We are at war! There’s no doubt about it. Jesus said in John 16:33 “In this life you will have trouble.” We are at war. Some days I’m strong, I’m dressed in armor, I’m ready to fight, I’m a Strong Soldier. Other days I’m weak or on vacation, I have no desire to fight a war, I’m a Weak Warrior.
On the days that I am strong, the days that I am ready for battle…the days I have “eyes to see and ears to hear” (Matthew 13:16). I can “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). I can “heal the sick and set the captives free” (Luke 4:1). I can “rebuke the devourer” (Mal. 3:11) on and on. On the days that I don’t feel like putting on my armor or the enemy has beaten it to a shred and I can feel the pain of every blow….not so much. I may start to make agreements with my enemy; “It’s not worth it,” “This is too hard,” “He/she is such a jerk! If they’d change my life would be better!,” “Why can’t I just disappear?”
Same person….different day, different battle. Strong Soldier or Weak Warrior. We are supposed to love one another as Christ loves us (John 15:12). How then, did Christ love us? He spoke words of truth even though they hurt. He rebuked Peter saying “Get behind me Satan” (Mathew 16:23). He believed in people that others did not, like Zacchaeus a tax collector that others rejected but Jesus befriends and calls him to more (Luke 19:1-10). He stands up for the persecuted woman who is caught in sexual sin and is dragged before Jesus to be judged and he replies “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7). On and on he does the strong thing, the hard thing, but he DOES NOT shrink back, he DOES NOT do the “nice” thing or the “politically correct thing,” on a Strong Soldier day, you must do this too!
On a Weak Warrior day, we can barely get out of bed. We can’t fight for ourselves, let alone others. We lose heart, we forget our glory, we’re blind to the goodness in ourselves and others. We make agreements with the enemy and vows that send our lives in desperate directions that lead to failure and shame. We need a Strong Soldier to come along side us and help us through, “Bear ye one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2).
It would be great if we could always be strong, always see and speak the truth, if we didn’t live in a fallen world and if the battle was over, but we can’t and we don’t and it’s not. We are called to love one another as Christ loves us (John 15:12). So on the days that you are a Strong Soldier, it’s up to you to fight along side or even for the Weak Warrior. Sometimes that means you’ll pray for them. Sometimes you’ll have to speak truth to them. Sometimes you will have to choose to be kind vs. being nice. Sometimes you’ll have to give an encouraging word. Sometimes you’ll have to show tough love. Because that’s what Strong Soldiers are to do for Weak Warriors.
If you see a soldier who was once strong, in a place of weakness; making mistakes, missing it, agreeing with the enemy, ready to give up, recognize this for what it is! It’s not that the solder is a hypocrite! They are wounded in the war! Now is YOUR turn to fight for him! Now is not the time to say “Look at him, he was so high and mighty yesterday, telling me how to live my life, now he gets what he deserves!” NO! Remember that we’re all in a war! Remember that we are to love one another, fight for one another, lay down our lives for one another.
When you are a Weak Warrior look for and invite a Strong Soldier to speak truth to you, to nourish you and fight for you. It’s no time to be embarrassed or ashamed, it’s time to lean on your brothers and/or sisters! Strong Soldier, be careful when you encounter a Weak Warrior. Do not judge them saying, “If you had done this or that you wouldn’t be in this situation” or “if you do this or that you can be strong like me!” NO! Soon you will be weary of the battle and you will need a safe place to land, a friend to carry you through. When you’re a Strong Soldier and a Weak Warrior comes to you with their weak heart, don’t jump in with all your problems and hurts and allow the enemy to steal your joy, your victory or your strength! Stand strong in the power of his might (Eph. 6:10)! Be strong for your friend.
We are at war! But Jesus, our King, says “do not fear for I have overcome the world, ” (John 16:33). Take heart all you soldiers of the Lord! “Fight the good fight! Finish the race” (2 Tim. 4:7)! “Be not weary in well doing” (Gal. 6:9). Also, “Bear ye one another burdens,” (Gal. 6:2) and “spur one another on” (Heb. 10:24)!