31 Mar The Making of a Warrior
The Conditions of our hearts
When I think of warriors in the bible, I can’t help but to focus on the book of Judges, where God raised up mighty men and women to do the impossible. We can also look at Abraham, who fought four kings and won. Moses caused plagues to cover the land of Egypt with the staff that he held in his hand. Samson slew 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey, and a young David killed Goliath with a stone. These stories should be inspiring to us, because it was not in the strength of these men that giants were slain, kings were defeated, and the Israelites set free from oppression, but it was because of God Almighty Himself. He wanted each of them to trust in Him and not in other gods, people, or themselves. To be a mighty warrior, we must set down the vices that can keep us from winning a battle, tearing down strongholds, and bring freedom to the oppressed. Gideon was one of those mighty warriors, but when He was told by the Angel of the Lord how God saw him, his response can be like many of us today. The three things that nearly held Gideon back from being the warrior God had called him to be was his past, his weakness, and his doubt.
“Gideon said, to Him, “O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
The Angel of the Lord in verse 12 said to Gideon, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
It seems with these encouraging words that Gideon would have been excited to know that God was still with him and that he was thought to be a man of great courage. But Gideon brought up his past as an example of God not being with them. They had been oppressed for seven years by the Midianites, hiding and living in fear, how could God have been with them? Have you ever asked this question? Has your past been a stark revelation of the sin that can so easily entangle you? The condemnation of our past can keep us from moving forward.
It is moments like this that we find ourselves wallowing in our sorrows. When God has given us hope, and we begin to reminisce on our past instead of rejoicing that we hear the triumph voice of our Savior. The condition of our heart is not ready to receive the message because we have focused too much on our circumstances instead of keeping our eyes on Jesus no matter the cost.
Trials will arise; rather, they are of our own doing, because of others, or the attack of the enemy. What we need to remember is that we must trust God in all circumstances, to stay in His presence and when the day comes when He speaks, we can confidently walk in the assurance of what He has spoken. We will leave the past behind and thank God that He has heard our cry and will deliver us.
As leaders and entrepreneurs, searching for direction and wisdom, we cannot get caught up in our past mistakes or even focus on why God may have allowed hardships and tribulations. What we can do is trust in what God is saying now and know His every plan for us is for our good.
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
So he said to Him, “O [d]my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
And the Lord said to him, “Surely, I will be with you, and you shall [e]defeat the Midianites as one man.”
Gideon saw himself as the weakest and the least. His identity was in his own strength and not the Lord. He saw himself as the one who hides from the enemy, not one who takes upon his sword and shield and heads into battle.
How often do we think this way of ourselves? Is your heart conditioned to think the worse of your abilities? Do you see yourself as the least and weakest among the many talented people around you? Then I hope that this verse encourages you, “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
When we are weak, it gives us every opportunity to lean on God and to trust Him, to be humble, and cry out for help. Maybe like the Israelites, you have called out for help, and God has answered you. He has given you a better position at work, expanded your business, or open up doors for you to open your very own company. This is not the time to shrink back in fear, to hide, or be scared to speak up. Instead, see this as an opportunity to step out in faith. It is during these moments we must remember where our help and strength derive.
We have to let humility become the very essence of our being. The Lord calls us into places because of the conditions of our hearts. We must live our lives knowing that nothing good comes from us and that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of shifting.” – James 1:17
Your knowledge, skills, every good gift is from God, so there is no reason we should boast in ourselves, but we should “boast in the Lord.” –1 Corinthians 1:31
So, it is not in our strength that plans will be accomplished, deadlines met, businesses open, funds arise. It is because of the mighty power and gift from our Father in heaven. Knowing that you don’t have to do it in your own strength should bring you freedom. It should release you from the bondage of comparing yourself with others. It will irradicate the thoughts and feelings of being the weakest and the least because you will know that being weak is genuinely an opportunity to lean on God.
It is easier to settle into insecurities, doubts, and the inabilities of our human nature than to trust in the Almighty God. Why? Because we find ourselves wanting to handle things in our own strength. We want to be in control, but God knows that we cannot conquer giants, defeat the foes, understand the outcomes without His assistance.
Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here; I pray until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” –Judges 6: 17-18
“So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.” Judges 6: 36-40
Have you ever asked God for a sign? Lord, reveal to me this is the right business partner by doing… or Lord if you want me to open a business do this…
Gideon was afraid. He had shown this disposition when we first saw him hiding in the winepress threshing wheat. We hear it in his answer to God when Gideon says who he believes himself to be. He saw himself as weak and the least. We see his fear of man when Gideon decides to destroy the altar of Baal at night instead of broad daylight. He was afraid of what the people would do to him. Gideon had doubt. He needed to know that God was for him. I can easily say, why didn’t Gideon believe when the Angel of the Lord spoke to him, but I have to say I have those moments myself, and that is why I am grateful for a patient God. A God who is willing to love and wait on us as He reveals the condition of our hearts to us. What I love about the laying out of the fleece is that it shows us that we serve a God who is patient with us. When we are genuinely trying to understand His will for us, He is willing to walk alongside us. We can ask for signs, but I would say just seek Jesus, and I am sure the signs will come.
There will be times when we are afraid. When we know that what God is asking us to do is beyond our strength. God knows our hearts and understands our fears. He is willing to walk with us through our hurtful past, our weaknesses, and our doubts, but there will need to be a time when we stop questioning the calling and start believing and trusting in the Lord. The making of a warrior can look messy. Gideon did not come with a heart full of courage; he actually was filled with fear, but a warrior is made by God and God alone.