Flow or Fight?

Sometimes you are in the flow.  Sometimes you are in the fight.

A few months ago, I was in the flow.  Thoughts and ideas for writing and sermons were coming effortlessly.  I filled pages of my Moleskine notebook with seeds that I fully intended to turn into moving blog posts or stirring sermons.

Well, the flow ended.  Welcome to the fight!  Now I look at that list and rather than seeing seeds that simply need planted, watered, and fertilized, I see a bunch of weights that have to be carried up a thousand flights of stairs (at least that is how it feels).  Every post, every illustration, and every creative thought has to be worked out with much effort and is accompanied by little enthusiasm.

I think it is quite obvious by now that this post was born in the fight.

This is how life goes though.  Sometimes you are in the flow.  Sometimes you are in the fight.

Photo by s.schmitz

 

Some days you are on the mountain.  Some days you are in the valley.

Some days you have it all under your belt.  Some days your belt breaks. (Speaking of belts breaking, Thanksgiving is right around the corner!)

Some days you have it all under control.  Some days you lose control and remember to give it back to Him.

Whatever someday you are in today, remember these words:

This too shall pass.  – Many Smart People Over the Years

 Mountains are followed by valleys.  Valleys are followed by mountains.

Victory isn’t in the flow and it isn’t in the fight.  Victory is in the faithfulness.  Don’t give up.

One Generation From Extinction

Former President Ronald Reagan on Freedom:  “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

There is quite a bit packed into those three sentences!  Each generation enjoys the fruits of the generation preceding them, yet each generation must determine the value of that fruit and the cost of its seed if it is to last.  This is not just true of freedom, it is also true of the Truth.

Photo by psychbird

Just like freedom, Truth is always one generation from extinction!  (Caveat: Truth will prevail and God will always have a Church, I am applying this to a particular group whether that be church, family, etc.) 

There were 10 generation from Adam to Noah (Genesis 5).  However, there was only 1 living generation separating the two!  Noah’s father, Lamech, would have been 58 when Adam died.  It is very likely that Noah’s father spent time with the man who walked in the garden with God.  Afterall, Adam was his Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather.  Yet one (living) generation later, Noah is the only man found righteous in God’s eyes!

Judges 2:7,10  “And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that he did for Israel… and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”

This is another startling example!  The generation of elders had witnessed all the miracles.  They were there when God made passage through the Jordan River.  They were there when the Jericho walls came crashing down.  They were there when Joshua prayed and the sun stood still.  But the generation after them did not personally know of these great miracles, let alone the God who did them.

We must diligently pass this Truth on to the next generation! (Deut. 6)

I Can’t Come Down

The incredible work of Nehemiah and the remnant of Israel in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem has been playing over in my head the last couple of weeks.  This is just such an amazing moment in history!  What these people accomplished is hard to believe, especially when you consider the circumstances they faced and the conditions of their environment. 

Photo By Ben Cooper

Once the rebuilding of the wall commenced, the enemy (in this case Sanballat) began to resist the work.  Three times we read, “when Sanballat heard [that I had builded the wall].”  And every time that Sanballat saw the work grow closer to completion, he stepped up his attack.

The first thing Sanballat did was mock Nehemiah.  

“Look at these crazy people!  Do they really think that they are going to revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?”  “Even if a little fox tried to walk on that wall, it would fall apart!” (paraphrase)

When mocking didn’t work, Sanballat threatened Nehemiah.

“And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.”

When mocking and threatening didn’t work Sanballat goes to his last weapon; he will attempt to get Nehemiah to compromise.

Sanballat sends word for Nehemiah to come and meet him in a village in the plain of Ono.  Look it up, ‘Ono’ means compromise.  The enemy knows that if making fun of you, threatening you, and fighting you won’t work, he still has a chance if he can get you to compromise.

I love Nehemiah’s response.

“I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down”

The Power Of The Third Response

Imagine.

