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Do we think we’ll rise to the occasion?

This is a question that is often ask about combatives or self-defense training in general. The mindset of those who don’t train is that, when a circumstance comes, they will somehow muster the know-how and aggression needed to repel that threat. But this way of thinking reveals something about an individuals character, namely their lack of willingness to endure difficulty for something they espouse to be needful.

As a Christian we face the same question. Many Christians feel that they can adjoin themselves to the world and the pleasures thereof, and that when the need comes they will somehow muster the discipline to walk away from it all. But once again this reveals something about our character.

If there is one thing that these over reaches has revealed it is just how weak our character has become. We are told repeatedly in scripture to: love not the world neither the things that are in the world, to beware of the allure of riches, to recognize that the attractions of this world will entangle us and that the fear of persecution will destroy us. Yet our minds gloss right over these warnings and immediately fixate on these things.

Do we honestly believe that we can just walk into a gym and immediately squat 600lbs without training? Do we honestly believe that we can achieve a victorious outcome in a violent encounter without ever having prepared? Do we honestly believe that having lived our lives in ease and comfort that we will somehow be able to muster the courage and conviction to walk away from it all in a moment for the sake of our faith?

Difficulty is the mechanism that shapes our character. Without it, our character is weak and soft. Weakness breeds apathy, and apathy surrender. The current times have demonstrated this better than I could possibly write.

But I’ll lose my job… But my kids won’t be allowed in public education… But I can’t shop in my favorite stores…

All of which present opportunities for difficulties to shape our character. Did we think standing on our principles would have no cost? Has history taught us this? Jesus, the apostles, the Old Testament prophets, John Bunyan, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, Martin Luther… history is ripe with names of individuals who stood on their character and suffered for it. But they valued the strength of their character and principle above the suffering they endured. If we can’t rise to the occasion through inconveniences how is it we feel that we will still rise to the occasion under greater circumstances.

There is a lot of chest thumping going on these days. Individuals protesting facial garb by having quirky memes written on them. But at the end of the day still complying in violation of their conscience.

So how is it that we overcome this? Honestly, that all depends on your perspective and how you define overcoming. If your ultimate goal is to still be present to revel in your glory when the forces of tyranny have been put down, then I can honestly say you are doomed to failure. But if our perspective is elsewhere, if we see our finish line as being, not of this world, then the losses we incur here will not have near the sting.

The blessings of this world become idols when they compete for preeminence in our hearts. Better to sacrifice your idols at the foot of the cross, than to be dragged to Hell by them.

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