Day 101: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 101: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

When Jesus was first nailed on the Cross, he was bombarded by insults from bystanders and enemies.  They pelted him with verbal barbs, meant to cause emotional harm adding to the excruciating physical pain.  He was totally vulnerable.

Jesus had seven statements on the Cross.  Each one was significant.  His first was stunning: And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  (Lk. 23:34).  Many imagine this is magnanimous, and it is.  But it is far greater than that.  Jesus genuinely wished the best for those who were his arch enemies.  I can’t fathom that. Having been on the receiving end of injustice, I’d want revenge.  He transcended to a higher spiritual level and could think far greater than I.  I yearn for justice, Jesus yearns for souls.

Jesus was placed between two other thieves, on their crosses. They both excoriated him: And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him… (Matt. 27:44).  My response to them would be unwholesome, but Jesus was kind to them. Can you imagine?  I’m stupefied by Jesus’ patience and sympathy.  He’ll act the same with you.

One thief came to faith: And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42).  And he [Jesus] said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (23:43).  The thief did not have to be baptized, did not have to do any religious rituals, did not have to say any certain phrase, he received eternal life simply by faith.  Many do not believe how simple faith is.  People balk at its simplicity, but it is a mandatory condition for new life.  Faith is simple, not easy.

The thief who articulated faith, made it public.  People were observing and hearing his conversation with Jesus.  The Lord will give you the opportunity to make your faith known to others.  Faith is public.  It is not hidden.  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Pet. 2:9).  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light… (Matt. 5:15).

Why did only one person out of all the spectators respond positively to Jesus?  The others had heard or even seen miracles, but those spectacular events did not persuade them about the goodness of Jesus.  Jesus quieted storms, fed tens of thousands of people, healed the sick, and even raised the dead, yet only one person responded to his prayer of forgiveness.

The answer is not the external circumstances of miracles, rather it’s a problem of the heart. The Lord points to the problem of unbelief, as an issue of choice.  People don’t want spiritual goodness – they want what they want.  Thriving spiritual life does not win their minds, because of one reason – pride.

Adam and Eve had two sons. Cain and Abel.  Both brought offerings to the Lord, and Cain’s offering was not accepted.  The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? (Gen. 4:6) Cain was angry that God did not make choices the way Cain believed God should respond.  Cain wanted the Lord to behave how Cain thought Deity should act.  The Lord always, always, always does the correct thing, not necessarily the thing we want.  Cain was miffed.  The Lord does not scold him, he reasons with him.

Here’s the formula for spiritual success: If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (4:7).  Sin is our problem.  Sin crouching – means it is like a wild beast after prey, ready to pounce.  The Lord gives a word picture to of a malevolent evil wanting to devour you.  Who controls that feral animal of sin?  You!  The Lord says: “…but you must rule over it.” The world rule means to exercise dominion over your sin.  Sin is of your own making.  Someone else does not make it – you do.  Satan does not even make your own sin.  He’ll use it against you, but it’s yours.  The New Testament verifies this.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (Rom. 6:12).  Does this make you squirm?  Paul was writing to Christians, and he warned them that sin is a hideous scoundrel.  It’s like a dictator.  It asks for perfect submission.  The Lord told Cain ‘you must’ rule over it.  How does that happen?

The thief on the Cross gave over his life to the control of another – to Jesus.  Jesus assured the thief of the greatest of promises – eternal life.  The thief couldn’t pay for it with good behavior, or with wealth, or good works, he had to trust Jesus to just give it to him.  Jesus will also help you with your sin problem. How have you been doing ‘ruling’ over your sin?  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (Jn. 15:5).  We cannot do one micrometer of improvement without his help.

This is the reason, that at the Cross only one person responded positively to Christ.  The others knew his claims, his miracles, his goodness, his kindness, but their sin prevented them from trusting in him.  They could not ‘rule’ over their own sin.  Nor can you.

Yeah, well – it still does not make sense.  Sin’s your enemy, but you like it, even love it.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6).  The Lord will help you.  He’ll give you the grace you need to change your heart.  Grace is a free gift based upon his goodness, not your glowing attributes.  You’ll know you have it when: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (4:7).  ‘Submit’ is merely obeying a command from a superior officer.

The thief ‘submitted’ and gained eternal life.  That’s a good deal.  The other observers didn’t want what Jesus offered, so they got what they wanted.  They chose poorly.

This is the hard side of the Gospel.  The word ‘Gospel’ means good news.  When you don’t want good news, it creates a vacuum bringing despair and languishing.  That’s a choice.

Please be like the thief, though not perfect, but when the opportunity was presented, he boldly took it.  For he says…Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:2).  Today is the day to make a commitment to the Lord, not only in salvation, but also for a new beginning to mature faith.  It’s time to be gutsy.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Often, I’m tempted to chart my own course, please let your partnership override my attempt at sovereignty.  Your Word assures me that: looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… (Heb. 12:2).  You create my faith, you’ll help refine my faith, and you’ll partner with me to deepen my faith. Thank you, because I often think my faith is purely my duty. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Heb. 12:3).  This is so challenging to me, that you Lord endured the Cross so I would not grow weary – thank you.  This helps me appreciate you more than I have.  I give you my thanks and my life.

My faith needs more and more help, more and more work, and you assure me that you are my partner for that: for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5).  Super abundantly pour high octane spiritual fuel into my spirit, so that I live and think supernaturally in all areas of my life. Marriage, parenting, finances, entertainment, employment, every segment of life that needs full-throated targeted spiritual influence. Let your presence be comforting, overwhelming and forceful.  Don’t let me cut corners or be spiritually lazy, rather give me a hunger to make much of you, to a lost world.  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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