You have no business going where you used to go when you are not the same person you used to be.
Priscilla Shirer, Gideon, Session 3
Did that knock anyone else’s socks off?
Did you listen to Session 3? This session is worth the download because you’ll listen to it again. I mentioned last week that I had fallen a little behind in the study and hadn’t wrapped up Week 2’s homework or gotten to Session 3. Well, there was a reason for it. I needed to hear Session 3 over this past weekend.
Where are we in our Gideon story? If you remember, Gideon is a simple three chapter story found in Judges 6 through 8. We are now wrapping up Chapter 6 and headed into Chapter 7.
Priscilla looked again at how the angel calls Gideon a mighty warrior when he looks like anything but a warrior hiding in the winepress in the shadow of Midian. But behavior does not determine identity. “When life’s shadows distort our reality, those distortions can easily become our truth, ripping us away from God’s truth and thwarting our purpose.” Gideon, Week 2, Day 4.
I’ll tell you, yesterday knocked me off course. One simple thing distorted my reality and became my truth. I sat here typing these very words under the shadow of a dark cloud that sent thunderbolts of messaging that rang in my ears until I cried. I heard something out of the shadow that colored my entire view of what God’s calling on me and for me looked like. I am Gideon saying, “why this,” “how me?”
This is how Priscilla suggests we combat this: The assignment for which God is calling us will go unrealized unless we are convinced of the spiritual chops He has given us to accomplish it….By trusting God and walking in His pronouncement of potential is the foundation of spiritual victory.
Even when that feels hard. Especially when that feels hard. I know that in my head, but I struggle with that in my heart which tries to place my self-image over the God-image. But no. “Today you are getting tugged out of the shadows. Now, lift up your head and act like it.”
Then, then, then…. Gideon gets tugged out of the shadows and goes to do the thing the angel of the Lord asks him to do (after some testing – that is a whole separate post). What is he told to do in Judges 6:25? To go fight the battle? No. First he must go to his OWN house and tear down his father’s idols. Mercy.
Don’t you think sometimes it’s easier to go wage battles against strange enemies than stand up to those in your own backyard? “The stakes are often much higher when the mission field is so personal.” Gideon, Week 2, Day 5
Let me close with where I opened: you have no business going where you used to go when you are not the same person you used to be.
Pricilla walks us into Judges Chapter 7 as God begins to call and then refine Gideon’s army that will attack the Midianites. God starts out the chapter by calling Gideon by another name, Jeru-baal, literally a new name to take on this new chapter. But what does Gideon do? He takes his new army of 32,000 men (against the 128,000 Midianites) to a spring called Harod which means FEAR. He takes an army outnumbered four to one to camp out at FEAR. Gideon went to the wrong place. Priscilla noted, “It’s no wonder he lost two-thirds of his army at the first challenge God gave which was to leave if you are afraid!” You don’t tackle the enemy in old territory. You don’t go back to old ways and old habits and old addictions and old relationships and old territory when you are a NEW PERSON being called to a NEW CHAPTER. Don’t start an attack in a place of fear. Where you start has every bearing on how it turns out in the end.
So wherever you are today, God’s calling requires you to leave all that has entangled you in the past and to set out under the new name and the new calling on your life. Hebrews 12 captures this exactly, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Throw off the old. Look ahead to the new. Your current circumstances do not define who you are or what God is calling you to. Stand bravely because how you stand affects how you can take on enemy attacks. STAND FIRM.
One more thing before I leave you today. My beautiful brave friend Holley Gerth releases an important book for women today, one I needed to read even as I wrote this post, You’re Going to Be Okay: Encouraging Truth Your Heart Needs to Hear, Especially on the Hard Days. Oh friends, I have started reading it and the words are powerful. Simple. Honest. Right to the point. Do not miss out on this beautiful encouraging work. It’s not a God book. It’s a girl book. A book for every woman in your life who has ever had a hard day. Who has ever struggled. Who has ever wondered if she’d make it. For you and for me and for all of our friends. I am giving away a copy to someone who comments on the blog or Facebook today.