Dead Beats and Dirt Bags / Day One:
"Go to the ant thou sluggard "
6Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest...Prov 6:6- 8
I must jump-start myself. No one is going to make me get up before the sun rises, have a spiritual encounter, receive instruction for the day...knowing my flesh, its safe to say that I won't feel like it – ever… So I have to do in spite of my flesh and feelings … Only after I make myself do those things, will the next step become clear, will motivation appear. Faith is required before the wheels of opportunity open. “The righteous will live by faith”. It is the opposite of negativity in it's various expressions ('same ol same ol, whats the use, nothing ever changes' etc)... The sea parts when we start to go through – positive expectation is an indicator of a faith motivation.
Put another way, inertia works in both directions.. get your resting body in motion.. and it will want to stay in motion.. If I want to be an average male christian, I'm setting my sites too low to win any battles or attain to any calling God has given me. Instead of being an overcomer, I will be overcome...i will feel a slave to systems around me, i wont have enough, feel my life and call will happen sometime in tbe future (not now), and meanwhile, ill do my duty as part of these world systems, and escape to the temporary comforts of tv, social media, food, drink, opioids, porn, etc. I can't afford to wait for the motivation, inspiration, traction, or whatever it is im waiting for - I have to move now..even when my body and mind say stay in bed.
God has given this intuition to the ant, the smallest of creatures, who he tells us to look to as an example. These low-level life forms, somehow have something inside them that tells them that their life is one of continual activity. I've never seen a lazy ant. They are always moving, draggin crumbs around, going busily somewhere and they instinctively know that to survive, these are things they simply must do. “they have no overseer...” It's a given, no one has should have to tell you, you shouldn't need a counsellor or a minister or a psychologist, a (nagging) spouse or a burning bush experience to tell you what you should already know....
Succesful, overcoming Christians have this intuition as well – however, this wisdom, like much other, has been lost in our modern era. That you just do it. You get up before dark, you work after the closing bell, you face problems head-on, you don't look for or need contintual affirmation or recognition, nor do you need to tell everyone how rough you're having it... you expect and accept that life is hard. This is just what (real Christian) men do. Once you get that, now we can move on. We can move on past complaining, past self-pity, past disillionment (because you don't have illusions that life was supposed to be easy), past letting your body, feelings, moment by moment conditions, etc dictate what you will do or not do in a day.
Dont' get me wrong – a Chrstian life is one of listening and being led by the Spirit, not just mindless drudgery and tiresome toil. And they are times of rest – God incorporated that into the sabath cycles. We did rest.
The bit of instruction above was directed to the sluggard. And I begin here because I think a lot of us modern men have become sluggards. Our ancestors farmed and did regular physical labor, milked cows, and built barns etc and knew they wouldn't have lasted long if they didn't. We're soft in our modern world, because we can be. But you can't bring in that mindset to the Christian walk and expect to survive long. It is the first day of boot camp and you will have a rude awakening.
We have somehow turned the gospel into a self-help, positive motivation or recovery program, full of verses that tell us “i know the plans I have for you” and “God so loved the world” and “In me you will have peace”... which are all true – but equally true are “...” God understands, in spite of our failings God loves me, … if you only knew what I've been through... All this has contributed to a modern God (and I) are okay with losing, or victim mentality. We have pussified christianity, made it attractive to sensitive males, made it an excuse for our failures instead of the way to overcome them.
Paul, in the NT, often relates the Christian life to that of a soldier (read I Timothy for reference). I don't think even the most ignorant recruit would ever join the marines and expect that their lives aren't in for a drastic change. Men accept this as part of the life – someone will yell at me and tell me when to get up and what to do and order me around. I signed up for it because I want to become a soldier. Doing the hard things, doing the sacrificial things, protecting, getting cold, lifting heavy objects with sore muscles.... is given to men, not to either of the above. Those things come after, not before. The door to success often n has an opposer with a flaming sword preventing us from entering into it (at least without a fight). These opposers are often in our minds, which is where many of the battles rage... it is a mental barrier which action will disintegrate.
Yet it is not a blood and guts battle for the Christian – it begins there but within this process, we learn how to appropriate spiritual power, which is how we truly overcome. We have heard the songs “the battle belongs to the Lord”and God told Paul “My strength is perfected in (your) weakness”..
So we must activate ourselves, give all strength we have and then recognize the hand of God kicking in, often-times at the end of our own efforts.
But without our efforts, we don't reach the breakthrough moments when the Spirit of God (in us and in our circumstances) 'kicks in'. Be a man and get moving. If I face every battle I have to fight today, tomorrows will take care if itself..