Saturday, March 2, 2013

This is not the time... FbG5

"The Lord will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies."

Isaiah 42:13

Does this not speak to you men in some way? Maybe on the surface, maybe deep down. I'm not sure how it speaks to me. I guess part of that confusion stems from the notion that I have, during my entire life, been told of how passive and meek Jesus/God is. He is an entity of peace and calmness. We are always told not to fight, not to be aggressive with people around us. But as men, as warriors, we are made to fight. We are made to have passions and to let them be expressed. Instead, we are told that good Christian little boys don't get angry, they don't feel anything beyond love, peace, joy and happiness. I'm sorry, those people that have built that paradigm are wrong. It says so right up there.

Throughout the Old Testament there are multiple figures that are chosen by God, given the Spirit of the Lord and have gone to battle. Othniel, Gideon, Jepthah and David to just name a few. A key point here though, is that they were given the Spirit of the Lord. Outside of that, they were nothing. Take Sampson for example. Who was he when he wasn't the strong Sampson we think of? We see this fight in our everyday lives. I believe men try to capture this idea of the fighting and being warrior in sports. By watching sports we vicariously participate in a gladitorial type system of defeating those us. I don't believe that is a good thing. The reason that John Eldredge promotes for why we must fight, why we must be warriors is spiritual. "Our God is a warrior because there are certain things in life worth fighting for, must be fought for. He makes man a warrior in his own image, because he intends for man to join him in that battle." We are meant to be warriors with a conscience and a purpose. We are fighting for something. Not just for ourselves.

We are given the opportunity to be warriors ever day and beyond that, many times within every day. But we run. We hide. We are passive and it is passivity that kills the warrior, not the scars we acquire through battle. Suffering, for some of us a mainstay, is experienced as a result of not being willing to fight. For many of us, we choose not to recognize when the battle cry is being made. We choose to hide our heads in the sand before the battle lines are even made. In this way, evil is allowed to win almost without even trying. And it is a choice. Each warrior makes a cognitive choice to turn and flee. Why do you make those choices though? I believe this builds off all the previous stages and how men are wounded. We aren't taught or shown how to fight nor how to have the courage to even don the armor. As Eldredge says, "Passivity has no place in the lexicon of true masculinity. None. And to overcome passivity, God has set his warrior heart in every man."

So how is the warrior made? Through hardship. Through trials and tribulations. By proving that he can and will overcome the evil that is so pervasive in every moment of every day, that is how a warrior trains. Discipline. Training. Every experience in life can be seen as training for the day when the skills are needed. When the passion and the adventure come together to serve a purpose. It is through the training and the discipline that the passions are harnessed and allowed to manifest deep within ourselves so as not to be deterred from our mission, from our purpose.

How then, is a warrior unmade? Abandonment. By not having a purpose. Eldredge says that a warrior is wounded when there is "no king to give his allegiance to and no cause to fight for." My questions then are; what am I fighting for? Who is my king? What is worth shedding my blood, both spiritual and physical? How am I a warrior every minute of my day? Because when I do find things that begin to boil my blood, I need to be ready to fight with everything I have. I believe this concept speaks directly to what Paul meant by saying, "fight the good fight."


  1. Gregory, this is a very interesting post and a comment space is not really enough room to respond. I guess the questions I have are: while it is true that the idea of warrior is associated with God, especially in the OT, does Jesus modify how we should think about God through his life and teachings? Another question might be, is there an important and qualitative difference between warrior and spiritual warrior--what difference does that make? How do Jesus' teachings about turning the other cheek and loving your enemy qualify how we are to understand warrior?

  2. Arthur, I would agree that the God of the OT is definitely a warrior God out of necessity as an example to the people of Israel. They were at a developmental stage that required a God of harsh black and white. Your question of Jesus however is intriguing. I would like to bring up the story of Jesus in the wilderness as an example of the warrior spirit in him. He fought the devil at the end of that experience. There is also the time of Jesus in the temple courtyard where he methodically, intentionally braids a whip and uses it. There is a definite time and place for the warrior and I believe it can and should be seen as an undercurrent in the Cowboy, Lover and King. And you're right, there isn't enough space to get into the conversation here!