Becoming a Battle Ready Christian – Wielding Weapons of Warfare

Sword Fight

When I was younger, I would get into doctrinal debates with other Christians. We debated over scripture for hours, trying to convince each other that our doctrinal positions were correct. Not only did we risk a division in our friendship, but we also risked division in the body of Christ and hindered the furthering of the Kingdom of God. I learned many years ago that using the Word of God for such purposes is detrimental to Christianity.

In last week’s blog, I compared the role of a Battle Ready Christian to that of a sniper. Snipers can’t do their jobs unless they bring their rifles and other weapons of warfare. And they don’t use them to target soldiers on their side.

In the same way, Battle Ready Christians carry weapons of Warfare—the Sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17; Heb. 4:12), which is the Word of God. That doesn’t mean carry your Bible with you everywhere you go. It means know the Word of God well and use it in the way God means for to be used. While it is sometimes necessary to use the word of God to restore a Christian found in sin (Gal. 6:1), a Battle Ready Christian does not use the weapon of their warfare for selfish purposes. Here’s how you use the Sword of the Spirit.

Using Weapons of Warfare

2 Cor 10:4-6

  • Pull down strongholds
  • Cast down arguments
  • Cast down whatever exalts itself against God
  • Brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ
  • Punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled
In vs 4, Paul tells his audience that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. If the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, then Battle Ready Christians cannot be carnal, and they do not focus on the carnal.

Carnal Christians

I Cor 3:1-4

  • Are babes in Christ – V. 1
  • Can only receive milk – V. 2
  • Marked by envy, strife, and divisions – V. 3
  • Behave like mere men and women – V. 3
  • Are doctrinally prideful – V. 4

Of those two lists, which one describes you? Do you know the word of God well enough that you can use it to pull down strongholds, cast down arguments, and use it for God’s glory? Or do you use it for your glory? Battle ready Christians study the word of God and use it to build the Kingdom of God, not to tear it down.

If you haven’t opened your Bible in a while, other than in church, read it. If you read and study your Bible, but you use it to build your ego and not the Kingdom of God, stop. You are using the Word of God for selfish purposes (Phil. 2:3). That doesn’t mean don’t have discussions with Christians and even non-Christians about your differences in beliefs. It may even mean that you will have to use it such a way that causes offense. Christ, the Apostle Paul, and many others chastised others with the word of God. But make sure you are using it to build the Kingdom of God and not your ego.

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Becoming a Battle Ready Christian – Abiding in Christ

In 2010, Chris Kyle, returned home after four tours in Iraq as a sniper. The U.S. Sniper Team Department of Defense confirmed he had 160 kills, and he claimed another 95 unconfirmed kills.  He was awarded several awards for his valor, was nicknamed the “Devil of Ramadi” by Iraqi Insurgents, survived two helicopter crashes and six IED attacks, and was an awesome Christian Husband and Father until the day he was killed at a shooting range in 2013. Chris Kyle’s and all snipers’ heroics teach us a great deal about what it means to be a Battle Ready Christian.

1. Be Purposed

Study God’s Word & Evangelize

John 12:27; I Jn 3:8; Heb. 2:14,15; Rom. 8:28; Eph 1:11,12; Matt 4:1-11; Matt 28:16-20

Christ remained focused on His purpose, which was ultimately to destroy His enemy target, and release those bound by the fear of death. Battle Ready Christians need to remain focused on their purpose in Christ. They know the Bible well enough to use it when the enemy tempts them and to lead people away from the fear of death into the knowledge of the saving power of Christ.

2. Remain Hidden

Be Content in Christ

I Cor 7:20 – 24; Phil 4:12

Just as a sniper must conceal themselves from the enemy, Battle Ready Christians must conceal themselves within Christ. Once a sniper finds that position, they can’t give that position away. They must remain hidden. A Battle Ready Christians must remain hidden in Christ, which means they must realize their purpose, remain within that purpose, and don’t think changing their circumstances will make life better.

Note: This does not mean stay in abusive relationships or other unhealthy circumstances. This means do not allow your circumstances to determine your faith in Christ.

