Wholehearted Warriors Win the War!
God is Raising Up Mighty, FEARLESS Warriors
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God is looking for fearless leaders who are unafraid of confrontation. If the words "fearless," "leaders," or "confrontation" make you think of other people, not yourself, then rejoice! You are a work in progress!
However, it is the wholehearted warriors who win the war. This is the truth the Lord is impressing on my heart this week, as I return to Deuteronomy 20: the Lord's protocol for battle.
Many people feel like they have been in a time of great stretching and transition. God may have given you a promise of breakthrough, but ever since then, it seems like God Himself has been fighting against you! The resources you were believing Him for have not only not materialized, but even what you have has diminished! The relationships you hoped to see restored may be more divisive now than ever. Has God forgotten His promises to you? Far from it.
The Deuteronomy 20 Strategy
Deuteronomy isn't a book believers normally turn to for "New Testament" strategies. Bear with me for a moment, though, and you will see how powerful this particular chapter is for your breakthrough! The protocol the Lord outlines in the Old Testament is still relevant to us today. In fact, it is the basis of the word He wants me to share with you now.
Deuteronomy 20:1 begins:
"When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEM; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt."
It is the Lord's desire today, as it was in the time of Moses, to remove the spirit of fear from His people. The spirit of fear will keep you from entering your Promised Land, will hinder you from your breakthroughs, and will contaminate those around you who are standing in faith. Joshua and Caleb knew this, and were the only ones who left the wilderness unscathed. Everyone else died.
"So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people."
Prior to battle, the Lord always releases encouragement. Far from a "pre-game huddle" or a "pep rally," these prophetic words command warriors to be strong and fearless, while also containing specific strategies for conquering. The priests spoken of here in Deuteronomy were not just Levites, most scholars believe. They were military priests, like chaplains, who went with the army as spiritual counsel.
A quick review of Bible history shows us that before every major battle, a strategy must be received from the Lord in order to gain victory. Israel did not move without hearing God first! These strategies can come from priests, angels, prophets, or the Lord Himself.
*An angel was sent to Gideon with instructions to defeat the Midianites.
*The prophetess, Deborah, summoned and released Barak into battle.
(Note: Barak's fearfulness as a leader caused a woman to receive all the glory for that victory.)
*The Commander of the Lord's army appeared, sword in hand, to commission Joshua to take the Promised Land.
*Jesus our High Priest appeared, post-resurrection, to give His disciples their "Great Commission."
Leaders with the fearfulness of Barak will contribute to the fight, but not be seen as true leaders in the end. Leaders who fear or doubt like Gideon will need much hand-holding and fleece-like confirmations before they step out on their own. The Bible places these two stories of fallible leaders right next to each other in Judges 5 and 6, almost as if to reinforce the point: the spirit of fear will hinder you!
How Do I Get Over My Fear?
Fear is clingy. It makes us hold on to others when we should be mature enough to stand on our own. It lacks confidence, causing us to question every decision. It paralyzes us. Fear is part of our "old man," something requiring crucifixion, and yet at the same time, it has a role to play in our ability to overcome. Acknowledging fear should drive us to God.
Fear needs to know that there is someone more powerful than we to accompany us into battle, especially when the enemy is more numerous! Barak sensed this and would not leave unless Deborah accompanied him.
Was Deborah trained to kill? Had she been through Israeli "boot camp?" I doubt it. But all the military training in the world will not prepare your heart to be courageous. In the end, fear needs to know that God is with us. And this is why priests, angels, prophets and the Lord constantly command us: "Do not fear! The Lord is with you."
Deborah's heart was full of faith, not fear. This qualified her to fight, because she trusted in God to deliver her people. If God had given a promise of victory, then there was no safer place to be than on the battlefield, even if she felt unprepared to fight! God's Presence drove out fear in her, and would drive away the enemy on the battlefield.
In the same way, God is commanding us today to be courageous and fight, not yielding to the spirit of fear. He says, "Be ruthless in your quest; do not show any pity or mercy to the spirit of fear that wants to make you shrink back!" Instead, ramp up your prayers. Repeat your promises. Worship until His Presence comes. Ignite your passion until you find the courage of the Holy Spirit flooding your heart and propelling you through your battles!
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Four Types of People Who AREN'T Warriors
Deuteronomy 20 outlines four types of people who aren't warriors: those who have built new houses and not dedicated them, those who have planted vineyards but not harvested yet, the engaged and newly-married, and the fainthearted. Through a process of elimination, God removed these people because their fears would not allow them to fight battles wholeheartedly. They would always be distracted by fearful thoughts (Think: "What if I die before I ever get to see my kids?")
In the same way, once you receive your promise of victory, you may feel like suddenly God is against you. Breakthrough is usually preceded by an inner "battle." God is whittling down everything in us that opposes victory by faith!
As He did with Gideon's army, which was reduced in size from 32,000 to just 300 (that's just 1% of Gideon's original resources, folks!), God will remove all that we trust in, circumcising out hearts prior to our breakthrough. (See Joshua 5.) Why does He do this? So that He gets all the glory.
Don't be afraid, like David, to take off Saul's armor. I read somewhere that Israel was almost always called to fight battles as infantry - just men, even when they were opposed by enemies with horses, chariots, and equipment far more sophisticated than theirs. It is the unique strategies like hanging scarlet cords from windows and banging on pitchers that deliver God's people, and for these, we must hear from God!
My prayer for you this week is that you remain strong, courageous, and fearless. Let nothing deter you from your focus and your promises. Become a wholehearted warrior who wins the war. This is who you are in Christ. It's what distinguishes your spiritual family from the rest of the world. And the same fear of God that delivers you will cause the enemy to flee in terror.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.