THE WARRIOR HEART
The window of the soul is the heart, with wonderfully great complexities that shape and are shaped by the process of our thoughts. Together they are the gateway into our spirits. Within the spirit of man is the potential to connect with God, progressively gaining clarity of who we truly are. More often than not, this spirit to Spirit connection comes in glimmers.
Within that context, I’ve recently been stirred with glimmers bearing on who I was when I came to faith and no doubt still am. I’ve recognized that within these glimmers is a timely wisdom needed among leaders and those with prophetic and intercessory mantles. They offer a glimpse into the heart of God in His response to and positive relationship with key Biblical characters from Moses to Joshua, David to Cyrus, then the Centurion in Jesus’ day, and Cornelius after Jesus’ resurrection.
These glimmers point to the response of the heart of a warrior to God, then the response of God to ones with a genuine warrior heart.
I’ve written a book on “The Heart of a King.” The heart portrayed by the king described in this book is the heart of a warrior, the type of warrior represented by those the Lord has chosen, over the ages, as His game-changers.
Certainly warriors understand dedication. Genuine warriors, seasoned in combat, are ones who understand what it means to be willing to die for what they believe, for the significance of the big-picture of their assigned mission. Seasoned warriors serve and embrace a purpose greater than themselves. Their self-discipline, focus and determination combine to represent lives willing to sacrifice, abandoned of self. These are ones who think differently with a different standard for relationships and their response to the circumstances around them. Skilled in the use of power, they wield authority while discerning and yielding to authority that is real. They understand teamwork and the importance of working together.
Genuine warriors, while being tough and disciplined, are also passionate and tender. They are compassionate leaders. Brutality, rage and cruelty distinguish those who have crossed the line from those who are true, seasoned warriors. True warriors live by a code that is willing to die for their friends.
Among those who have crossed the line are those who have never embraced a purpose greater than themselves. Before you can pursue your purpose, you need to discern your identity. Without it are ones who misuse power and who can slip into conditions driven by fear when confronting the uncertainties of combat. A true warrior has no confusion about their identity or purpose. Confusion bleeds into uncertainty and uncertainty breeds fear.
Yet a genuine warrior is very seldom what we would call fearless. Courageous, most certainly. They simply have disciplined and prepared themselves to face and control their fears. That’s what courage is: the presence of mind to do what is required under indescribable pressure in chaotic conditions, despite your fears. Conquering your fears begins with understanding who you are and the nature of the response to the conflict being faced: identity and purpose.
The reckless fearlessness of Rambo is a fabrication of Hollywood. Glory hounds in combat typically bring about two results: they get others hurt or killed and they don’t tend to last long. Genuine warriors seldom talk about their experiences in battle. It’s the wannabe’s, out of touch with the reality of their identity, who fill a hole in their souls with their “war stories.” There’s something sacred about the experience of cheating death, and more so for those who have done so repeatedly, with the biblical description, by the skin of their teeth.
The Faith of a Warrior
True warriors serve to uphold freedom, as ministers of peace. Biblically, peace or “shalom” is God’s order, not the absence of conflict. There is a cost and a reality to the path of ministers of peace. Those living in lands where religious freedom is at risk understand this.
Early 2008 marked the first talk I gave to a group of Vietnamese believers. It marked my first return to this country since serving as a military advisor with the Vietnamese in the 1960s. After the service, having shared a word that God had given me for this underground congregation, I was introduced to an older man, who was one of their members.
His name was Tran Dam. He was a committed believer. He had been a decorated war hero for the North. He had served with distinction at Dien Bien Phu in the late 1940s with the defeat of the French. He was also the three-star General who brought the troops into Saigon when the Communists took over the South in 1975. Tran Dam’s track record was that of a warrior.
Now as a believer, this man who once had been my arch-enemy was my brother. His life represented one of the most amazing transformed lives I’ve seen in my walk with the Lord. We got to know one another. Although he and his wife spoke no English and I had lost a major part of my grasp of the Vietnamese language, we fellowshipped, a few times even without an interpreter. We simply enjoyed each others’ company. Beyond our mutual faith in the Lord, there was a bond between us, the bond defined by the warrior heart. At one time, this man was considered one of the ten most powerful men in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam today.
Five years prior to my meeting him was a time when doctors had told him his condition was such that he had less than a month to live. His beautiful wife, an underground believer brought her pastor to pray for him. After a faith-filled prayer, Tran Dam bitterly said to this pastor: “Why are you wasting your time? I’m going to die. But if I’m alive in two months, I’ll believe in your God.” He was and he did. And again cheating death, God gave this man another ten years, in service to Him.
Just like the Centurion who met Jesus, Tran Dam encountered the reality of God. As a warrior, he was experienced in the realities of life and death and recognized that a higher authority than the government he had served all his life, was evidenced in the prayer prayed by his wife’s pastor. His response to that authority was the response of one who understood power and authority — the heart I describe in my book, “The Heart of a King.” It was the heart of a warrior after the pattern of Moses, David, Cyrus and Cornelius.
