Thursday, 14 July 2011
Warrior Bride - Pt 2 - Conclusion
CONCLUSION OF PART II
There is a white horse. There is an army. There is a Commander who sits upon His stallion waiting. All wait in breathless anticipation. Hooves are stamping in impatience, wanting to ride the wind. The Commander waits. He waits for His Bride to become ready. All the heavens stilled at the nearness of the hour.
Abraham, Esther, David, Hosea, Nehemiah, Gideon, Ruth … all Old Testament heroes of the faith. Is it possible that these Old Testament figures can guide us into the future of today’s Christian Church? If the Church is actually called to become a Warrior in these last days, or if the call to intimacy deepens during these final hours, how is it possible that our everyday existence can be relevantly affected by these examples? Besides the obvious moral, life and historical lessons these ones leave behind, could we find the secrets we need to become that Bride without spot or wrinkle?
I believe that every one of these examples is saying the same thing. The message is strong and true and it finds itself manifested in many different walks of life, times of history, and struggles of human natures. The common denominator between these and most other examples God has given us is that if we truly want to fight the war, walk up the mountain or become the Queen; it is the true and honest relationship of our heart that must be at the forefront. Not our works, not our miracles, not our casting out of demons, nor our prophecies.
It is clear that in every scenario, the communication of the heart’s responses is the crux of the issue. Jesus, our Commander and Beloved Bridegroom, has suggested that there are those who are religious enough to do miracles, but still did not know Him. There are those who are of such spiritual power to cast out demons, and yet again still did not know Him.
Isn’t it fascinating how God leads all of us on such different walks, and we all come from different places yet our fears and concerns are not personally unique? We all worry about our children, both from external pressure from the world and that they would maintain some spiritual backbone. We all worry about where we are going, or where we came from, or what we are supposed to be doing now that we’re not. Our families of origin, our culture differences, our spiritual background all work together to create the climate where we find ourselves today.
Somehow through the noise, the pressures, the history and even the worries, we must find the still, small voice and be able to recognize when He calls our name. We may find ourselves in the highest level of leadership or in the lowest position; God still demands the same attention. If we are to find any levels in our hearts deeper than we have already gone, we must determine to do away with the focus on the outward. This has been reiterated many times over the years, but the truth of it still remains as powerful as it once was. The only one concerned with the true condition of our hearts is the one to whom we are called to give our hearts.
What does this Warrior Bride have to do with my family life? If for a moment we look at the examples taken from Scripture, family strength is crucial to facilitate our goal. The Scripture is clear that we can do miracles, prophesy, even raise the dead, but if we do not have love, it means nothing. Those signs speak to me of highly spiritual people, but without love the spirituality is lost.
Love begins in our homes. Love is defined by our relationship with our spouse and our children. God has entrusted us with a nucleus of people, both young and old, not to be merely tolerated, abused or put up with, but rather to gain insight into His intimacy. We are to practice the art of intimacy within our family dynamic. As we have seen in the examples, intimacy comes at every level and has many different faces. The common denominator in all is, once again, the communication level and the true heart responses.
Our time within our family unit is what points us to the family of God. It is all intertwined and interdependent. The more that honest, heartfelt communication flows between family members and those of our church bodies, the more the walls break down. There is no more time for petty attitudes concerning one another. There is no more time to be wasted making external judgments about those that we are supposed to be upholding. As the heart of God becomes clearer to us, we take on His heart for those around us. God’s heart is not that we should win the world at the sacrifice of our families. God’s heart is not that we stretch our children’s fortitude to its breaking point, but rather make our children’s needs our priority. Our hearts in seeking out the intimacy with our Bridegroom need to be turned to our homes, as the place we are to be taught true intimacy, and the truth about who we are.
Our children need to see men and women who are not afraid to call on God in front of them. Our families need to see that our ‘calling’ is not the priority in our lives, but our knowing the One who has been calling. Children only learn how to pray by watching those they love praying. There is a definite place of intimacy and transparency when children and parents pray together. We learn valuable lessons on the heart of the One that loves us, from those ones who He has entrusted to us.
The truth of the Warrior Bride is that it is not reserved for our prayer closets, if we even have them. The truth of the Warrior Bride is that it must have relevance in our daily living. It makes very little difference how prophetic we are if, in our homes, our responses to our Bridegroom are not evident. It is my belief that we are being called to be a true and honest people, that while we are very human, we are making our way to becoming people who care less about what others will think of them and more about the honesty of our heart.
What does the Warrior Bride have to do with my church and business life? As it was also raised earlier, again the relevance is clear. We live in times where we are surrounded by relationships of all kinds. People, who are in authority over us, people who are under our leadership, and peers at every level. Mutual respect and spiritual backbone should be the cornerstones of our professional relationships.
It is no longer acceptable to take advantage of a weaker brother or sister in order to gain position. It is no longer acceptable to flirt with waitresses, even if you are a married preacher. It is no longer acceptable to tolerate racism and issues of perversion either in attitude or speech. It is no longer acceptable to not be accountable to someone who you will not lie to. We scoff that none of these things apply to our lives. We puff ourselves up to think that issues of our character are just fine the way they are. Perhaps one of those specific areas is not the problem in your life, but you know what your issue is. The public arena is probably one of the easiest areas to fool people. The face we wear in front of our peers and our insubordinates is the one of our choosing. The level of honesty and truth is our own to decide. It is at this level that our motives are weighed and our character is honed.
