Preface to my new book, “Teach Me How To Fight”
Like so many of the people of my generation, fueled by images of wealth, power and status, my motivation was to squeeze this life dry of all the things that were seemingly denied to many people in my family and circle of friends. I wanted to be somebody! I was so determined to try to be the best at whatever I put my hands to. All I needed was for someone to tell me that I couldn’t do it, and that’s all the motivation in the world that I needed.
That was such an unhealthy attitude…
It didn’t take long for me to realize that the pursuit of the brass ring was indeed possible but disappointingly unfulfilling. Living in poverty as a child made me want more things. I wanted my family to be able to live in relative comfort and enjoy some of the perks of life. With focus and determination, I was able to do that at a fairly young age, becoming a Vice President in a national banking institution. From the outside, we looked like the family you see on the church fans but on the inside, I was feeling so empty and out of place. And of course, it affected my family.
I was achieving the American dream only to learn that it really wasn’t God’s dream for me, and it was slowly becoming my very private nightmare. I had money but no peace; status but no sense of purpose. God wanted to prove to me that He could “do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” and give me the sense of fulfillment that I so longed for. But like many of you that are reading this, I could hear Him but I just wasn’t quite ready to trust Him completely with my life. I could trust Him to save me from eternal damnation but I just wasn’t quite ready to trust Him with giving me a “life.”
Eventually my resistance began to break down as the private pain of feeling empty began to grow but I still wasn’t quite ready for absolute obedience. I’ve always been a church boy that had an evil twin living inside of him that from time to time just had to indulge himself in the pleasures of the world. (Ha..that’s a nice way of saying that I was rather sneaky growing up!) Because of this tendency, I would find myself trying to foolishly barter with God by doing a little for Him in hopes He’d overlook the disobedience in my life. I eventually learned that God isn’t in the business of compromising His standards, not even for charming, little ol’ me.
Once I finally grew weary of doing things my way, I finally submitted to God and began to reshape my life around His desires for me. And to my surprise, my obedience brought with it such a sense of peace and I finally found…me. And with this discovery came also the sense of responsibility to make sure that my family learned this lesson along with me.
Now that last paragraph sounded pretty rosy and like the beginnings of a Hallmark card, but life has a tendency to be a little uglier than that. Yes, I found a sense of peace in my obedience to God, but this obedience didn’t immune me from life’s struggle. I was at peace with being in love with Jesus, but I was still struggling with day to day choices. I felt as if I was losing more battles than winning. I needed some help.
So I began to pray and the Lord began to reveal to me that my Bible was more than obligatory reading for believers, but it was indeed an instruction manual for approaching ALL aspects of life. It is our Book of Wisdom. The Hebrew word for wisdom is “chokmah” with one of its definition meaning “skillful in warfare.” The Bible teaches me how to fight, but not in the manner I was accustomed. The fight was always waged in my mind each time I was confronted with a choice to be made. So in actuality, the Bible teaches me how to choose.
And that’s exactly what I needed! I needed to know how to become victorious in these daily battles that we simply call decisions. And guess what? It works!! The Bible works!!
So I’m here to share with you some of the lessons I have learned that are very practical and applicable to everyday life. Our God wants to show us how to simply manage life in a way that will be rewarding to us and pleasing to Him. This will be the first of many books in this series and I pray that it blesses you. If it does, please share it with someone else.