3. Stay Focused

Pray, pray, and keep praying

Matt 24:42; 26:40, 41; Mark 13:33-38; Lk 21:36; I Cor 16:13; I Th 5:6

A sniper must be alert and watch. Jesus teaches that we must watch for the enemy through prayer. A sniper cannot casually glance toward their target, and a Battle Ready Christian cannot only spend a few moments in prayer everyday. They must saturate themselves in prayer.

4. Become Accountable

Develop Strong Relationships

I Th 5:11; Prov 27:17; Gal. 6:1-5; James 5:16

Snipers often go out in pairs. One is the spotter and the other the shooter. They sometimes switch roles to avoid eye fatigue. A Battle Ready Christian remains accountable to another Battle Ready Christian. There will be many times when they switch roles. There may be a time when one is experiencing fatigue and the other is praying with them, encouraging them through the word of God, or just being a friend.

In John 15:1-7, Christ tells  His disciples to abide in Him. The word abide is the Greek word Meno. It is translated throughout the new testament as abide, remain, continue, endure, stand, dwell, and tarry. Christ is telling His disciples to remain focused on their purpose.

Are you staying focused on God’s purpose for you? God’s purpose for every Christian is to be part of The Great Commission. Your part may not be to be a pastor, evangelist, missionary, or other. But He has purpose for you. Pray that God will reveal it to you. The more focused you become on God’s purpose for you, the more battle ready you will become.

Come back next week for another blog in my “Becoming a Battle Ready Christian” series, follow me on Twitter,  and Like the On Becoming Human Facebook page.

Becoming a Battle Ready Christian – Raising the Victory Cry

Lebron James

Lebron James

If you don’t recognize the man in the picture, there is a good chance you live under a rock. Lebron James is one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. And if by chance, you don’t recognize him, and you insist you don’t live under a rock, he is the Roger Federer of basketball.

James’ net worth is an estimated $150,000,000, which includes his annual pay check and various endorsements. Even if you don’t like him, don’t care about him, or really don’t know who he is, you contribute to his earnings.

How You Contribute to Lebron James’ earnings

  • If you watched the San Antonio Spurs dismantle the Miami Heat’s dreams, you contributed to his earnings.
  • If you eat at McDonald’s or just watch their commercials, you contribute to his earnings.
  • If you’ve boughten a pair of Nike’s, or just watch their commercials, you contribute to his earnings.
  • If you drink Coke, purchase any Coke products, or watch their commercials, you contribute to his earnings.
  • If you own a Samsung smart phone, any other of their products, or watch their commercials, you contribute to his earnings.
  • If you buy anything from Dunkin’ Donuts or just watch their commercials you contribute to his earnings.
  • If you have State Farm Insurance, or just watch their commercials, you contribute to his earnings.

In the first six chapter of Joshua, God told Joshua to lead the children of Israel across the Jordan. God told Joshua He would give him all of the land he could see. The children of Israel were tired, hot, and hungry. Experiencing misery was their reality. But they told Joseph they would be faithful to follow his leadership. Just as James’ vision would be worthless without millions of people contributing to his goals, Joshua’s leadership would be worthless without the support of those following him.

Joshua vs. Lebron James

  • Millions of people contribute to Lebron James’ ability to fulfill his goals. The tribes of Israel contributed to helping Joshua fulfill God’s purpose for Israel. (Jos 1:16)
  • Lebron James surrounds himself with the best in order to fulfill his goals. Joshua surrounded himself with 40,000 men of war in order to praise God. (Jos 4:13)
  • Lebron James entered into the NBA expecting championships. Joshua crossed the Jordan expecting victory, so God would be glorified. (Jos 4:5-7; 21-24)

By the time the Israelites got to the walls of Jericho, they didn’t need to do much because it was like one of those movie scenes set in the 1800’s with the two men dueling at high noon. All of the shops closed up, the windows shut, and everyone cleared the streets. The only difference between those movies and the scene around Jericho was that 40,000 men circumvented Jericho.

