a low groaning sound. Fast moving children shadows giggled and shouted, so loud my ears might bleed.
I stared at the wall, transfixed by the twirling images before my eyes. My ears strained to hear every sound. I awoke with eager anticipation of the light coming on, and dreaded the moment when the fire died, and I was alone in the silence. In the dark.
As I said, this was my world. This was my normal. This was my life. It was all I ever knew, so it’s all I ever thought there was. Until He came.
Walking the path
Questions to ponder:
The story is the opening, an introduction to the Matrix. You were blind, in chains, and had a sense there was more to this life than you were experiencing.
What names did the world give you? What reality did you call normal?
After taking the red pill, what name has God given you? What role is only yours to play?
Where are your doubts the strongest?
What are practical steps you can take to be alert and have a sober mind?