By Jennifer Uhlarik
SOLDIERS AND WARRIORS
Do you know the difference between a soldier and a warrior? While they might sound the same, there is a difference. A soldier is a person who serves in the army or is engaged in military service. As Christians, we are all called to be soldiers. John 16:15 tells us to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creatures.” According to English grammar rules, the subject of that sentence is the invisible you. “You, go into all the world and preach the Gospel.” The verse is talking to each and every one of us, and it tells us that our job as a soldier for Christ is to clear a space so Christ can be seen.
So how is a warrior different from a mere soldier? A warrior is a person engaged or experienced in warfare. This is someone who has shown great courage or aggressiveness in the tasks he is called to. A warrior is one of the elite fighting forces, who goes in first to lead the way or use stealth to slip behind enemy lines. Think of the boy, David, when he faced Goliath. Until he arrived and faced the giant, Israel cowered and hid before their enemies. But David faced the giant, defeated him, and the army of Israel went on to defeat the Philistines. Or think of Joshua and Caleb, who scouted behind enemy lines in their Promised Land, and when they returned, they didn’t let the giants in the land deter them from offering a good report. They knew they could seize the promise God had given them, and no amount of giants would stop them! Need more examples? Hebrews 11 gives a great list of God’s warriors and what they did to set them apart. Some, like Abel, did nothing more than offer a “more excellent sacrifice.” Others, like Moses, led the Israelites out of Egypt among many other things.
Warriors are more than mere soldiers. We are all called to be soldiers, but only the most dedicated and fiercest fighters will become warriors. These elite have several traits in common. They fight for higher stakes than their own needs. They fight for more than their own local community. Warriors operate for the good of a much larger group—a state, a nation, or the world. When David fought Goliath, do you suppose that he fought only for himself or his brothers? No! He fought to ignite the hearts of Israel. Warriors are also noble and brave, but most importantly, they are radically devoted to their leader. If they are so called, they will die for their king. David knew that the moment he stepped onto the battlefield to face Goliath,
FINDING THE WARRIOR WITHIN
Is there a burning desire within your heart to do something that feels far larger than you are capable of doing? It’s my belief that those desires are the seeds of God planted within you. We can’t accomplish greatness without first having the dream of something big. So look deep within and find that idea that won’t leave you alone. If you don’t have something like that, ask God to reveal to you what it is He desires in your life. He’s looking for a willing heart, as we see in Isaiah 6:8. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Fostering a willing heart is the first step in becoming the warrior we are called be.
The second step is to realize that the thing God is calling us to is usually too big to accomplish on our own. We can’t do it, except that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). So realize that God’s calling is not for us to do in our own power or flesh, but to do through His empowerment. We can’t, but God can.
Third, we must realize that God’s calling often seems to go against our will and desires, or we find reasons we aren’t qualified for the task at hand. Moses was certain he would never accomplish leading God’s people out of Egypt because, I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” (Ex. 4:10). The good news is that God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. When we lay down our will and take up His, great things can be accomplished. Within the heart of the warrior is immediate, unquestioning obedience, like that of Mary when she responded to the angel of the Lord by saying, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
In order to be the warrior God wants each of us to become, we must learn effective battle tactics. I’m sure there are many, but I’ll share my most important ones here.
Do not focus on the circumstances. II Corinthians 5:7 tells us that “we walk by faith, not by sight.” There are two realms at play in every situation we face—the physical realm and the spiritual. If we only focus on the physical by looking at our circumstances, we dismiss God’s ability to overrule circumstances. God answers our requests in the spirit first, and we bring those answers into the physical one through our faith. When we focus only on what our natural eyes can see, we are very likely focusing on a lie because things have already begun to happen in the spirit.
Ask God to give you a vision of the finished work. Have you ever watched a broadcast of a past sporting event even though you already know your team won? Knowing the outcome takes a lot of the tension out of those difficult moments in the game when all seems lost. It is the same principle here. If God has given you a picture of the final outcome before the battle heats up, it’s far easier to keep your faith strong when the situation seems to be going bad. Keep your eyes focused on Him. Do only what He tells you to do, and you will be victorious.
And lastly, rest in Him. We have already established that these “warrior” battles are too big for us to do alone. And in fact, they are too big for us to do at all. He wants to do them in and through us. John 14:10 tells us that “the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” Our job is to REST in His Word to us, and go with the flow of the Holy Spirit in us.
If we will do these things, great and mighty feats will be accomplished through His Power, and we’ll be the warriors through which they are accomplished.
I met Jennifer through ACFW and was privileged to crit one of her HISTORICAL WESTERN NOVELS - this woman is a writer extraordinaire, and I'm so glad she agreed to to guest post this article for JOURNEYS TO JOY. Be watching for her books. If you read one, you'll be begging for more.
Be sure to leave a comment pertaining to this guest post by JENNIFER UHLARIK and I'll enter your name in the drawing for a choice of one of my MANY books authored by an ACFW member.
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FIRST: ARE YOU A SOLDIER?
SECOND: ARE YOU A WARRIOR?