Holding the High Ground
There are 2 unique disciplines when it comes to taking the high ground. One is the man who can charge up the hill and fight like mad to take control of it. The other is the man who has the discipline to hunker down for the long hall and hold his territory. If you have been reading any of my previous blogs I assume you already concluded I am more of the charge the hill kinda guy. Charging the hill comes natural to me, holding it takes patients and the ability to keep a steady focus on the immediate task at hand over the long haul. As I have told my wife for years, "I have lots of patience because I have never used them".........a slight overstatement but not far from the truth.
When I was operating as a building contractor I frequently referred to myself as a 90% guy. You may know the type. I am the guy who can get push the the job up to completion but getting it across the finish line sometimes takes a different skill set. As a builder I was great at taking a project from conception all the way up to completion but when it came time for the final punch list of pick up items I always brought in a specialist who would knock off every item on the list with no problem. For me the punch list was like a daily root canal. I hated punch lists because by that time I was ready to move on. I was ready to charge another hill and go after the high ground again.
In a real war situation I can imagine that after a hard fought battle to take the high ground there was the desire to flop down in order to rest and recover. A natural reaction to enjoy the hard work that was just completed. Relating this to our personal lives there are spiritual battles that feel like we have fought to take the high ground and once achieved we can justify a break because we deserve it, right? Sorry to say but you are still in the battle so suck it up and get ready for the next wave of the enemies attacks but this time instead of being on the march your are on the watch. Keep in mind the battle is now different, you now hold the strategic advantage against the enemy because your head is above the clouds and you can now see things far differently than before. When you were fighting your way up the hill to capture the high ground putting one foot in front of the other was hard work and you were taking hits each step of the way. The enemy never expected you to make it to the high ground and now that you have you need to be prepared to not give an inch. The weapons of the enemy may look different but they all have the same purpose. To swamp you with discouragement and to whisper lies into your head that you really aren’t different and you are kidding yourself that you can hold the high ground. He wants you to believe that given enough time you will soften, throw down your weapons and say “who was I kidding I am the same guy I’ve always been and will NEVER change.” The battle rages on. The reality is the battle is constant. For this reason we need other brothers to hold our arms up because he knows we will become complacent as we tire and when we do he will pounce on us and our family. It is as if he can smell when we are tired and weak like a shark can smell blood in the water he will be all over us.
Just today I met with my brother Scotty to reconnect and admit my concern about myself being able to hold the high ground spiritually. With over 30 years of a track record of taking the hill and then slipping back into old patterns my spiritual footing has a tendency to becomes shaky given enough time where I am forced to operate in my weakness of holding ground rather than taking it.
The past year of taking the hill has been hard, constant and exhilarating all at the same time. Now that some of the dust has settled from taking the hill I have had more time to look back and observe where I came from. I recognize I do not want to return to my past but I am uneasy about what it will take to stand my ground. You see I know myself too well and my propensity to lose my footing, grow impatient and ramp up the unrealistic expectations of myself. Although I have recently traversed more territory than anytime in the past I do not want to allow the door of disappointment to swing wide open ever again.
Relate this story to David's life when he encountered Bathsheba. David had reached the high ground, he was now king. Upon doing so, David became complacent and instead of leading his troops into battle, like he should have been, he stayed behind and found himself lusting over Bathsheba from the rooftop.
2 Samuel 11:2 "One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful"
Had David been truly holding his high ground he would have been in battle. Instead he was lounging around his palace being complacent. Obviously, we all know how that story ends, David came crashing down morally and spiritually as he had one of his mighty men, Uriah the husband of Bathsheba, killed in battle in an attempt to cover his tracks. What a sad outcome for a man who experienced such incredible achievements.
My friend Jeremy recently described how there are periods he feels completely weak in times of battle. He stated ”sometimes I feel like I am running out into the battle in my underwear." Doesn’t that describe us well at times? There we are standing in the middle of the battlefield in our boxers holding the equivalent of a spiritual BB gun surrounded by an enemy that is ready to rip us apart. How does that happen? How do we go from being a lion slayer and feeling spiritually dangerous one week to the next where we get distracted and find ourselves standing in our underwear on the battlefield ready to get mauled? The answer is simple. In the busy world in which we live we can quickly find ourselves cut away from the herd and separated from the defenses of our spiritual backing and covering.
The enemy knows we can be easily distracted especially when we have a little time to ourselves or get consumed by daily living. We get comfy in our surroundings, kick back and take a well earned break. Well earned in our own minds and that is what the enemy waits patiently for. He has no incentive to hurry because he is banned to hell for eternity so everyday is the same misery for him and his minions. Conversely, for us each day is another day closer to our final destination of eternity in heaven. There in lies the constant battle. The enemy is jealous, spiteful and absolutely uncaring about us as believers. He hates us and we are his enemy permanently with no chance of a peace treaty between us. We need to live daily knowing that is the reality. The good news is that the enemy thinks he can convince us that we are outnumbered and we will eventually lose the battle. That is where we have the strategic advantage to hold the high ground because we actually are never outnumbered by satan and his forces of evil.
As Moses was eventually "timing out" at 120 years of age he instructed the people of Israel that Joshua was going to lead them across the Jordan and into the promise land in.
Deut 31: 4-6 "And the Lord will do to them what he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom he destroyed along with their land. 5 The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you".
We can hold the high ground and Christ has given us the weapons that can and will overcome the enemy. It is finished, end of story, game over. Stand firm because as followers of Christ we are on the winning team and the game ends when we can spike the damn ball in the end zone and due the victory dance on the enemy’s grave. Until then keep charging the hill and when you capture it hold your ground.
1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."
As men let us remain strong and hold our ground.