“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first born among many brothers.” -Romans 8:29 ESV
Who is God? Where do you find him? In him, we have our identity, our likeness. Just look around, his creation screams his marvelous name. From the mighty mountains and the raging sea, to the serenity of a meadow where the stream flows as the trout jump and the birds sing to praise their maker. He is our Father, who loves us with an everlasting love and rejoices over us with singing. He reveals his love to us through his son, Jesus. Jesus died so that we could be together with him; his blood was and is the ultimate sacrifice, the greatest expression of love you will ever know. Because of this, nothing will ever again separate us from his love. God is love. He is mighty to save. He is a warrior. He is healer. He is redeemer. His lovingkindness endures forever. He is a servant. He is humble. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is Jesus; Messiah. *
I know of a young man named David, a shepherd, who killed a giant and became King of Israel. David, a man after God’s own heart. Before David slew the giant and became king, he spent his days tending sheep in the wilderness. Although this may have been a tedious and humble duty, David was faithful to God and his father Jesse. David received valuable training in protecting his sheep from the bear and the lion. This proved to be vital on his way to facing Goliath, but more so he put his trust in God. The same God that was with David as he took the head of a giant, the same God that was with Joshua as he laid cities and kings to destruction with the tip of the sword; is the same God who gives sight to the blind, heals a woman by the touch of his robe, and dies on a cross for the world to have life. -1st Samuel 17, Joshua 11, John 3:16
This week, I met a young man who was raised to be a shepherd and a warrior. Sounds familiar huh? As a part of his journey into manhood, he has been trained to survive in the bush for weeks at a time, to carry the sword in battle, and strike down any beast who poses threat to his cattle. Imagine being out in the wild with a small group of men, hunting one of the most ferocious beasts known to man. Your adrenaline pumps as your hands begin to sweat. Standing on a rock above the entrance to a cave, where death awaits, you firmly grip your spear. You’re scared, but you’re also prepared. The other men draw the lion out from the depths of the cave. One man gets too close as the lion’s mighty paw rips pieces of flesh from his cheek. You seize the moment, thrusting the spear into the head of the angry beast, bringing it to the ground in triumph! This is not just a tale out of some adventure novel; this is the story of my friend Kennedy, a Maasai warrior, and community leader in Ngaamba, Kenya. I saw this young man, who took down a lion, step into a pre-school class room and capture the hearts of all the children around him. He sat down with them as they were eating lunch and began talking to them, teaching them, making them laugh, and laughing with them. As I observed, I was captivated. I saw a vision of Jesus teaching parables to the children with open arms saying, “come to me...” - Matthew 19:13. When he’s not traveling over 7 miles on foot in one day to teach children virtues of truth from God’s word; he tends his cattle and goats in Maasai land. He’s dedicated to God, to his community, and to leading the next generation to Christ. This is one who I’d want my kids to learn from. I believe every man has the heart of a warrior inside. When we encourage our sons, fellow men, and brothers in Christ; we sharpen that iron. We must encourage each other to be the men God made us to be. Also we should empower those around us, men, women, and children. When you combine a warrior soul with the loving heart of Christ, you become a force nothing can resist. A gentle warrior.
“ He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” -Isaiah 40:11. What I’ve seen this week has encouraged, strengthened, and inspired me to be part of what God is doing in our generation and the one to come. I believe our generation will not remain complacent; we will rise again with our God and work alongside him to further his Kingdom. We will fight our battles with love, truth, and grace. We will put our trust in God. We will work together in accordance with Holy Spirit. “Father...Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
* Matthew 5:48, Jeremiah 32:40, Zephaniah 3:17, John 17:26, 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, 1st John 4:10, Romans 8:38-39, John 3:16