by Tom Brown
Are you ready to go to a higher level? I believe God has a word for you.
"Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss" (Judg 20:16).
What is so significant about these left-handed warriors? These men were not simply left-handed at birth. These men became left handed because their right hand was injured. Somewhere in the battle they got hurt. Perhaps it was an injury to one finger; or maybe their right elbow got damaged; or maybe they simply tore a muscle in their right arm. The point is they got injured significantly that they had to use their left hand.
In those times if someone got injured they had the option of going home or staying in the battle. Today, an injury in battle would automatically send a soldier home. These left-hand soldiers, however, chose to stay in the battle. This is what made them such valiant heroes. They refused to go home. Instead they made up their minds to get proficient with their left hand. They became so good at slinging stones that they could hit the target from 50 yards away. The target was a horse's hair hung from a tree. Wow! That is a good shot.
If you ever lost use of your good hand, perhaps you broke it, then you know how difficult it was to get use of your "other' hand. To simply sign your name was hard. Try it, and see how difficult it is.
Yet these left-handed warriors became better at their left hand than most were at their right hand. I believe if you are to go to a higher level you will have to get over your past injuries.
This means you will have to get over the abuse you experienced at home. You might have been molested as a child, and it hurts, but if you want to go to a higher level with God, you will have to get over the hurt. You must move on. You can't be crying over the past.
Maybe you got hurt at your last church. The pastor may not have been trustworthy. Perhaps he or someone in the church let you down. It hurt your spirit badly. What are you going to do? Limp off and complain that all Christians are hypocrites. As a result you decided to quit church. You are NOT a left-handed warrior. You have allowed past hurts to cause you to retire from serving God in a church. Don't make excuses. Don't bother to claim you can serve God in the same passion being away from church than if you were in one. No! You allowed an injury to keep you out of the battle.
You might have been discriminated at school. Because of it you developed a chip on your shoulder or insecurities. At any rate, you have allowed the bullies at school to affect your love walk in the battle. You will never be a valiant solider in God's army holding on to anger or hate. You have to let it go. God has called you to put on the "breastplate of love" (1 Thess 5:8). You never thought that love was a weapon! It is. Satan wants you to give up on loving others. Past injuries can do this. But instead of allowing other people's meanness to affect you, decide you will do just the opposite: you will develop the love walk better than most.
I can see a ex-spouse bruised over a bitter-fought divorce. The divorce has really affected you. You feel rejected. You do not think you are worthy to serve in God's army. You feel like God has rejected you like your ex. But He has not. If you will forgive, forgive the ex and yourself, and decide to be merciful toward others, you can become a left-handed warrior. Your next marriage can be filled with bliss. It's up to you—if you want to get better or bitter over the past.
People are losing their jobs left and right. You might be one of them. You can either allow the lay-off to get your down, or you can use it to get trained in something better. It all depends based on your attitude. Some just stay home and whine about the economy; others decide to make something good out of the lost job. Why not be the latter. Do something with your "left-hand." You might never know the kind of prosperity God could give you without the loss of your job. Your job lost could have been the best thing that could have happened to you. This is the time to make something of your loss.
I Put in My Time
I had dinner with a veteran minister. He immediately began to ask me about all that I was going through in my city such as the recall of our city mayor and representatives, and because of righteousness, the mayor sued my church and me. I told him how difficult that last two years had been in my life and ministry, yet God has been faithful. Despite the many bruising battles, our ministry has been flourishing nevertheless.
He looked at me and said, "I am not interested in getting involved in those types of battles. I just want to preach Jesus and mind my own business. I have already been through those types of battles and it is my turn to rest."
I thought for a moment. He had been injured in many ways in his walk with Christ. But instead of determining to become a better warrior, he made the conscious decision to get out of the battle. There is no such thing as "preaching Jesus" and not be involved in spiritual warfare. Preaching the Word is using the sword of the Spirit. Swords are used in war. We will be fighting until Jesus returns.
Many Christians are like this minister. They have been hurt so badly that they are in a protective posture. They don't want to fight anymore. They just want to cruise through life until they finish their life.
You can either finish your life or finish your race. There is a difference. All of us will die and thus our life will be finished. But Paul said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Tim 4:7). Paul was still fighting till he had finished the race. You don't stop fighting and expect to finish the race. You may very well finish your life, but you may have never completed your race. You cannot complete your race unless you continue fighting the good fight.