Jericho vs. Our Lives

  • The people of Jericho shut up the city because they heard the Israelites were coming. Your enemies will become silent, as you are faithful to cross your Jordan and march around the walls in your life (Jos. 6:1)
  • The priests used trumpets of rams’ horns, which were used in Jubilee not war. Bring your praise to the battle. (Jos 6: 4, 16)
  • The walls fell in response to their ‘great shout’. Give God the praise, expecting Him to give you victory. (Jos. 6: 5, 20)
  • The men of war went first. Find God’s mightiest people, surround the walls of your lives with them, and set them in front. (Jos. 6: 8-9)
  • They rose early and readied themselves. Whether you’re an early riser or not, start each day by readying yourself for God’s victory in your life (Jos. 6:15)
  • They were ready to receive God’s blessings. We need to prepare our lives to receive God’s blessings. (Jos. 6:20)

Just as God led Joshua to those walls to lead the children of Israel into victory, God places wall in front of you to give you the victory. Just as God told Joshua to raise the victory cry in expectation of the victory, God is calling you to praise Him in expectation of victory in your life. Just as the walls of Jericho fell in response to their obedience and praise, the walls in your life will fall because of your obedience to God and praise to God.

So much more could be said about praise, but I must point out the irony that Israel’s men of war were called to praise. Do you want to be a battle ready Christian? God is calling you to praise Him for the victory. Though, remember, the victory God called the people of Israel to praise Him for was that the walls of Jericho would fall and they would take the city He gave to them. They could have marched around another walled city, blasted rams’ horns, and shouted for victory; but those walls would have stayed in tact. God would have said, “I didn’t call you to march around those walls. I’m not going to give you the victory here because it is not my will that you take this city.” The walls God placed in your life, and the victory He will give to you, will always further his purpose for your life and His Kingdom.

Are you facing the walls God set before you that will lead you into His will for your life, surrounding yourself with battle ready Christians, and praising God for the victories before you? What walls are you facing right now? God will give you the victory. Just be obedient to His calling, expect the victory, and praise God for that victory.

Tell me about the walls God placed before you. Let’s praise God for the victory together. Tell me about God’s purpose for your life. God has a much bigger purpose for me than to just write blogs, but starting this blog is me crossing my Jordan. Almost 16 years ago God called me into the ministry of writing. I left the safe path of my life, began crossing my Jordan, and am now gathering battle ready Christians to raise the victory cry with me.

I hope you are blessed by this blog. Come back next week to read the next blog in my “Becoming a Battle Ready Cristian” series, and get ready to raise the victory cry with me.

BTW, I would love if you would follow me on Twitter or Like the On Becoming Human Facebook page.

Becoming a Battle Ready Christian – Preparing Your Mind for Battle

Battle Ready Action Figures

Battle Ready Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Do you know what a battle ready action figure is? It’s just what it sounds like. It’s an action figure that’s ready to fight battles.

First, let’s get something straight! A doll is not an action figure, and an action figure is not a doll. C’mon parents, how many times has your kid reminded you of this truth!

Dolls vs Action Figures

  • Dolls carry combs and mirrors. Battle ready action figures carry weapons of warfare!
  • Dolls pluck and tweeze their eyebrows. Battle ready action figures shave with a machete!
  • Dolls get mani-pedis at the spa. Battle ready action figures don’t care if they break a nail (or a tooth)!
  • Dolls consider fitness fashionable. Battle ready action figures muscles’ have muscles (and working out is a survival skill!)!
  • Dolls scream when they see bugs. Battle ready action figures raise a battle cry when they attack!

Now chances are in your everyday life, you’re more like a doll than a battle ready action figure. That’s okay, so am I. The closest I’ve ever come to shaving with a machete is shaving with a razor with a dull blade and no shaving cream. The good news is even though you may be a doll in your day to day life, you can be a battle ready Christian.

Are you a battle ready Christian? You’re in the middle of a war zone, so I hope you’re battle ready. If you don’t think you are, know that Christ equipped you with everything you need to become battle ready.

In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul talks about putting on the full armor of God. He begins with the word, “Finally,” which always sums up an argument or line of reasoning. In this case, you need to go back to the fourth chapter to read the beginning of Paul’s line of reasoning.

Ephesians 4:17-24

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.

18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.

19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned

21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Paul tells his audience not to walk in the futility of their their thinking. They need to identify and overcome the futility of their thinking.

