Mel Gibson portrays Col Hal Moore, in the film, We Were Soldiers. As he moves into his digs on camp, one of the soldiers talking to his mate calls Moore a ‘Harvard man!’ His sentiment is that his new Colonel is a book worm and a desk dweller. One of the most compelling parts of the film for me, was the preparation this new Colonel put in, before he engaged his enemy. Gibson is seen pouring over books about previous battles, including the massacre of the French forces, eleven years previously by the enemy, this new Colonel is about to face.
I remember, as I watched this character develop, how many aspects of his world related to principles found in Scripture. Colonel Hal Moore understood leadership and the tactics of war, and that all began with knowing your enemy.
In Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
An event-minded believer will believe that just putting on the full armour of God is enough to stand successfully against the devil’s schemes. However, it’s also important to know his schemes. How he operates, so we can effectively and efficiently use our armour and defeat his advances.
The word schemes, literally translated means ‘with a road,’ which makes no sense grammatically but the picture behind this, is that of a traveller on a road, heading towards a decided upon destination. The Greek word for schemes is methodos, from which we get our word method. Just as the enemy that Mel Gibson’s character was facing had methods of engagement, strategy and tactics which Gibson needed to know and understand. So too, do we as sons of our father. Who incidentally, is described as “a man of war!” Ex 15:3
In fact, we are commanded not to be ignorant of his schemes, 2 Co2:11. And this verse gives us an important truth about the devil’s strategy – that Satan would gain an advantage over us. Eph 4:27 builds us a clearer picture of what the scheme of the devil is – give no place to the devil. The word place, is topos and is about giving space or room to another. Interestingly, topos is also relegated to maps or areas i.e. topography! Eph 6:13 commands us to stand your ground which again speaks of an area we have dominion and authority over.
This ground, this area he is after, is our HQ and the Bible calls it our mind or intellect.
This truth is gleaned from the use of the word for schemes in 2 Cor 2:11 is noemata which is s form of the word nous which describes the mind or intellect. The devil’s destination is our minds, our HQ in this war we face and he has a threefold purpose, which Jesus revealed –
the thief comes to rob, steal and destroy. Jn 10:9 In a word destruction!
Whoever captures our HQ, will preside over our imaginations, thoughts and emotions and these will fill our hearts and begin to overflow and flood our lives! He cannot do this just to anyone he likes because he is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Pet 5:8. Interestingly, the context of this verse is about strong negative emotions and attitudes of mind and the word for devour, speaks of the devil’s desire to so frighten a person in mind and emotion, that he can simply lick them up, as a lion would do after the kill.
There is a war on and we do have a HQ, that we need to defend and protect and the how of this, is the content of my next blog.
Disciple means disciplined learner and is a definition and dynamic Jesus gives to all who return to the Father through him. It’s also a title that will not be revoked, unless we choose, until we exit life and enter eternal life.
Therefore, we are lifelong learners whose only constant is change!
The biblical word for change is transformation, meaning transform or transfigure and appears only four times. Twice concerning Christ appearance on the mount of transfiguration. See Matt 17:2. And the transformation of the believer into the likeness of Christ, through the renewing of their minds. See 2 cor 3:18 & Roms 12:2.
One of the core changes that needs to happened to all disciples of Christ can be seen in the changing of the name, by Jesus, of Peter. Before Jesus re-named him, he was Simon, meaning reed-like. Peter means rock. His previous name infers he swayed and his latter name infers being solid. The name change was a outworking of an invisible truth – Peter’s substance had transformed. He appeared the same but in his words and actions, he was different. These words and actions would take time to fully develop, he would go on to deny his master, but when Jesus said He was now ‘Rocky.’ He was!
The context of this re-naming is very important –Peter had just received revelation directly from the Father regarding who Jesus was. Immediately, Simon is given a new name and his substance is changed. This dynamic is clearly highlighted in John 1:12 –
to “all who received Him (Jesus, the Word) to those who believe in name (work) he gave them power to become children of God!”
Formulaically – receive + believe = become.
The core of Simon was changed by receiving and believing the released Word of God, and so, he went from being easily swayed to becoming rocky. The biblical word which is also an ongoing process, for this, is stable!
Dynamically, stable means established and strengthen, something or someone, who has become and is becoming. They are fixed and becoming firm, established and strengthen! These works are within a person’s life and primarily refer to the state and condition of their faith and their mind! Col 2:5&23; 2 Pet 3:17
In these verses, the word stability and steadfast are being used and the pictures behind them are – to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix, a firm foundation. These refer to the state and quality of the heart and mind of the believer, and they are also a litany of what the Spirit desires to continue to do in and through us!