The testimony of the reality of his faith, of the reality of God in his life, had great impact among those in senior military circles in his nation. Yet, this powerful man, who had worked alongside the highest government officials in his nation, now as a believer, gave out a simple business card without any hint of his former exploits, just simply: Tran Dam, Painter. His passion was creating scenes of conflict with the Light of the cross of Jesus emerging to bring change in the midst of the conflict.
The Fine Line
The Apostle Paul talks about the ones who are ever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. There’s a fine line between faith and religion, in the way believers respond to and walk out a call of God. It is defined by the combination of their thinking and their hearts. Just as there is a fine line between a warrior’s heart and those of the wannabe’s, there is also a fine line between the many who are called and few who are chosen. It’s one of the reasons scripture describes Jesus’ response to the Centurion’s faith as Him being astonished, of marveling over the spiritual depth He discerned in the Centurion.
Just as Rambo is a skewed portrayal of the true warrior, so a religious spirit has crept into the church over the centuries. The religious spirit has created an illusion in the identity and purpose of the believer. An unfortunate result is the fine line distinction, the separation in purpose, that has been made between the clergy and the laity. Paul clearly punctuated the importance of the perfection of the saints: for the purpose of the work of the ministry. Jesus took His message of righteous power to the people.
Put a little differently, even among the committed, far too many within the Body are on a treadmill with a mindset focused on training to live a Christian life, without ever confronting and engaging in the realities of the battle underway in the unseen realm. To do so requires the power of God. More so perhaps in the West is a lackadaisical response to the training. It is the reason why ones more gifted than I am prophetically draw the parallel between the modern-day Western Church and the Church of Laodicea.
Becoming a believer involves a progression of training, the purpose of which is not to get to heaven, but rather, according to the Apostle Paul, to do the work of the ministry. It is the training and preparation, for the responses that come second nature when the heat of battle comes suddenly and the pressures are off the charts. This is not the role of the clergy with the laity cheering them on, but instead involves the mobilization of the kingly priests from among the ranks and the priesthood of all true believers.
The Kingdom warrior’s purpose for being is not the training, but bringing order out of the conflict, each within their own sphere and by means of their own gifts and abilities. It involves confronting the realities of the conflict underway with a decisive, courageous heart that knows what to do when the battle manifests and are called to enter the conflict. This includes preparedness, action and the willingness to embrace responsibility in serving one’s purpose. There are no monasteries and no conscientious objectors in the Kingdom Jesus outlined.
The Kingdom warrior requires focus when in battle, of the pursuit of goals higher than self. This means a mind that thinks tactically and is not encumbered by the distractions, designed to render believers weak and powerless, the chief of which scripture describes as “the love of the world, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.” At the core of this mind-set is power, how to employ it and how to respond to it.
Power and Identity
This factor of power was central to Jesus’ message and training of His inner circle: how to employ righteous power in a corrupt world. In all this was the higher-purpose caveat expressed by Jesus that is at the heart of a warrior: “He who loves His life will lose it, but he who shuns his life in this world, will gain it for eternal life.” This is the code of the warrior.
As such, the heart of a warrior has its foundations in their identity. This is discerned through their gifts and the light that is given for their calling, their purpose. Underlying their purpose is the employment of righteous power in corruption settings.
This foundation has them consistently preparing and reaching for their destiny by the progressive unfolding marked by the serving of their purpose. This is what Jesus meant with His words: “You’re going to be in the world, but not of the world.” It bears on our spiritual, Kingdom identity in responding to the world.
The function of leadership of preparing the saints for the work of the ministry will have this focus within the context of the culture defined for all believers. The warrior’s heart is the heart that embraces its cultural identity as the Kingdom.
The way of the Kingdom is where the power resides. This is the power that was evidenced during the time of the early church that scripture describes as: “Great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things, as great signs and wonders and miracles were done.”
Living this paradox of the Kingdom — demonstrating righteous power in corrupt settings — is the path into spiritual maturity. The warrior’s heart that employs righteous power in the face of the cultural corruption all around them is the seasoning required by ones who understand their gifts and the skills needed to employ the right tactics in battle. The predisposition that faces the fears and then acts, is found in the warrior’s heart.
As scripture admonishes: “Be doers of the word [the truth] and not hearers only.” The awareness and preparedness for battle resides in the warrior’s thinking.
Unfortunately, double-minded thinking, promoted by well meaning spiritual teachers and the precepts of men, undermines the awareness and readiness for a vital spiritual identity. This ranges from pop-Christian culture to doctrinal modifications Westernizing the Kingdom message. The subtle factor in this undermining parallels what we refer to as political correctness. Its result waters down the faith to make it culturally compatible. Squeezing the truth into a socially-acceptable mold.