God has something to say to you. All that is required is an open mind, open heart and our free will in offering to take up our cross. A good test for us is to look at our prayer time. Is it taken up only with our list we are taking to God? Or is it preoccupied with the list we receive from God? Upon hearing that voice calling us to lay down that area which is the hardest to let go of, are we clinging to our possessions or the song our Savior is singing over us declaring our freedom? Do we run in the direction of the voice for our protection, or cower in the corner in fear, or run the other way afraid of what we may hear next from this Voice?
Again, a personal, private affair. No one is looking – there is nothing to be gained or lost in the eyes of others. Only our personal place of commitment, peace and faith remains at stake.
Count the cost, build the house, but listen to the Voice. God still has something to say and He is desperate to whisper the secrets of His love to your heart in the middle of the night. He is anxious for you to know Him in His power and His love.
Some of us, at this point, are third and fourth generation Christians, having grown up in some form of spiritual household. Or perhaps the salvation experience happened a lifetime ago for you. The beautiful part about these situations is that Christian heritage is deep and strong, but the difficult side is that our ‘old’ man is someone we are completely unfamiliar with. Selfish ambition, pride and spiritual gluttony have become something some of us have accepted as the normal existence in our spiritual walk, never dreaming that the more these are exercised, no matter the role we play, the further we are form the One who is calling us.
Being a Warrior means doing away with weights that so easily beset us. Selfish ambition, even in the spiritual world, besets us to the point we can see nothing else but where we are going. We don’t see the ones beside us or behind us, who need to hear us tell them not to ring the bell of giving up. We can’t take the time in our professional lives to stop long enough to extend grace to a brother who is weaker. Spiritual gluttony has us bound by signs and wonders, and yet we are called to ‘be still and know that He is God’. Being still begins our path to intimacy. It is one that takes our time. Being still means actually seeing those around us and recognizing their needs. Being still is not making a move without waiting for the Voice of our Commander, no matter how long it takes.
The trumpet is going to sound. The white horse is going to fly on the wings of the wind. The Commander is going to come. The Wedding Feast is being prepared. There is going to be a moment when He calls our name. There is going to be a moment when we will recognize that whisper, that voice, that sweetness that has lead us and loved us during our own times of battle. We will be so grateful that we took the time to deal with the undisciplined areas of our hearts, no matter where that road took us. There is coming a time when our Beloved will lean his ear to us, and listen to our continued love, honor and worship. There is coming a time when we will judge. We will sit with our Commander and He will incline His ear to us, as we inclined ours to Him before.
Intercession and intimacy, worship, being a watchman and a prophet, must all be a part of our preparation experience. These are the prerequisites for being a Warrior Bride. Looking past ourselves and onto the job at hand is what makes this Warrior Bride that best of the best. These attributes make her the principle unit called on in the face of the greatest war ever known to man.
Abraham had his Beloved’s ear. Through his belief, Abraham trusted. He walked on and trusted the pledge of his tomorrows. Ruth knew the intimacy of submission. Our hearts must, in all humility, take the direction of our Commander/Bridegroom. No matter how mundane that direction is, for it is in the mundane where our redemption meets us. Worship must be an integral component of our becoming the Warrior Bride. The freedom and abandon David teaches us to desire, works towards bringing down our prison walls. Worshipping in spirit and in truth becomes our battle cry.
Nehemiah and Hosea both made the choices it took to make the work of the Bridegroom happen. The Watchman and the Prophet are close in their disposition and calling. Both have the daunting task of going against the popular choice of the present era, even in the church. In responding to their individual calls they have allowed us insight into the kind of commitment needed to fulfill our own calling.
Preparation and discipline was the filter that we started with, and it is with this that we must end. We must be prepared. We must take a hold of the things that have been left undone in our lives and deal with them. For some, this means remembering the past and acknowledging its existence. For some, this means validating the past and moving on. For other, it means waking up to this present day and not living only for where it takes them. It is a personal journey, just as it has been all along. For each one the call is different, but the call is there and we must heed it.
We don’t like discipline. As adults, we believe we are above it. When those in authority try to impose it on us, we rebel sometimes outwardly, but more often in our hearts. Discipline, in our minds, is only called for in cases of dealing with children or those who have blatant sin. While that is a reasonable assumption, to me it seems that some of use need the discipline of our Commander, to keep us true to our calling. To not discipline us, even as adults, our Beloved does us a great disservice, allowing us to wander unchecked into territories of spiritual ineffectiveness, or a hornet’s next of enemy fire.
For each one, clear choices are given all along the path. The narrow road is narrow for a reason. It is difficult and lonely and not many are lured there by its brilliance. The wide road is one that is paved with indifference, unchecked hearts and bright lights. Many want to travel there because it is a place of recognition and fast results. The narrow path is the higher road. Although it is a lonely walk, the Lover of our Soul finds us there, becoming our companion, our soul mate. No matter where this walk finds us, it is the choice of our hearts that will determine the depth of our calling, not the outward manifestations of that call.
To quote from an earlier passage, “As we submit to the leadership of our Commander/Bridegroom in both training for warfare and preparation for the intimacy of His Chamber, our hearts are made stronger and our spirits softer to His voice. We can recognize His whisper whether on the battlefield or in the Bridal Chamber”.
“Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”