If you look back on your life, you can see the truth of this statement by Dallas Willard. For many of us, the story of our hearts includes wounding from men who misused the power God gave them. And, as a snowball rolling down the hill, gaining mass and speed, we brought harm to those we should have protected. The shame and guilt from the past (and present) make us feel like we are facing an avalanche--overwhelmed, smothered, and helpless.
You walked away from the Outpost feeling strong, powerful. Your warrior heart was awake and alive. How brightly is the fire burning today? Do you still carry the big vision that blazed in your heart? Or is it flickering like a candle, in danger of going out?
We constantly find ourselves in a gap. Between what we expect and what we experience. Between where we were and where we want to be. Between what we know and what we walk.
You're not alone in the gap. In Romans 7, Paul struggles in the middle:
"I don't understand my own actions. I do what I don't want to do, the very thing I hate...I have the desire to do good, but not the ability to carry it out. I do not do the good I want, but keep doing the evil I don't want to do." (My own paraphrase of verses 14-19)
If Paul struggled, how much more will we?
Every day, we have to come back to the cross. "For there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom 8:1). Every day, we must reject the lies of the flesh, and cling to the truth God has proclaimed over us. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31).
Stand in the gap. Celebrate the victories, great and small. Fix your eyes on Jesus as you take one step at a time towards Him. Live in the glory of the grace that surrounds you, that fills you and welcomes you home.
Matthew 25:21 - His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!"
We are in the gap - the one between when Christ came, and when He will return. One day, those words will be spoken over your life. This week, read them, accept them, and let them be the avalanche that washes over your soul.
Knowing the Path
Back to the Battle
by Tommy Nifong
Spartans! What is your profession?!
The drums of war are sounding...
We stood together in training; first deciding to fight, and then learning how. We put on our armor, picked up our weapons, and shouted our victory for all to hear! A battle loomed before us, but our God is far greater than our enemy - we welcomed war!
Now that we’re back in the Matrix with our eyes opened, why is it so hard to see the battle for what it is? Why does it still seem to catch us off guard?
We come home to our Beauty and yell at the kids.
The thought of another woman still tempts us.
That beer beckons us to drink just one more.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it were only one or two struggles, but it seems like the longer we’re here, the stronger the battle becomes. The harder it is to stand on the same two feet that previously saw through the lies of the Enemy…
We were so confident - what happened?
Morpheus told Neo he had the ability to fight with great power. Although Neo knew he was capable, he struggled to apply the truth. He absorbed himself in training, but it was only through being tested in battle that his unlimited power was unleashed!
Knowledge does not turn to wisdom until it has been tested. Scripture speaks of this in many places, but a favorite scripture helps us to know where to start: Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...”
If wisdom has a beginning, then it is something that grows with further understanding and application. Proverbs 2:2 gives us further insight into this first step of wisdom, “... indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
In the middle of the battle, and hit with blow after blow, you may feel alone, frustrated, and helpless. But Neo wasn’t alone as he learned to fight and neither are you! Your platoon, your band of brothers, fights beside you. You have your weapons and armor to wield. You have God on your side - all you have to do is call out for His insight, placing real value in His response, and gain the wisdom and experience to fight as warriors!
So turn to your brothers in honesty, turn to Scripture and your notes from the Outpost. In them you will find wisdom, but you must truly hunt because it is a hidden treasure, only found when searching in earnest. Turn to God for strength, peace, and grace. Give your sin, your sorrow, and your fear to God, and stand once more - a fully armed Son of Valor. Not just defending, but taking the attack to the enemy!
Spartans! What is your profession?!
Walking the Path
How have others used God's power against you?
What are you doing with the power God has given you?
What's not working in your life? Where do you feel that gap between what you expect and what you experience?
Where do you feel alone? Frustrated? Helpless? Under attack?
Where do you feel strong? Bold? Courageous? Victorious?