Were this blog to have been written just a few short hours earlier, I can assure you the content would be remarkably different than what I am about to write. It’s incredible to think about the fact that many of us have been only a few short “however” “therefore” and “But, God..” moments away from impending peril and despair. It is in these moments that I’ve come to realize just how dependent we really are on the Creator. How unfortunate it must be to have the mindset that all glory and honor is due to mankind, rather than its Creator. This is where Rand made a grave mistake. But that is a blog for another time…
The concept of being a modern-day warrior has been on my mind. As I have struggled to loosen the mental tie, wrapped around my mind, in order to better understand what it truly means to be a warrior. I’ve battled the fact that our fights are no longer fought with swords, spears, and brute force but with pens, legal documents, and quick-witted professional representation to protect those who are incapable of doing so on their own behalf. I’ve been saddened by the loss of struggles, fights, and battles that would do one the honor of eliminating their existence if they are not fit to succeed. It must seem like a cruel world to be capable of living a life plagued by endless defeat.
These thoughts have gone through my mind and made me wonder what must be done to free the mind of the warrior that exists within every man and human being who desperately longs to live a life of victorious conquest and glory. It is for the people who crave the grand stadium entrance, while feeling as if they will never leave the confines of the locker room. It is for those who wonder what it would be like to have a champion moment; looking over something that was once unconquered, now being tamed by the might of your proverbial sword. For the men who long for the moments where they can prove their bravado and courage to the woman they love, while being confined in a world where a simple punch, thrown, can trigger a frivolous lawsuit. I have been wondering how to unleash the inner fire that longs to consume great moments of testing, uncertainty, and conflict. Perhaps it may be time to loosten the tie, remove our symbolic cufflinks, and pick up the sword that all of us were meant to carry. This is where my personal “But God…” moment begins:
If I were to tell you that my mind has been at perfect peace about the future, I would be guilty of deception. Were I to tell you that I stepped confidently in the path I am on, I would also be guilty. Were I to tell you that I have walked morally upright and kept my eyes solely on God, I would not be speaking truthfully. These past few weeks, for me, have been a challenging time that has caused me to internally realize the necessity to reclaim ground that has been lost. As I’ve seen myself go from polished victor to distraught coward, the transition has been very costly for me.
My spirit has been groaning to once again be in tune with the LORD. With repeated instances of failure to live up to the High Calling, I had become discouraged about many aspects of my life. Disconnected and well-aware of my circumstances, I knew a change had to take place. This moment needed to be intentional; taking full responsibility of all mistakes, actions, and failures to live up to my calling. It was the moment that screamed: “Get out of bed, Aaron Michael Plaat! Rise up, mighty warrior!” And yet, I had intentionally hit the figurative snooze button on this calling. Time passes quickly and we are not promised equal quantities of it. With the realization my senses had been dulled, my will was weakened, and my eyes swayed from their laser focus on the Mark of the High Calling, it was time to change.
If any warrior is to ever be created, there must exist a moment where an intentional decision is made to pick up the pace of your calling. If you long for the goals of a ripped body, you must intentionally put down the Ho-Ho’s and start to hit the gym. No great cities came to existence by a mind who failed to put thought to action. The path of a warrior is no different. You long to be a conquerer? Good job, champ! So does everybody else. What separates the men from the boys in this regard is what you do with this desire. Are you willing to act, prepare, and step into the battlefield? First, you have to get out of bed.
Great journeys are started with one step. If you ever wish to make big changes to your life, ensure that you can successfully make small changes. Don’t set out to cut down the forest if you have yet to fall a small pine tree.
It was the start of making an intentional choice that changed my perspective. Sitting outside, in the peaceful calm of Mirror Lake, I read from Matthew 5 and 6, digesting each verse as I read it. Rather than skim through, I took time to meditate on each verse, pondering what it meant and how it could be applicable to me. Through doing this, I was given clarity and much-needed guidance. Once I had read, I realized it was time to take a moment to be still and ponder what God was hoping to teach me.
When you seek advice and guidance, you must know how to shut up and listen.
Quite clearly, I was given an image. First, it was a shield, capable of protecting the full length of a human being. Meditating on this, I began to see that there was a man carrying the shield on the back while he was running forward with great speed. Still meditating, I saw the shield become littered with arrows that were coming from behind the running man. When the man reached his destination; the next battle he was to fight, he pulled the shield from his back and into the forward position, protecting him from the enemy he was advancing upon. Without a second glance, he noticed the arrows and charged into battle with the confidence that he had been protected.
As I pondered this, I began to ask the LORD what the meaning behind this depiction was. And I was quickened with the understanding. The shield was the LORD (Psalm 28:7) and I was the warrior, running. There were not others running with me because this fight was not meant to be fought by many. The arrows that were shot at the back of my shield were situations and circumstances that God has – and will – protect me from, even without my knowledge of His divine protection (Ephesians 6:16). The purpose of my running was because the battle to be fought is one that will take discipline, determination, patience, and courage to finally reach. Once arriving at this battle, I knew there was no hesitation or fear from seeing the arrows I had been spared from. Instead, they were there to give me a renewed sense of courage and determination that the battle was not mine, but the LORD’s (2 Chronicles 2:15). And it was in this moment that I had the full confidence, assurance, and boldness to proclaim Romans 8:35:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?“
You see, this verse is one of the strongest cries of battle that any warrior can ever proclaim. It was not meant to be politely sung as a hymn, accompanied by a dusty organ, but to be proclaimed by the warrior who rushes into even the most ferocious of battles. It is the piercing scream that shakes the very bones of those who hear it. And it is the forewarning of incoming death and defeat for all who stand in the path of this warrior. This cry of predetermined victory is the backbone and strength of those that have felt the tug of a warrior on their heart. It is the acknowledgement that our fight is not one we will fight alone, but with the strength, might, and protection of the LORD our God.