Why you need both on your journey with Jesus
Before He was a lamb on the cross, He was a baby in a manger. Be honest — when you think of the manger scene, don’t you think about a cute, cuddly, cooing little baby Jesus? When you see a newborn baby, you don’t think, Wow, look at that mighty, powerful, warrior! No, most of the time you say, “Aww … she (or he) is perfect. They look just like … (insert the name of the parent you like the best).
In reality, you can look at Jesus and see both a warrior (lion) and a child (Son of God). He is both in tandem. In 1984, Christian musical artist Twila Paris released a powerful song titled, “The Warrior is a Child.”
Here are a few of the lyrics:
Lately I’ve been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
I’m strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears
They don’t know that I come running home when I fall down
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child
The song is sung from the perspective of a believer, but it could easily be about Mary, the mother of Jesus. Many theologians believe Mary was between 12-16 years old when Jesus was born. There is a good chance she still felt like a child compared to the adults who surrounded her. What a weight to carry at such a young age.
Considering your relationship with God, you will always be the child, no matter how much you try to project the warrior within. Jesus instructed us to become more like a child.
“He called a little child to him and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 18:2 NIV).
God is waiting for the child in the soul of each warrior to run to Him. We must each become a child who is willing to sprint back to Him regardless of what we’re wearing, where we’ve been, what we’ve seen, what we’ve spoken or who we’ve become.
To live as a warrior seems far cooler than to live as a child. It can be a natural response to years of bumps, bruises, fights and let-downs. It’s easy to cling to the warrior, viewing the child as weak and ineffective. But oddly enough in God’s upside-down kingdom, the child is what is required to conquer the nations.
The irony is the warrior and the child must co-exist. One without the other accomplishes little. They balance each other. