The movie Saving Private Ryan has always moved me deeply. In the opening scenes they are storming the beaches. It is a very graphic. With all the death and destruction, the soldiers press on. A handful of them make it to the enemy’s guns and take them out. And so, it begins.
I know what spiritual warfare is. I know it when it comes on me. Do I always catch it right away, no. But today it is on the top of a list of things I check when I am not doing well, feel out of whack, or question what my heart longs for and what I end up doing.
The idea that Satan rallies a bunch of bad spirits all over the earth never seemed to be a topic in my early church years. I may have heard something about it, but I never had a personal connection to the idea. Yeah, he was a bad dude, had a few bad guys who worked with him to cause things to happen to whole countries, a few unlucky people or me when I did something I was ashamed about. But as far as Satan and all types of minions roaming around trying to thwart God’s work, I never knew the depth.
Now, when I talk to guys about starting a Kids Outdoor Zone (KOZ) group in their church, I warn them. “Guys, things are likely to hit the fan in some area, or several areas. Satan is not happy you are considering the rescue of boys he has his eye on for his work. He hates the idea you will find your heart and hear from the Holy Spirit. No, he doesn’t like it at all.”
In a recent conversation with some men working on starting a KOZ group, they shared a list of things going wrong. There was upheaval in the church staff and delays in getting things organized. The men who were considering volunteering were all having trouble at work or home on some level.
One theme that is common among men considering a KOZ group is almost always, “How can I give up one whole Saturday a month.” Satan loves this one. He has convinced us that our precious Saturdays are too valuable to just give up. What if we had to do something? What if the fish are biting, the game starts early? I can’t plan that far ahead; Sunday is hard enough.
Then, the guys who have battled through and begin giving up their Saturday morning once a month start feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit while they are there. They begin to experience ministry, mission, purpose in their walk with Jesus that is unlike anything they have ever done before. That is when they know why the warfare, why Satan tried to take them out. They see that what they are doing matters. A powerful revelation and meaning.
If it was not for the few who made it across those beaches and had taken out the enemy guns, the world might be a different place today. It is the same in our faith walk. If we are truly committed to doing what we said we would do when we gave our lives to Jesus, we are going to face the enemy on a beach front. Sadly, many men won’t make it. Some will hide behind barriers and excuses. Ah, but there will be a few. They will take the hits, the hardships, and the fiery darts from the evil one. From their actions comes the rescue, the boys of our world hear from a man, “You matter, I am here, you can do this.” And the next group of world changers are made.
Those men, the ones who push in and go, that cross their life beach, they will surely hear one day, “Job well done soldier, faithful servant. Welcome.” I, for one, long for that. You?