Becoming a Warrior
We have had such a progression so far in our study…identifying ourselves not as victims but targets, to recognizing ourselves a heroes on a battleground, and acknowledging the Cross as a sword. We are chosen.
Now we move into Part Two: Trained. We’re ready to enter that battlefield, and Lisa would have us enter not as soldiers so much as WARRIORS! Chapter 6 is full of comparisons and contrasts between the two: soldier -vs- warrior. We should come alongside Lisa right off the bat and agree that we are not “referencing those who so selflessly serve in our nation’s armed forces.” Instead we use the terms to help us “frame the motivation we daughters of God should hold as we engage in this battle.” (Fencing Manual, p. 81)
In the book Lisa talks a bit about Samurai and their warrior mentality. While she isn’t suggesting we model the Samurai, she said their “freedom without fear” approach to life is the way of the warrior. What does “freedom without fear” mean to you?
Samurai give us a picture of this warrior way of life – it is who they are. This contrasts greatly to terrorists, who are driven by fear, mercenaries, who are motivated by greed, and enlisted soldiers who are expected to obey commands. What separates the warrior from these soldiers?
One big separation is the power of choice. “Each day you can choose what you will serve: fear and hatred, or love…. We will always have the power to choose how we will fight.” (FM p. 71)
Lisa compares this whole warrior-mentality that comes with choices and challenges to some of the video games her boys play. I relate! As I type, my oldest plays one of his favorites, one he’s played many times over many years. I have wondered, girl that I am, how does he keep playing the same game over and over? So I have paused enough times to watch and ask questions that I have come to understand it’s not so much about the battles but about how he goes about winning them. He has choices of weapons and story lines, even choices on whether he’ll take the “for good” path or the “for evil.” He has learned that aiming a gun or a bow isn’t all he needs to be able to do well. He needs to think and strategize like a real warrior to achieve the levels of success he strives for.
One thing my son has learned in his virtual battles is that his current choices and experiences dictate his future successes. For instance, if he is faithful to carry out his current mission, he earns bonuses of strength, health, and treasure. Sometimes his missions are tough, challenging, even frustrating, but he’s learned to see them through because he knows he’ll be better for it in the end.
How like spiritual battles and life this is! “Warriors understand that what was challenging in their last season was meant to build strength in their future.” (FM p. 79) Our group tried to drill-in specifically to a time that a hard season ended up building in us something that was stronger and better down the road.
For me I thought about my short-temper. I inherited a fuse that was short and quick to go off–no patience and very little self-control. Over the years I was embarrassed by it but couldn’t seem to get a handle on it on my own. Parenting really brought it out in me. Those first years with my first-born were amazing but oh-so challenging, yet it was in those challenges that I had to confront my own weaknesses. And after a long process of learning how to put Christ on the throne of my life, surrendering to him all I am, do, and feel, I began to overcome that temper. I am much more patient and self-controlled these days than I was 20+ years ago. What have you battled through that has strengthened you?
Warriors originated in heaven (see Revelation 12:7-17), but the first warrior was God (see Exodus 15:3). We’ve established that we are God’s daughters, so if He is a warrior, then we’ve inherited His genes. That makes us warriors! Lisa boldly says, “You are His daughter and thus a warrior; it is time you stopped acting like an enslaved soldier.” (FM p. 81)
So let’s bear down on what a warrior IS by contrasting that to what a soldier is. I’ll make a list from Lisa’s writings and video teaching:
Warriors are called. Soldiers are hired.
Soldiers are paid. Warriors are made.
Soldiers honor rank. Warriors honor all.
Soldiers are trained. Warriors are tempered.
Soldiers know what the enemy is doing. Warriors know what God is doing.
Soldiers have an enlisted mindset. Warriors never retire.
Warriors fight according to the will of God. Soldiers war for the will of the people.
Warriors speak bold words of faith. Soldiers give status reports.
Soldiers fear men and obey people. Warriors fear the Lord and obey God.
Warriors are seasoned by the battles of life. Soldiers fight for just a season of life.
Soldiers give status reports of what is. Warriors give status reports of what could be.
Soldiers follow orders. Warriors follow the spirit of the order.
Soldiers are “made” by public victories. Warriors are “made” in private battles.
Soldiers accept some losses. Warriors recover all.
Lisa does such a great job of contrasting the motives between a soldier-mindset and a warrior’s…not to beat us up or to make us feel bad, but to help us see where we are so we can grow and progress. “Remember, every soldier can become a warrior. Invite the Spirit to bring His powerful grace and train you in areas you lack mastery.” (FM p. 86)
Lisa even gives us a little test to assess where we are – soldier or warrior — on page 87 of the Fencing Manual. It’s an interesting exercise that I hope you’ll take time to do. As our group talked through it, we were honest enough to admit that on some we were soldiers and on others we had a bit of both. Wherever you land on this test, know that’s you’re starting place. Now we all move forward, learning as we go.
The second-to-last soldier-vs-warrior statement on our list, “Warriors are made by private battles,” was one that intrigued me. Lisa unpacked this one a bit and said this incredible statement:
Warriors understand all victories begin in private. They know that God NEVER wastes a private victory…. Never imagine that what you do for others or what you do in private doesn’t matter…. God watches how we steward what is not our own before He entrusts us with more… The battles we win in private position us to slay giants in public. (FM p 84)
Let’s close with that thought and be encouraged that WHATEVER battles you’re facing in your life right now will not be a waste of time, energy, emotion, heartache, or anything else. When we take the warrior mind-set, knowing that we fight for Christ and with Christ, we battle braver and stronger, longer and harder — not for our own interests, not for “a win,” not out of obligation but for the Kingdom and honor. When we are motivated by those higher values, our fighting takes on new energy, new passion, new focus, and new outcomes. And we know that God will not waste a private victory. So don’t rush Him in the process of strengthening and tempering you. And don’t hurry out for glory that belongs to the One for whom we fight.
Be a warrior.
Battling beside you,