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As iron sharpens iron… – 2017-12-11

One essential training skill for battle is how we often parry with one another to hone our skills, to learn other techniques, strategies and methods. Parrying can look like debate, it can look like studying together, it can look like physical battle techniques. If we only parry with those who use our same style and techniques, we stagnate and cease to grow.
While it is true that we often parry with one another to sharpen our battle skills, we sometimes we forget that this is just training, just practice for the real battle and we throw ourselves against each other with such ferocity that we draw blood… physical blood requires bandaging, but how do you heal it when we draw emotional blood? When we throw ourselves against our allies with all our strength, we come to the real battle wounded and have exhausted our resources fighting our allies. If we isolate, if we do not parry and practice, we are weak and easily overcome.

Practice is practice, war is war… wisdom is knowing the difference between play and battle. Yes, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt 😉 It is a huge asset in training to learn other ways of doing things, we develop better situational awareness if we understand that everyone does not think, process, see, understand, move, speak or react the way we do. We grow wiser and stronger if we can explore those differences without offense. We learn to engage in a variety of situations, techniques, and manners and become better rounded to adapt our technique to either negotiating an alliance, parrying or to fight the good fight when we must do so. Mock battles serve a purpose, they develop technique, wisdom, intuition, appropriate reaction. Our troops are not thrown on the line expecting them to know what to do, they are trained until the situational awareness, their reaction, is automatic.

We fight a different war Our enemy is not always visible. Our allies do not all wear the readily visible uniform. We need to know the difference between our enemy and our allies. Our enemy is not usually our brother/sister. Sometimes our brothers and sisters are parrying partners, but it is truly sad when we treat them as enemies. We need to be aware of who our friends are and know who has our back. We need to recognize the difference between those we can’t trust and our trustworthy, fellow warriors. How many times have we parried with someone, but found them at our side in our fiercest battles? We are human, sometimes we make judgment errors, we are called to forgive and move on. I think of the times our troops are unintionally wounded by friendly fire.

One aspect of training is to be sure of your target. We cannot judge another. We CAN, however, judge the fruit they produce… this is, in essence, their uniform. There are many ways our uniforms differ, but at the core, there are essentials things that cannot change. For the Christian, at the core, there is Jesus, our redeemer.

Our adversary, the devil, like a lion, picks off the stragglers, those who fight alone. Even the “lone” ranger, did not fight alone, but with a companion. Yet we often get that “I can do it myself!” attitude. We set out to save the world – alone. There is a word that well describes one who fights alone – bait. We are not called to be bait, we are called to be part of a regiment.

Our true fellow warriors are those who stand beside us when we face adversity, have our back and give us a hand up when we are down. Our adversary, is lurking in the shadows, waiting for an opportunity to attack. When we are attacked, it is not so unusual for those who stand with us to also be be attacked. But, our commander is amazing, when we follow His plan, close ranks with our fellow warriors, we are solid, both offensively and defensively. Jesus hold ours heart securely enough to protect them, but gently enough not to crush them.

We are not the savior, Jesus is. We can only fight the battles we are called to fight. This is not a corporate dog eat dog boardroom where we fight each other to get to the top – until someone stronger pulls us down. This is a troop of allies. We have a duty, a position, an opportunity. We are not all called to stand in the exact spot, we are called to stand together and each do their part. If/when we do not stand in the gap, do not think for a minute that the plan will fail. It will not. God will simply give the opportunity, the blessing, to someone else. There are troops upon troops in line behind us, willing to stand in the gap should we falter.

There are some hills not worth fighting for. But there are some lines we must hold absolutely and those lines we should hold at all cost…

We have different styles of worship, we often have different rules of conduct in our worship. At the core, the unifying factor is Jesus Christ – the way, the truth and the life. The only one who successfully conquered death and redeemed our sins. I cannot work hard enough or long enough to accomplish what Jesus did on the cross.

In the Hallmark Christmas movies, the soldiers nearly always return home in time for Christmas. There are many soldiers who will NOT be with their families during the holidays. My heart goes out to them and their families. Likewise, there are many Christian soldiers – missionaries – who will not be home with their families. My heart is also with them. They are standing in the gap while we celebrate.

The battle rages even during the holidays. This is a season to refocus – what is the true purpose, battle, enemy? Our battle here is more subtle. Our enemy is often our own heart… this is where our most difficult battle lies.

Deeper Still
“In Essentials Unity, In Non-Essentials Liberty, In All Things Charity.” Meldenius

15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christ Fulfills the Law
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. I Peter 5

As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17

The Value of a Friend
9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up. Ecclesiastes 4