Identifying the Futility of Your Thinking

  • Your understanding is darkened (V. 18)
  • You are alienated from the life of God (V. 18)
  • You are ignorant (V. 18)
  • You have hardened your heart (V. 18)
  • You’ve lost all sensitivity (V. 19)
  • You gave yourself over to all sensuality (V. 19)
  • You indulge every kind of impurity (V. 19)
  • You are full of greed (V. 19)
  • Your old self is being corrupted by deceitful lusts (V. 22)

Overcoming the Futility of Your Thinking

  • Put off your old self (V. 22)
  • Be made new in the attitude of your mind (V. 23)
  • Put on your new self (V. 24)

In Ephesians 6, before Paul talks about the Armor of God, he says, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10). He’s telling them that before they put on the full armor of God they need to be battle ready. They needed to put off their old self. They need to be made new in the attitude of their mind. And they need to put on their new self.

Are you battle ready? Have you put off your old self? Are you renewing the attitude of your mind? Are putting on your new self? What’s holding you back? Become battle ready! Before a soldier goes into battle, they are trained to be mentally prepared.

Training to Be a Battle Ready Christian

  • Find and get involved in a good church
  • Get on your knees and pray
  • Study the word of God
  • Memorize scripture

There is so much more I could say on the topic, and I welcome discussion in the comments below. I guarantee you the more you do these things, and make them part of your daily and weekly preparation in Christ, the more battle ready you will become. Come back next week. You won’t want to miss it. I’m going to keep writing about Becoming a Battle Ready Christian.

The Objectification of ‘Pretty’ and Redemptive Nature of Forgiveness

In the movie “12 years a Slave,” people are devalued and treated like objects. Throughout the movie, there are scenes in which these people stand in rooms and their captors touch, poke, and otherwise handle them much like a dress in a store.

12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

In Beyonce’s newest video, “Pretty Hurts,” which is about women preparing for and going through a beauty contest, there is a similar scene. All of the contestants are standing along a wall, and a gentleman is drawing on them, touching them, and making sure they are of good value to their judges. They won’t be bought or sold that day, but they are objectified and valued like merchandise. Just as the slaves in, “12 years a Slave” find their self-worth based on whether or not they are accepted by those that objectify them, the women in this video seem to base their self-worth on whether or not those men that objectify them find value in them.

When I saw the title, “Pretty Hurts,” I thought of ‘pretty’ as describing the ‘hurts’ inflicted upon women. In other words, that the wounds inflicted upon women in our society are somehow ‘pretty.’ Though, I think that just as our male dominated society objectifies women, and many women see ‘pretty’ as a level of acceptance to be obtained, we have objectified the word, ‘pretty.’ We consider something ‘pretty’ if it attains to a certain level of aesthetically pleasing standards. A woman, we have taught them as a society, is not ‘pretty’ unless her objectified, physical appearance is similar or better than that of another object to which she is held up in comparison.

‘Pretty’ is no longer an adjective to describe an object. Rather, ‘pretty’ is the object the subject (women) try to become, and it is the attempt to attain to that object that becomes the barometer by which many women measure their value. In that, as a society, we have moved from objectifying women to objectifying language in the form of the word ‘pretty,’ and women are held in subjugation to trying to become a certain type of object. If we understand the word, ‘pretty’ in the title as an object (a noun), we can understand how the word ‘hurts’ is used as a verb or adjective. Both uses of ‘hurts’ describe a physical or mental wound inflicted by the objectification of ‘pretty.’ The title describes the object inflicting wounds up on the subject.

Just as black men and women were subjected by the word ’slave,’ the attempt of women to become an acceptable object (‘pretty’) wounds them physically, emotionally, and psychologically. And just as, the objectification of ‘pretty’ can hold a woman in subjugation to attaining to a level of acceptance, so also the knowledge of sin holds sinners in subjugation to the full awareness of their sinfulness.

Hebrew 10:1-4

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshippers would have been cleansed once for all, and would have no longer felt guilty for their sins.

But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.

It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

When Christ came, He came to cleanse our consciousness.

He came to free us from the guilt of sin, and all the sacrificial system did was remind people they were slaves to sin. The sacrificial system didn’t pay off the debt of our transgressions against God, rather it just reminded the people of their debt. The high priests knew they would just have to go back to the temple the next year to make another sacrifice. They were, along with all of the people of Israel, under the subjugation of sin. Christ didn’t come to make the final payment; Christ came to make the only payment that counted. God demanded the blood of a perfect lamb, so our conscious could be cleansed from the bondage of sin, but we did not have access to the perfect blood of the lamb until Christ came.