Nor is the true heart of a warrior to be confused with the muddled thinking of Judas and the zealots, who sought to employ natural means of power to establish the Kingdom. Jesus’ message gave us the edge with the employment of righteous power to establish the Kingdom. The principles of the Kingdom taught by Jesus are paradoxes to the way the world considers and employs power.
Unfortunately for far too many, because of this double-mindedness, is the tendency to major in minor things, while minoring in matters of genuine Kingdom importance. Those with a warrior’s heart recognize this difference in thinking. Warriors are mission-focused and results-oriented, steadfastly so. The heart of a Kingdom warrior is not the hesitant heart of a powerless weakling when facing conflict from an enemy. As scripture notes: “Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.”
This Kingdom warrior’s heart applies especially to those in leadership, to intercessors and those with a prophetic mantle. The journey through this life with the Lord has no plateaus. It is one of ongoing preparation, a progression affecting ones identity, purpose and destiny, with periodic upgrades to the process. As such, warriors are servants.
In the case of the Centurion, as an officer in charge of men and the accomplishment of his unit’s mission, he was entrusted with more than those under his charge. So Jesus at one point revealed this progressive relationship with His inner-circle, telling them “I no longer call you servants but friends, because a servant does not always know what his master is doing.” God’s nature and power goes so far above anything we have the context for in this life, that in walking with Him, getting to know Him has no boundaries, no limitations.
The central message of Jesus’ earthly ministry unveiled the thinking and the type of actions required for us to navigate the pathway of the unseen world via the Kingdom of God. This was never intended as an intellectual quest, but rather an unfolding adventure into the spiritual realm and this domain of God’s Kingdom power being applied to the realities of life.
Warriors, like the Centurion, grasp the culture-thing, because they are a culture within a culture. The Kingdom of God is the culture within the culture of the world around us.
Indeed, embracing the Kingdom pivots on a different way of thinking with higher principles than what we are programmed with by the world. This was what was recognized by and responded to by the Centurion when he told Jesus to just speak the word and his servant would be healed.
The Centurion perceived the true wielding of power in the spiritual realm. The consistent theme of the parables of Jesus and what He imparted to His inner circle was how to employ this righteous power in the corrupt settings evidenced in both the religious and political hierarchies of that day.
The Strategy: Unity of the Spirit
The outpouring of the Spirit described in the Book of Acts was not to create superstars, or within this theme of a warrior’s heart, of Rambo’s, but instead to first prepare and then align the saints in the unity needed for the conflict. The warrior heart is willing to endure hardships to accomplish the mission. They are conditioned to do what is needed to prevail. The preparation has been and is for the grand strategy represented by the battles being orchestrated from on high.
Jesus spoke of a greater love, one by which believers would be recognized. This is the greater love by which one would lay down his life for his friends. Those who have faced the realities of close combat understand. Such love requires the sacrificial heart of a true warrior and creates not just a bond of unity, but a trust the world simply doesn’t understand.
Unfortunately, within the ranks are ones who tend to get sidetracked by spiritual myopia. The inclination and sometimes obsession to judge one another who are different among the ranks of believers tends to sow, instead of greater love and unity, discord and disunity. The enemy’s chief deception to this end employs a mix of doctrinal precepts of men — and perceived and misperceived missteps in behavior that simply don’t reflect the full picture.
Perhaps the more important criteria for viewing our “neighbor” should be focused on their response while in battle.
For the critical in spirit, Jesus noted the importance of taking the plank out of their own eye, before going after the speck in the eye of their brethren. Did not Jesus say that we would know one another by our fruits, not by fine shades of doctrines or perceptions of perceived faults? Balance in recognizing the importance of the differences among the brethren comes down to a reflection of our grasp and response to our own identity, purpose and destiny.
It didn’t take a lot of theology for the man, dying on the cross next to Jesus, to request: “Remember me, when You come into Your Kingdom.” He recognized Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, the Son of God and in his dire circumstance and final breaths knew that what was ahead for him had to be aligned with Jesus. It’s the simple things that confound the wise.
There was a dread tied to the setting in the years prior to World War II when the dark clouds of evil were amassing and aligning across the globe. Today, more than any time in recent history, we have entered an era in which the battle lines described in the Book of Revelation are again gathering and aligning.
Simultaneously, there is a unification and strengthening taking place across the Body globally. It reflects a transfer of the mantle between generations. With that transfer is a struggle reflecting the fine line between the good and the perfect will of God; between the soul and the spirit; the measures defining Kingdom thinking; and the venturing forth from the safe places into the places of risk that carry the prospect of true game-changing battle strategies. This shift is restoring Kingdom identity with its power, and encompasses a calling of leadership for those with a heart of a warrior.
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of business leadership since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategicintercession.org/support/
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2018 Copyright Morris Ruddick — firstname.lastname@example.org
Reproduction is prohibited unless permission is given by a SIGN advisor. Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For previous posts or more information on SIGN, check: http://www.strategicintercession.org