Train to Live on Mission – Week 17

Battle Drill #17:

Establish a Strong Defense!

Proverbs 10:9-12 (NAS95)


Today, we are going to walk through the four action steps of a soldier’s training routine to learn the next battle drill – “Establish a Strong Defense!”


Action Step #1) Know the Field Manual.

The battle drill we are going to learn and apply this week is from Proverbs 10:9-12:


He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out. He who winks the eye causes trouble, and a babbling fool will be ruined. The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.


To better understand how I am applying this Scripture, you need to hear these verses in their context, as a part of the whole of Proverbs 10. Read from the Bible. This is what the Field Manual says, let’s now take the second action step to learn how to apply today’s battle drill to our everyday lives as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.


Action Step #2) Train together as one unit.

While Proverbs was written by King Solomon, I’m not sure if Solomon did a great job of personally living out the wisdom that he was given by God to rule Israel and to pass on to others through his wisdom literature.
As I’ve been studying his life through my writing of daily devotions in the book of 1 Kings, and then sharing those with you through the daily phone calls, I am reminded that it was Solomon’s bad decisions in his personal life that led to his ultimate fall, as explained in 1 Kings 11:1-6:


Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done.


Ironically, the very words of Solomon in Proverbs 10:9 are illustrated through Solomon’s life, “He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.” God was angry with Solomon because “his heart was turned away from the Lord” (1 Kings 11:9) and God judged Solomon accordingly in 1 Kings 11:11-13:


So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”


Solomon had taken steps to ensure a strong national defense through the vanquishing of enemies, successful treaties, successful administration of his kingdom, and a strong conscription program for the temple project. But Solomon did not set up a strong personal defense against his own flesh! As my friend recently said to me, “It is so easy to busy ourselves with perfecting what is visible, to the detriment of that which is invisible.” Solomon missed that his true enemy’s strategy was subtle, and that evil had a foothold in his heart! We must learn from Solomon’s positive words, and, also, from his negative example. Paul explains about the enemy within in Romans 7:14-25, from whom we all need to establish a strong defense:


For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.


A significant reality of establishing a strong defense is to forsake the three major forces of the fall that must be brought into submission to God’s will – the devil, the structures and systems of this present age that are in rebellion against God (i.e., the world), and the flesh (our self-will that seeks to make life work out on its own terms). We have spent time, and will continue to spend time, learning how the battle drills of a good soldier must be trained into our lives so that we live a victorious life and not be distracted or derailed by either of these three forces.


From today’s chapter, Proverbs 10:29 states, “The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the upright, but ruin to the workers of iniquity.” To keep God first and foremost in our lives is to make Him our stronghold, and that is the greatest defense against the devil, the world, and the flesh. To do so we must learn to live for the approval of God alone and not be so easily seduced by lesser things. That takes us to the third action step of being a good soldier of Jesus Christ.


Action Step #3) Seek the Commander’s approval.

According to 1 Corinthians 10:12-14, Paul teaches us that we have a way of victory in every situation, which means there is nothing that can prevail against us, no enemy, external and internal, that can defeat us in God’s stronghold:


Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.


What is essential about this truth is that the victory is not from us, but from God – He is our stronghold. God provides the way of escape so that we can persevere to the end. But we must choose His way and the key to that is that we must have our eyes and ears, hearts, and minds, open to seeing God’s way of victory. Often, the way of escape is well before the potential threat even appears, and we must faithfully walk in the way of Jesus, daily, so that we don’t walk down the wrong street through bad decision making. As I’ve taught you before, sometimes it’s too late to ask, “WWJD” because Jesus never would have allowed Himself in that dangerous situation in the first place. The way of victory was in not taking the exit ramp of the flesh – stay in the easy yoke of Jesus! Paul makes this clear in Galatians 5:16-26, as he teaches us the training regimen of a soldier for Jesus to set up God as our strong defense against the enemy within, our flesh:


But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.


Do you remember what God said about Solomon at the conclusion of his life? It was the exact opposite of God’s verdict of his father, David’s life! David was a man after God’s own heart; whereas, in 1 Kings 11:9, “the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord.” Once again, it is ironic that it was Solomon who wrote in Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”


It was not for lack of wisdom that Solomon fell, it was from his disobedience to God’s ways in the most intimate places of his life – he didn’t watch over his heart with all diligence! Maturity as a Christian is not in how much Bible information you have in your head, but how much of what you know gets in your heart and establishes God as the stronghold of your life! Because Solomon did not guard his heart, the enemy got a foothold through his lust, ultimately making his heart a place of idol worship. It is only when our hearts are the throne room of God, His stronghold, that we can establish a rescue mission for God in this world. That takes us to the last action step.


Action Step #4) Live on mission.

It’s only by God’s strength that we can CM – continue the mission that Jesus Christ came for. As Zechariah 4:6 declares, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” We must pray for the Father’s purposes (God’s will) to be done in us through the Holy Spirit so that God’s will can be done through us in Jesus’ name!


This cannot be done by our own power! In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus commanded his disciples to pray in Matthew 26:36-41 because He knew the flesh was weak:


Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


If Jesus couldn’t fulfill His mission on Earth apart from prayer and the Spirit’s consolation of His spirit, then how much more do we need to pray and seek the power of the Holy Spirit to empower us to preserve in the mission? Paul confirmed Jesus’ words in Galatians 3:3, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”


The best defense you can establish for this life and the life to come is to put your faith in Jesus Christ. It is only by believing that you can do anything to further the Kingdom of God on Earth; to do the Lord’s will on Earth as it is in Heaven. Jesus explained this to us in 1 John 5:4-5, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”


Jesus promised the way of victory will come with tribulations, but don’t fear, find rest in the easy yoke of Jesus, and walk in the Spirit – His way of victory is belief. This is how you establish a strong defense. Make this battle drill a reflexive, instinctive, and habitual part of your Christian life so that you can CM – Continue the Mission! Therefore, live on mission today and train the battle drill of the week for the glory of God. Let us pray.


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