Jesus told His disciples, "follow me."
"Follow you where?" Would have been the obvious and fair question.
"To the unknown," would have been His answer.
Much like Jehovah's dealings with our spiritual father, Abraham, who was told to leave home but not where that would lead him, this was the offer Christ made to His disciples, "I don't want you picking and choosing the ways and places you're willing to follow Me. I want carte blanche access to your will. Follow Me...period."
Pioneers of change can't be those who need the security of the familiar. They are trailblazers, not trail-followers. The rules haven't changed. Uncommon and unqualified commitment, combined with a willingness to take risks, is what Christ requires; and it is an absolutely essential characteristic for those He uses as change-agents.
All trailblazers and pioneers must have this type of dedication. The challenges are simply too great, the adversity too strong for light-hearted, shallow commitment. Change-agents must be "all in," or they will most certainly "back out."
A non-advancing church in America has turned to routine, to living in the safety of the familiar, rather than moving into the challenges of cultural and societal transformation. Such a mindset produces what I call "gazelle Christians." The African gazelle can jump fairly high and up to 30 feet in distance, yet can be confined in zoos with only a 3-foot high wall! The reason? Gazelles won't jump if they can't see where their feet will land. Like these timid, captive creatures, we will never escape our man-made walls and religious enclosures if we are controlled by a fear of the unknown.
Leave the familiar!
Finding the old road will require highly committed spiritual leaders - not only from those working in the church - but also from those employed in secular arenas. Far too often we separate biblical ideals and principles from the secular realm. This is unbiblical. God's principles are applicable to all aspects of life and culture. Saving America's destiny will require radically committed, spiritual pioneers in government, education, business, and every other sector of American life - not just in our churches.
Ronald Reagan was a secular leader who modeled radical commitment. Though serving in government, he was also a spiritual man. Combining spirituality, patriotism, and uncommon commitment, he was an example of the pioneer spirit. Only a person with radical commitment would stand on the world stage and against the advice of all his advisors, forcefully decree, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” (1)
Although he made this audacious statement while President in 1987, the seeds of a pioneer were growing in Mr. Reagan much earlier. On October 27, 1964, he issued the following poignant decree: "They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is right."(2)
May God give America more Ronald Reagan's!
His words remind me of those in 2 Corinthians 11:3, "But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." Simple devotion. Simple answers. Doing the right thing isn't usually complicated - sometimes costly, yes, but not complicated.
General George Patton was also a man of uncommon commitment. I love his heart. Patton's language was strong and raw, but it simply reflected his passion. And the intensity of his passionate heart always propelled him forward. In one difficult battle, when told by his officers of the need to retreat, Patton is quoted as saying, "Retreat, hell, we'll advance to the rear."
You gotta love it.
Winston Churchill led Great Britain and helped save the world from Hitler's Third Reich. What an important, committed leader he was. Led by his passion, determination, and amazing ability to communicate, England fought the good fight against Hitler when it looked like the Nazis were unstoppable. One of Churchill's many poignant quotes from that time was about duty: "The destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits - not animals. There is something going on... which, whether we like it or not, spells duty" (italics mine). (3)
Likewise, whether we like it or not, there are challenges in America today that spell "duty." Abortion spells duty. A spiritually lost generation spells duty. Gender confusion, an exploding sex trade, an anti-Christ spirit and attitude, an attack on traditional marriage, a compromising church - all of these, and many more problems in the world are issuing duty's call. God is asking for difference-makers to arise who are willing to find the old road of service, commitment, and sacrifice.
A while back, I read the compelling book, Lone Survivor, by Marcus Luttrell. It is the story of the greatest loss ever suffered, up to that point in time, by the US Navy SEALs. Uncommon commitment is an understatement when describing the warriors in all of our special forces. I spent much time quietly and solitarily thinking about what I was reading. Among other things, I analyzed my level of commitment to Christ's great cause. Do I demonstrate the same level of commitment to Him those brave soldiers did to one another and to their cause? Just as the king in scripture, I felt I was "weighed in the balances and found wanting." (see Daniel 5:27)
Most of us will never have to endure the physical pain and suffering those brave men endured, nor could we. But at a heart level, we should possess the same degree of commitment to Christ and His cause, including to this nation He raised up to be a light to the world. As I read portions of the SEALs' creed, I couldn't help but think parts of it should be the Christian's creed. I have included all of it here for you to read. But I will read a few portions.
In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our nation's call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America's finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life. I am that man.
My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of My chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.
My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.
I serve with Honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of the circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.
We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders, I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.
I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.
We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me - my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.
We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.
Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammate steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed.
I will not fail. (4)
Committed hearts like this in the church would change the world!
Committed, spiritual special forces must rise up with their spiritual weapons before it is too late. We’re in critical condition, on life-support. Having denied our Godly roots and the stability they provided, America is now adrift in the mooring-less ideologies of humanism and relativism. The same idiocy that shuts down industries and food sources in order to save frogs, also fights to kill babies. Marriage between one man and one woman is mocked, while "marriage" between two men or two women is praised. The Constitution and its true intent are ignored. Depending on the source, Americans now acknowledge 60 or more gender options; so much for “male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
We've lost our way. It is time for a generation of Godly, patriotic, committed pioneers to arise and lead us out of this maze of mindless ideas. If not, we will perish in the wilderness. I believe, however, these warriors are being raised up. And like the SEALs, they will NEVER quit!...they are NEVER out of the fight!...their training is NEVER complete!...they will NOT fail!
Pray with me:
Father, as You move us into this great worldwide awakening we pray that a new commitment to Your cause is an outflow of it. A total commitment to You, Your kingdom and the commission You gave us. Raise up committed spiritual warriors in every realm of society. Just as natural soldiers must have discipline and a commitment to their cause, put hearts in us that will demonstrate these same qualities.
We pledge to You that we will follow You without conditions. We will go where You send us, say what You tell us, and do as You command us. Unqualified commitment - that is what we will demonstrate.
Lead us back to the old road of truth and life. Lead America back to her righteous roots, her destiny. Thank You for cutting us off from the evil in our past. We boldly declare: America shall be saved!
We decree that we will never quit, we are never out of the fight, and we will not fail!
Today’s post was taken from my book The Way Back.
Click on the link below to watch the full prayer.
Reagan, Ronald. Address at the Brandenburg Gate. 12 June, 1987.
Coffey, Major T., Jr. Patriot hearts: An anthology of American patriotism. (Colorado Springs, CO: Purple Mountain Publishing, 2000). 68.
Naval Special Warfare Command. “SEAL Ethos?Creed.” (November 15, 2010). http://www.public.navy.mil?nsw?Pages?EthosCreed.aspx