Small in Your Strength
"If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!" (Prov 24:10). We will all go through troubles. Every one of us. No one is exempt. However, if you falter, which means stumble even a little, simply because of the troubles, then your strength is small.
Horatio Spafford wrote the classic hymn, "It is Well with My Soul." Many however don't know his story. He was married and had children, but his only son died in 1871. Shortly after that the infamous Chicago fire ruined his law practice and sent him nearly to bankruptcy. He didn't give up though. He had planned to travel with his family to Europe, but had to stay in Chicago to tend to his business affairs because of the fire. So his wife and four daughters boarded the SS Ville Havre. While crossing the Atlantic the ship collided with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all of his four daughters drowned. His wife, Anna survive and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved Alone."
These three tragedies would have been enough to destroy any Christian, but Horatio became a "left-handed" warrior. Instead of turning against God, he made it his purpose to serve Him more faithfully. He moved his family, including his two new daughters, to Israel, where he founded the American Colony, a charity group committed to serving the poor in Jerusalem. The mission organization became the subject of the Nobel prize winning book Jerusalem by Swedish novelist, Selma Lagerlof. He did more in the latter part of his life than he did in the beginning. He became a left-handed warrior.
I am concern for western Christians—Americans, Canadians, Europeans—because they have life too easy. They expect comfort. They want, not just retails stores to cater to them, but their churches too. When the pastor calls for sacrifice, many of these wimpy believers look for another church. They don't want to enter spiritual warfare. They want more of a country-club church than a boot camp church. This is why we have lost ground in the west. But if we had become "left-handed" warriors we could have taken the west for Christ. Unfortunately we haven't. Western Christians have lost influence over their culture. They lost it because they don't want to fight.
I do believe God is raising up Christians who will fight, and if they get injured they will decide to become better at their left hand than their right.
Self Inflicted Wound
Perhaps there is nothing more embarrassing than to wound yourself. My step-father, Red, served in the Air force in Alaska. One day he was wearing a pistol. He proudly went to the beach and shot everything in sight, until he had only one round of ammunition left. Just as he was about to go home, he saw a seagull flying overhead. He quickly tried to pull out his pistol from his holster when the gun went off, shooting himself in the leg. It was an embarrassing moment. I think that many have gotten wounded in spiritual battle not because others wounded them, but because they blew it.
You may be one of those soldiers. You were not the one who was jilted, but you abandoned your spouse. As you look back, you realize your mistake; it was your fault. Maybe you are a pastor who fell into sin. You can't blame your congregation for your loss of members. You brought it on yourself. You want to kick yourself for your bad judgment. Maybe you went broke, not because of the economy, but through bad investments or wild spending. The devil did not rob you; you rob yourself of financial stability.
Look! All of us have stories to tell. Sometimes those stories involve our own mistakes. But listen, I do not think that all 700 left-hand warriors got injured by others. Surely some injured themselves. Maybe they were sharpening their swords when they accidently cut themselves. Perhaps someone was throwing a rock without first warming up and they hurt their arm. Not everyone that lost use of their right hand were hurt in battle. Some of them may have hurt themselves over an accident or something foolish.
It doesn't matter how you got hurt, only that you get better. Under the Old covenant if someone had sinned, they brought a lamb to the priest for forgiveness. The priest did not examine the man to see what he had done or how often he had sinned. He did not even need to know who the man was, whether he was himself a priest or simply an ordinary person. He only needed to know if the lamb was without blemish. The priest inspected the lamb, not the man.
Friend, when you come to God for forgiveness, He doesn't inspect you; He inspects the Lamb of God. Jesus is without defect. Jesus is the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. If you will plead your case by looking to Jesus, then all your sins can be forgiven. It's time to let the past go. Forgive others. Receive forgiveness for yourself. And make up your mind that the battle is worth fighting for. Your country is worth fighting for. Your family is worth fighting for. Your church is worth fighting for.
Don't leave the battle because you injured your right hand. Start using your left hand, and become better after your injury. Become a left-hand warrior.
February 21 - 23
Gwang Ju City, S Korea
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Incheon City, S Korea
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River of Life Christian Fellowship
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