I was reminded of something important last night. We all have our own stories to tell. We have our own individual trials. We all have our own dreams and desires. What God has placed in my life will not be like yours and what he has placed in your life will not be like mine.
It was last night that all of this came to me. It was a typical late night talking with a friend. Nothing unusual and I was about to head home, but for some reason I decided to stay for a little longer, walk the dog with him, and return a library book.
We walked and things were normal as ever until we ran into an old acquaintance during our walk. Normally we would have said hello and been on our way, but our old acquaintance was drunk and looked liked he was about to get into a fight with some unsavory gentlemen. So, we stepped in and made sure that scenario didn’t play out.
It wasn’t dramatic, just a simple hand on our old acquaintance’s shoulder and we led him away from the trouble he was about to get into. It was good and it gave us an opportunity to catch up. It also gave our old acquaintance an opportunity to be honest about his struggles. He talked about people’s expectations for him, especially his families’ expectations. Suddenly I felt blessed to have such a supportive family.
As he talked I realized the root of his problem. He had put somethings in front of God. He had forgotten his heritage through Jesus.
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.
Our old acquaintance went on and on about what people expected of him. That was all he cared about, winning the approval of his family. Their approval was more important that being a child of God to him.
We all come across things in our lives that we tend to put before God. Sometimes it is how people perceive us, sometimes it is money, sometimes it is our job, or something tangible. I have seen people praise sports teams, celebrities, musicians, and even their cars.
But we need to take a moment and remember our heritage. Despite our situations, trials, or lifestyles, God still remains our heavenly father. We should never put anything before him. He needs to be the center of our lives and hearts. Otherwise, we will only chase shadows. We will be seeking approvals and endorsements from this world and they will never fill our heart.
Not only should we remember that we are children of God, but that we have been approved by him. No matter what the world may say about us, God will always see us as approved. We should never seek the approval of the world, but seek to please God in all of our ways. He is our true heritage. Our heritage doesn’t come from his world. It comes from Christ.
1 Thessalonians 2:4
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the glad tidings (the Gospel), so we speak not to please men but to please God, Who tests our hearts [expecting them to be approved].
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds.
We all will struggle in our lives. There is little debate that life isn’t hard. Sin is apart of the world and the devil rallies against us everyday. He wants us to seek the things that do not please God. It could be the approval of others, escapism through video games or sports, and even drugs and alcohol.
There are many things in this world that will distract us from the war that is at hand. We need to be very aware that there is a war taking place. We can not see it, but we participate in it everyday. We need to take up spiritual arms and fight alongside God, though.
When we were talking to our old acquaintance I was reminded that it is very easy to give up that fight. When we stop praying, reading scripture, and seeking Christ we go AWOL. Christ is fighting for us, but we’ll be lost from the battle if we do not fight along with him.
Spiritual warfare is a very real and serious thing. You have to stretch your imagination to understand that demons attack us with evil thoughts, but they do. Our defense is Christ, but to reach him we must pray and stay in the word. We are at war. That makes us warriors. It is a war that had been won, though. When we are putting the approval of others or attempting to escape out struggles we are trying to leave the battle and expecting God to do it on his own.
It is our battle, too. He has it won for us, but victory will not be yours unless you fight by his side.
We loose our identity when we forget our heritage. We lose the fight when we ignore the war.
When my old acquaintance was done talking I realized that he had no sense of direction or purpose. I have been there and gone through those dark times, too. So, I asked him, “Do you believe God is your father?”. He said, “Yes”. Then I asked, “Do you believe that God is King?”. He said, “Yes.” My last question was, “Do you believe we are apart of a spiritual war?”. He answered, “Yes.”
I told him, “If you are the son of a God that is King then that makes you a prince. And if you believe you are in a spiritual war that makes you a warrior. Those two identities together make you a warrior prince.”
I’ve written about the idea of the warrior prince over a year ago, but it came back to me in this moment. My old acquaintance was missing his identity. I hope my words gave him one. Even in our darkest hours, we will always remain prince and princesses of a warrior king. A God that loves unconditionally and can redeem anything. He loved us and came not to condemn us, but to set us free.
We need to fight against the darkness. The evil thoughts that can plague our minds. We need to seek God and remember our heritage. No matter what our story looks like, we all are children of God. A God that fights for us and with us. That is who we are and when we are fighting, we are winning. No matter how hopeless it feels, every situation is always redeemable.
Your identity is in Christ. Your heritage comes from him. Because of that you have a greater purpose than this world can fulfill. Every time you pray, you are fighting evil. Every time you believe in scripture, you are fighting evil. So, keep up the good fight. Embrace your identity as a royal warrior and seek the things that please God.