Central to our hearts and minds being and becoming more stable is pressure or testing. When the pressure is on, we are close to an opportunity to become more stable, as James, puts it –
“that you may be complete and mature, not lacking anything.” James 1:4.
‘That you may,’ is the language of someone responding, doing their part and so the principle imparts what it contains. The principle here in James is perseverance which is the expected out working or fruit of a life under a time of testing v3. Verse three begins with an assumption – ‘because you know that’ the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Isn’t that just an annoying word, develops?
I say this sarcastically because I have met many believers who have experience and gone through pressure, testing times, and yet they have not become stable. Quite the opposite actually!
This is due, in part, to a wrong paradigm which is called event-mindedness, that simply believes the event will change them. It will but not for the better, unless they respond to what every event offers: an R.S.V.P. And that, is always to understand and work the process being offered – mature and complete not lacking anything.
If our substance is going to transform we need to have, like Peter, a revelation from the Father. As we respond to that revelation by doing our part, consistently, we will see constancy develop and grow in our hearts and minds, and as a result flow downstream into our lives and contexts!
The process of becoming stable I call gym time or road work and in part two of this blog, I share some thoughts about this necessary discipline. Until then some wise words –
“Champions aren’t made in the ring, they are merely recognised there. What you cheat on in the early light of morning [road work/gym time] will show up in the ring under the bright lights!” Joe Frasier [parentheses mine]
If you’re expecting some thoughts on climate change as it relates to the overall temperature of the planet and toxic gases, then this blog will disappoint.
I am using the word climate as describing the prevailing opinion or feeling, within a people group or locale.
Thoughts and feelings produce a climate that is both internal, within the mind and heart and external, within our contexts. I believe that this climate needs to be ‘barometered!’
A daily checking of this barometer of the climate within our hearts and minds is vital to every kind of health – spiritual, mental, emotional, relational and our potentiality and creativity.
The prevailing climate of our minds and hearts directly affects all aspects of our lives and interactions with others.
As a man thinks within his heart so shall he be. Proverbs 23:7.
The thoughts within our hearts directly affects who we be and all we do, attempt or will not attempt, flows from our being.
In a nutshell all doing or attempting flows out of who we be.
Who we be is built and sustained by prevailing thoughts, feelings and decision, we’ve internalised !
The climate within is directly influencing the atmosphere and weather without.
Ever experienced a feeling of deflation and elation when certain numbers come up on your phone.
Our bodies and emotions reacting to internalised thoughts, which affect our energy levels and attitudes.
I am reading a classic book about enthusiasm and how it is a vital part of wholeness and soundness of being when I come across a discipline of mind and heart the author called mental ventilation!
It fascinated and then resonated with me and I realised that I used to practice this discipline but had let it slip.
The core dynamics the author shared where of lumping and dropping those thoughts and feelings that like toxic gases affect our inner climate.
It reminds me of the truth of Proverbs 14:30 – a heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones!
Peace and envy are strong feelings and thoughts that give or take from us at the bones and body levels.
We cannot let enthusiasm in when the inner climate is being controlled by dark, gloomy and negative thoughts. Hate, prejudice, resentment, bitterness, cynicism will blanket our inner minds and hearts and we will have a greenhouse effect building within.
Is it time we ‘opened a window’ in our life?
Is it time to ventilate and change the climate?
In the book the author is struggling mentally and meets a man he knows who always seems to have a underlining enthusiasm but not the smiley annoying type!
He asks him how he manages this attitude and the answers he daily ventilates his mind.
His discipline, which was always before he went to sleep passed through three stages –
Through stage one the man briefly went over the unpleasant instances of the day: sharp words, insinuations or harsh or hostile acts said and done by others.
Stage two he reviewed his own mistakes, errors our stupidities. He then added any disappointments, frustrations and every form of unhappiness. Having lumped all these together, he dropped them from his mind. He let them go and let in fresh air!
This practice reminded me of two core passages that command disciples to ‘get rid’ of certain thoughts and emotions. Eph 4:31 & Col 3:8
Through this discipline of mental lumping and dropping I would add something – forgiveness.
The daily practice of forgiving others and myself is vital to all aspects and levels of health.
The English are obsessed with the weather.
This Englishman isn’t.
I am a ‘disciplined barometer checker of the climate within!’
I daily open a window because I do not desire an inner greenhouse climate!