Isaiah 8:9-10 – Band together peoples, and be broken; pay attention all you distant lands; prepare for war, and be broken; prepare for war, and be broken. Devise a plan; it will fall. Make a prediction; it will not happen. For God is with us.
This passage has always called out to me. More like screamed at me. Twice in a row God tells us to prepare for war and be broken. He wasn’t stuttering, just trying to really get the point across to us.
Think about it, every day we are in a constant battle. War literally surrounds us. Whether it be war within ourselves, or battles to win people to Christ, war is part of our daily lives. That’s why God gives us instructions on how to be prepared all through the Bible.
Let’s talk about war within ourselves. As Christians, it’s not always going to be easy. We’re going to struggle with a lot- its an internal war we will struggle with everyday. From impure thoughts to lying and what ever you struggle most with. But why should we care about this war? Well, for one, as Christians we should strive daily to become closer to God, and fashion our lives towards the goal of becoming more and more like Jesus. We often forget that we are not fighting this alone. We have an incredible Savior who already won the war, we just have to trust Him to guide us through the battles. All we really have to do is trust Him when we are weak, and more importantly when we think we are strong.
Feeling strong and confident is an amazing feeling, but it can also be a trap. We seem to get a bit conceited and start thinking we can do it on our own strength, that we don’t need God to carry the weight of the team. That is when we fail and when we fall. When we feel strongest is sometimes when we need to rely on God the most.
We all know the story of Samson and his magical hair that gave him his almost Superman like strength. He liked a girl and long story short, she found out how to make him weak and she cut his hair. Now this girl Delilah and Samson had a Capulet and Montague thing going, and their peoples really did not like each other. After Delilah cut his hair, she called her guards in who moved Samson to the dungeon. So Samson went from being super strong warrior for God to weak, fragile prisoner. On top of that, Samson was subjected to beatings, went blind, and was mercilessly mocked. This guy lost everything, and when he was at his rock bottom, he called on God to give him strength just one more time to destroy his enemies- God answered Samson and gave him the strength needed to push the pillars and knock them down, destroying everything in the temple- including himself. Samson was strong, and eventually the way I see it, he got cocky and lost everything because he wasn’t depending on God when he was strong, to let God make him even stronger.
Everyday we wake up and get dressed and ready for the day ahead. With each minute we are picking up our baggage. Put on your shirt and you remember the guilt and fear of not being good enough. Put on your shoes and remember that you are scared to shine bright in this world because so many people in your life have hurt you. Fix your hair and look in the mirror and pick up the shame you feel for not looking a certain way. Pick up all your baggage and march out the door on your way. Isn’t carrying all that around with you exhausting? You think by putting on a brave face and being strong that you can take it. Let go of all of it and give it to God. He wants you to look at each new day like an adventure in serving Him and an experience in trusting Him- not as something to just somehow get through.
It’s like you are getting on a plane. You check your luggage at the gate and know that it will be okay and bonus that you don’t have to drag it with you throughout the airport. God wants you to check your baggage at His gate and make your load lighter. He wants to take our doubts and replace them with trust, our hurts and heartaches and replace them with hope, our guilt and replace it with confidence in Him, our failures to new opportunities and our fear and exchange it for faith. Once you let go of those and let God transform your baggage, you know he has prepared you for the external war ahead.
The external war is all about trying to live our lives more like Christ and reaching out to non-believers in love. God calls us to speak of His good woks and love until everyone hears. Prepare for war because Satan has a massive impact on the war we live in. Prepare to people you care about because they don’t agree with a life centered on faith in God. Just remember when those losses hit and the blows are hard and painful, God is right there holding you the entire time. He will shower you with blessings for trusting in Him and for following His calling.
Not only does God tell us to prepare for war, but he also tells us to be broken. Be broken so that what breaks the heart of God, breaks yours too. Be broken to the world, be broken to the baggage. Be broken and align your heart with His. It is not an easy road, but it is a blessed road. God is calling you to be broken and to lose yourself so that you may have so much more in Christ. He will bless you and give you grace when you are humble before Him (James 4:6).
So prepare for war and be broken. Band together in fellowship and prayer with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Follow God’s path instead of your own plan. Ask God to cover you in armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) and with His strength so that you don’t try to go it alone. Trust in Him to always see you through.
Prepare for war. Be broken.