Tag Archive | excellence

Do You Possess the Heart of a Warrior?

Whether it is in the movies or real life, with all of the violence in the world today, there is a word we hear quite often…

Warrior.

Wallace SwordWhen we think of a warrior, it brings to mind images of a knight in shining armor, wielding a massive sword, and ready to take care of business. For some of us who remember the movies of the ’80’s and ’90’s, it may conjure images of Rambo or William Wallace in Braveheart. We want to think of a hero; someone of great strength and integrity, willing to face insurmountable odds for the betterment of humanity.

However, we often don’t take into account what it takes to become a warrior. We don’t often understand the pain and sacrifice that an individual goes through — the commitment that it takes to carry the mantle of a warrior. Today in America, most armed services have a six- to thirteen-week period of what they term basic training. During that time, the recruits have a leader called a drill instructor. Throughout this basic training, the young soldier or sailor begins to look and act differently. They are preparing for the possibility of warfare, and train accordingly. They prepare to take down the enemy with extreme prejudice (deadly force) — an enemy that will not hesitate to kill both soldier and innocent civilian if given the opportunity.

In spiritual warfare, a timid, untrained army is no match for hell’s terrorists! No, we must get into spiritual shape, pick up our armor, and go to the battlefront. The destiny of humanity hangs in the balance. David trained his four hundred soldiers with the truth we find in Psalm 18, which contains six basic charges every warrior needs to hear.

I. Get under authority — submission.

For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks. ~ Psalm 18:27

The soldier must begin the day knowing how to obey orders. From the moment of arrival in boot camp, nothing belongs to the recruit any longer. His hair is cut, his clothing is selected for him, and his schedule is determined by his leaders. For a season, freedom is lost and submission is taught. One of my high school buddies was always a rebel at heart. His dress was unconventional, as well as his attitude. Finally, he quit school to live free. His choice? He joined the Marines. I laughed when I saw him after boot camp… his long hair was now a crew cut, and he wore a crisp U.S Marine uniform instead of jeans. He had learned to live under orders.

It is essential to understand that putting the devil to flight requires submission to God. James 4:7 tells us, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  Hebrews 12:1-2 gives the Christian his or her marching orders…

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

II. Get on fire for the cause — passion.

For You will light my lamp. ~ Psalm 18:28

The second goal of boot camp is to inspire the recruit to have a passion for the cause of the nation. All things being equal, the one with the most passion for the fight will win. In our struggle against the enemy, we must be on fire to win the souls of men for God’s kingdom. One admirable thing about Islamic fundamentalists is their unbridled passion for their cause. They are willing to die in order to further their purposes. While their teaching is in error and their methods are horrific, they’re on fire for what they believe. All the weapons of a militia cannot stop such passion; it must be met by Christians who have a passion for Jesus Christ.

III. Be prepared for warfare — discipline.

The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. ~ Psalm 18:28

God will “enlighten” His soldiers. We have been given the right armor and the right instructions. Every church must become a spiritual armory, preparing its people for the struggle against the darkness.

IV. Believe you can win — vision.

For by You I can run against a troop,
By my God, I can leap over a wall. ~ Psalm 18:29

Here the recruit confesses his faith. By the power of God, He can overcome a troop. With the strength of God, he can leap over a wall. The enemy’s army and obstacles fall before the spiritual soldier who has faith.

V. Know your weapons — power.

As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect… He teaches my hands make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. ~ Psalm 18:30-32, 34

Notice first that God has a perfect battle plan. The word perfect means “absolutely complete”. We must fight according to His plan.

Secondly, Yahweh has given us a sharp, two-edged sword — His Word. We must wield this sword effectively if we are to live the Victor’s life.

Furthermore, God grants us a shield of protection: faith.

Also, Yahweh exercises our gifts so our hands will be strengthened to make war. We can use our “bronze bow” to judge the enemy. Spiritual archers can shoot down the principalities in the heavens.

VI. Go to the next level — excellence.

He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. ~ Psalm 18:33

Boot camp moves us to the next level of battle. We can conquer the mountains before us. Our feet must be strong so we can walk with a sure foot. The feet of deer ‘track,” which means the rear foot will always land where the front foot leaves. Our God allows us to walk in His footsteps, tracking hard after Him.

David’s manual, here in Psalm 18, molded the four hundred outcasts into a military machine that would take the kingdom. We too can go to the next level if we become informed and disciplined.

So what about it? Are you ready to become the warrior for the Kingdom that God has called you to be? Are you ready to know your enemy, understand the battle, equip yourself for the fight, and walk in victory? The battle lines are drawn. The Commander awaits.

Will you answer the call?

— Adapted from my book
Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare
Copyright © 2010 by Ron Phillips
Published by Charisma Media / Charisma House Book Group

Stone-Phillips

Be Excellent!

Looking Glass

Pat Riley, former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, knows something about excellence. Having won one NBA Championship as a player, and five as a coach (four with the Lakers, and one with the Miami Heat), he had this to say about excellence…

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.

People who rest on their laurels or believe their own press seldom achieve little more than fleeting success. Those who reach a point at which they become satisfied with their past accomplishments, and rest on past glory are usually left on the shoulder on the highway of progress, and soon become spectators of this Great Race we call Life. Those who spend their lives working for the applause of others are foreign to the loneliness of what it means to be a pioneer, or are unfamiliar with the solitude that comes from being on the cutting edge.

It’s the NBA star who was once the 12-year-old kid, shooting countless free-throws in his driveway.

It’s the inventor who went through hundreds (or thousands) of failed designs before he found the one that worked.

It’s the musician who practiced for thousands of hours in an empty room before playing the first note in a concert before thousands.

It’s the medical professional, who spent lonely years studying what it means to hold life in their hands.

As Christians, we are held to a higher standard…

      Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:12-14

      And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.. ~ Colossians 3:23-25

Paul shows us that his goal was to keep moving forward, that there is a prize that awaits those who diligently follow after Jesus. Paul makes it clear that excellence is a constant journey that is only achieved by continually moving forward. As believers in Christ, our excellence should be evident to all, for it stands to echo into eternity.

The great Vince Lombardi once said…

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.

If perfection is our goal, than excellence is within reach.

However, if “good enough” is our standard of success, then we will survive in a nondescript existence of mediocrity and obscurity.

I just think the King of Glory is worthy of more than that… don’t you?