You in a strange city.  After parting company with your companions you begin to make your way back to your car.  After a couple of blocks you begin to realize that you don’t recognize anything and you begin to wonder if you have lost your way.  You pull out your phone to try to pull up a map and realize that your battery is dead.  Wonderful!  You are lost in a strange city after dark with no phone and no help.  And that is when you notice that you are being followed. 

At first you try to convince yourself that it is all in your head.  You make several strange turns to see of your pursuer will follow and he remains relentless.  Your breathing quickens, your palms sweat, your heart beats in your throat.  What now?

Fight or Flight?

This is the term used to describe the bodies preparation to deal with a stressful or potentially dangerous situation.  When backed into a corner, your body prepares to fight or to run.

We often find ourselves in spiritual battles in which we feel we are left with these two options.  We can fight or we can flee.  Sometimes fighting is right.  Sometimes fleeing is right.  But when backed into a corner by the enemy of your soul or by life’s difficult circumstances, there is a third option.

Stand!

Everything in us wants to take the situation into our own hands.  We want to roll up our sleves and fight our own battles.  We want to turn tail and run.  God says, “Stand.”

2 Chronicles 20:17 “Ye shall not [need] to fight in this [battle]: set yourselves, stand ye [still], and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD [will be] with you.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Warriors of Morning

In Romans 13 Paul gives a peculiar exhortation in anticipation of the coming salvation.  Listen to what he said.

knowing the time, that now  it is  high time to awake out of sleep: for now  is  our salvation nearer than when we believed.”

No surprises yet.  Paul understood that the great temptation of the Church and the great triumph of the enemy is sleep.  This, of course, is not speaking of physical sleep but spiritual sleep.  And, spiritually speaking, no one who hits the snooze button when that day comes will awake to their salvation.

Paul continues…

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness,…”

Again, no surprise here.  The lights are getting ready to come on, don’t get caught with the darkness in broad daylight!  Cast the darkness off!

“…and let us put on the armour of light.

Now this is what I didn’t really expect.  “It is almost day!” Paul says, “Your salvation is almost here.  It is almost over!”

But he doesn’t say, “Put on your wedding garments.”

He doesn’t say, “Put on your white robe.”

He says, “Put on your armor!”

This tells me that the morning is not the time to stop fighting.  Just because we are close is no excuse to pack our bags and wait for our grand exit.  Whether you feel like it is impossible to win or impossible to lose, play until the last second ticks off the clock.

This was a popular theme with Paul.  He did not relish too long in any victory or sulk too long in any defeat.  He was constantly pressing forward.

Put on you armor!

Be a Warrior of Morning!

Epic

I love epic tales of adventure; stories full of trials, struggles, battles, victories, defeats, and triumph.  I am easily caught up in classic epics like Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, and yes, even Star Wars!  Stories like these have so many parallels into the very real “plot” of our lives.  When I read (or watch) these stories I tend to imagine myself as one of the characters.  I relish in the adventure lived vicariously through heroes like William Wallace, Benjamin Martin, and Maximus Decimus Meridius (Braveheart, The Patriot, and Gladiator).  Yet, more often than not, I fail to display the same courage which I admire in these characters when faced with reality.

Rather than stand in the face of adversity and uncertainty, I tend to complain and doubt.  All too often, my problems and my worries knock the wind out of me and rob me of my fight.  In all reality I must admit, if my life was an epic tale, there would probably be no young men admiring me and imagining that they could be so heroic.

Why do I fail so often to bravely face life’s difficulties and my failures?  Because I forget that my life is part of and Epic Story!

All too often, I forget that the story of my life is only a small part of the reality of Him.  My view of my life narrows and becomes limited to my years on this earth.  I forget that one day, I will ride in behind the King, surrounded a great host, as he subdues all of His enemies!  I will reign and rule with Him in His Kingdom for 1,000 years!  And when He defeats the final enemy at the end of that 1,000 years, I will dwell in Heaven with Him forevermore!

When I think about that, I realize that every day, every moment in this world is a preparation for (and a part of) this great adventure!  All of a sudden, my problems and worries don’t seem like that big of a deal.  My doubts and fears  no longer hold the same power over me.  After all, I am on the winning side!  Truth shall triumph!

Epic.