So, how do overcome that bondage of sin?

We must allow Christ to cleanse our conscious from trying to obtain to the object of ‘good.’ Jesus said, “No one is good—except God alone (Mark 10:18b).” Sin caused us to objectify ‘good,’ as if it is something we must obtain. Rom. 3:23 says, “For all sin and fall short of the glory of God.”

Just as some women only feel ‘pretty’ because of the self-value they learn from those around her, we realize ‘good’ is not something to obtain because of a certain amount or types of works we do that we call ‘good.’ Those of us bought by the blood of the lamb are ‘good’ because of Christ’s nature in us, and the realization of that nature is our salvation. Just as a woman should not measure her worth according to whether or not she is able to attain to a socially acceptable level of ‘pretty,’ we should not measure our worth in Christ by trying to obtain ‘good.’

When we take on the nature of Christ, we take on the nature of ‘good.’ ‘Good’ is no longer an acceptable character level we must strive to obtain, rather it is the value of Christ’s nature within us. The sacrificial system of the old testament, and the good works of those today who think the more good works they do the closer they will be to God, is like makeup. It may make someone appear to be something on the outside they are not on the inside, but it does not change who they are on the insude. That doesn’t mean Christian shouldn’t or don’t do good works (Read the book of James), but it means Christians should not allow themselves to become subject to trying to obtain salvation by being and doing ‘good.’

How do you overcome the objectification of trying to be ‘good enough’

1. Realize there is nothing you can do to obtain to the level of ‘good’ that will justify you before God. It is like trying to pay off a sum of money with an infinite number of zeros when you only have access to wood chips by giving your debtor IOU notices (that’s the sacrificial system) that only remind both of you that you can never pay it.

2. Admit to God that you have a debt of sin to Him so large there is nothing you can do to pay it off, and ask Christ to pay it off for you.

3. Realize that your debt is now paid, and you are redeemed by the blood of the lamb.

Too many people only have a surface level understanding of the power we as Christians have, and I want to help more people realize the depth of the power of our salvation in Christ. The main focus of my blogs will be on strengthening the body of Christ, but some will be gospel focused. I love studying God’s word, I love sharing my understanding and knowledge of what I study, and I love dialoguing with others about what I study

I welcome questions, comments, and even criticism. But please no personal attacks, attacks on my beliefs, or attacks on anyone who chooses to comment here. I want this blog to raise awareness of the redemptive power of God we have through Jesus Christ. I hope you will continue to read this blog and join me on my journey ‘On Becoming Human.’

Blogging Onward!

Almost 30 years, God performed miraculous works in my life. I believe He allowed those events to happen for a purpose. I believe he called me forth for a purpose, just as He called forth Lazarus. God gave me a second chance. I have been waiting for 30 years for God to use my in some great and might way. Because of the wisdom of one of my pastors, I realized that I don’t need to worry about making myself available for God to use me in some great and mighty way. I only need to make myself available to Him, to let Him use me in the small, everyday ways.

Ever since I was a child, I have felt God wanted me to share my testimony of how He healed me, and certainly I still have a passion to share my testimony with people. Though, I also realize that this blog allows me to be a vessel in another way. It allows me to get my thoughts out there. God has given me a passion to study His word, and I love sharing my thoughts about Him and His word with people.

So, that is what I have decided to make this blog. It is not going to be about me. It is going to be a place where I will just share what’s on my heart. What God is teaching me, either through prayer or His word or both. I want this blog to bring healing. With that said, I am happy to pray for you however I can.

As far as my testimony, it is my desire to share it in schools, churches, and wherever God will lead me. But I am not going to worry about that. I am going to take my pastor’s advice and allow the Lord to use me in the small things. I am going to make myself available to Him and remain confident that He will use me however and whenever He choose. The point is not “Glory to me.” It is “Glory to God.”

Thanks for reading my first blog. I will blog at least once a week. I will try to blog more than that. I will definitely blog whenever I feel God giving me something to say. I will do my best to make every blog uplifting. Some may be commentaries or recaps on my pastor’s or other great ministers’ messages. Some may be reviews of books or music. Some may be lessons from the Bible, or other things God has led me to share.

Whatever I share, I pray God will use me and this blog to increase in you.

God bless,

Erick