Some people walk around as though they’re bulletproof until they find out they aren’t the hard way. No matter how often we are lovingly warned to be watchful, weary, discerning, and wise, we always assume it’s for someone other than ourselves.
Sure, if anyone thinks he stands, take heed lest he falls, but I’m not just anyone. Technically speaking, you are. Anyone is everyone and men with greater wisdom, insight, and awareness than you or I were also humble enough not to lean on their own understanding.
It’s hard to stay humble when you believe you’re the apple of God’s eye and heir to cattle on hills, even though you drive a beat-up Astro van. You’re just waiting for the reading of the will, that’s all, then you’ll show everyone how special you are. Those who know, know, and everyone else can just keep praying that God’s will be done in their lives.
Vision board your way to health, wealth, and happiness. It’s the new Christianity, and seven out of ten sleazebags agree it’s better than the old way. The other three do as well, but just secretly.
It’s the folks that don’t believe they can falter, be deceived, or make a bad move that often find themselves at the bottom of a pit, wondering how they got there. It’s the people that don’t watch where they step because they think they are walking on air that slip on the pebble or twist an ankle stepping the wrong way into a burrow.
We are repeatedly warned that we have an enemy that seeks our destruction because his devices are dangerous and effective, not because we are immune from them. If we’re both walking down a path and I repeatedly point and say look out for that ditch, and you ignore me and just keep going, you can’t blame me for falling into the ditch, just as you can’t blame God for falling into the enemy’s snare.
Men who plan and strategize battles have said that underestimating your enemy is the quickest way to lose a skirmish. As Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War, if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. More believers than we want to imagine are in the third camp, wherein they neither know themselves nor the enemy, but their arrogance is such that they insist they don’t need to know anything, anyway.
Yes, I know it wasn’t a quote from Ignatius, Tertullian, Origen, or Justin Martyr, but it doesn’t make it any less true. I’ve read Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, Kierkegaard, and Epicurus as well, and there are some interesting nuggets in their writings, also. Philosophy, wisdom, truth, and godliness are not exclusive of each other; they are complimentary and conjoined.
That’s not to say some thinkers such as Marx or Machiavelli shouldn’t be avoided like the plague, but overall, reading the musings of men of superior intellect who lived and died long before your time is humbling. Take someone like Thomas Aquinas or Francis Bacon, and the richness of their thoughts is such that they can only be consumed in small sittings to be genuinely appreciated.
Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. That is what the Lord requires of you, and the practice and perfection of those three things can take a lifetime to master. I know that’s not something we want to hear or entertain.
Most people want to skip to the head of the class because they believe that’s where all the cool stuff happens. You graduate cum laude, and then you can rub elbows with the big dogs, do conferences with influencers, be a mover, a shaker, and a kingdom connector, not just someone who walks humbly with their God.
But that’s all the Lord requires of you! To walk humbly with Him, to love mercy, and do justly. If further service is required, further instruction will be given. God didn’t misplace your number, and He didn’t lose your address. He knows how to get in touch; of this, you can be confident.
Impatience, however, will make you step out on your own, outside God’s protection, and that’s where the wild things are. When you are no longer in the will of God and thus no longer under the shadow of His wing, you learn quickly how susceptible you are to the slings and arrows of the enemy. You learn that you are not immune.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.