Warrior

WarriorAssignments“If you love me, you will keep my commandments,” Jesus said. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” (John 14:15, 21, 23 NIV)

If we love Jesus, we will obey his commands, his principles, precepts, injunctions. His teachings. This doesn’t say we will TRY, it says we WILL.

Including: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:19-20) (Everything he had commanded the disciples? That includes heal the sick, cast out demons, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead.)

And not only those things, we will do whatever he says to us personally, present tense. It will become part of our nature – our new nature – to hear his voice and carry out his wishes.

How? Certainly not by just trying. Jesus knew we can’t do any of those things in our own ability, willing or not. He had a plan for that: God the Holy Spirit, inhabiting his disciples.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.” “But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. … My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. … When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.” (John 14:16-17, 23b, 26; 15:26)

What does all that have to do with being a Warrior? Warriors don’t go wherever they choose, do whatever they choose, whenever they choose. They are under orders. They go where they are told, do what they are told, when they are told.

TwoSoldiersThey study. They train. They practice. They learn self-discipline. How to use weapons, how to fight, how to work within a team.

Most important of all – they learn how to communicate with higher authorities and others, and how to obey orders.

It’s important to study and know God’s word, his ideas, precepts, principles, injunctions, and teachings. Without those we couldn’t be sure the voice we hear is really the Holy Spirit, and he is still speaking to his disciples today, present tense. Teaching, explaining, giving instructions. Giving orders. Handing out assignments.

Assignments come in all shapes and sizes. Call this person? Go that place? Read this chapter? Write that article? Pray that prayer? Intercede for that situation? Speak that word? Speak life, wholeness, deliverance or healing to that person? Volunteer?

Make a public stand or fight a stealth battle? Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s the other.

Military warriors take orders and carry them out. Sometimes it’s fighting a vicious enemy. Sometimes it’s rescuing children in a flood. Sometimes it’s helping rebuild a school. And – sometimes it IS fighting a vicious enemy.

Obeying orders, God’s warrior goes where the Lord says go, does what the Lord says to do, when and where he says to do it. I think the church today needs more of a Warrior mentality.

See also https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/under-cover-of-darkness/
https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/gideons-army/

Definitions:

  • Commandments = entole – an order, command, charge, precept, injunction.
  • Word = logos – word(s), uttered by a living voice; embodies a conception or idea. Translated “teaching” in 14:23 NIV.
  • Keep = tereo – watch, guard, keep one in the state he is in, take care of; i.e. obey – this is a military term.
  • Advocate = parakletos – one summoned, called alongside to help; legal counsel, advisor, aide, assistant.
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Rome and Romans, more thoughts

I started my study of Romans with a search for information about the people Paul was writing to. Christians, he says, but other than that, who? Several reference books and online sources indicate they were a mixture of economic, racial, educational, and religious backgrounds. Probably they had become believers after Roman Jews attended the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out, became Christians, and then brought the Gospel back with them to Roman. (See previous post.)

Paul wrote other epistles to correct things, either mistaken beliefs or practices. So, I wondered if perhaps he had written this epistle with that idea in mind also. Of course, as he planned to visit them, he used the occasion to introduce himself and gave an impressive list of personal references toward the end. But with all of the teaching about the gospel that he included, why did he stress certain things?

I sort of started at the back of the book, to stir up a different train of thought in my mind. I’ve read this book numbers of times, and it always just seemed to me a theological discussion – Paul’s Gospel, so to speak. But obviously it is more than that.

As I flipped through this book, I came to chapter 12, about presenting your bodies as living sacrifices. Why did Paul even mention sacrifices? Why not just say live godly lives, think godly thoughts? Was there something about sacrifices themselves that he was addressing? Correcting? Back to the reference stuff, online searches, etc.

Yes, there was quite a lot about sacrifices in the daily Roman life, Jews and Gentiles and other ethnic groups alike. Rome was a hodge-podge of religious activity. It had no particular one religion that was clearly Roman itself, it had every imaginable kind and variation of religions. And many, many sacrifices! For every lifestyle choice, every problem, every decision, whether by the government or the individual – even when it came to construction of an addition to a public wall – there were sacrifices to some god or other. Asking for favor, asking to avoid displeasure, asking for good weather, good crops, good success, etc.

Okay, lots of sacrifices. What kind? Many kinds. Animals and vegetables, similar to Jewish sacrifices. Very, very rarely, human sacrifices had been made but only in extreme circumstances, according to one historian I read – that is, before the days of Nero.

One interesting kind of sacrifice was where a kind of doll was sacrificed or offered, representing the person making the sacrifice. That of course was supposed to satisfy the particular god. So now these verses in Romans 12 have a deeper meaning for me – offer you yourself to God, your own body, your own person, and not some kind of effigy substitute for yourself like Roman religions do.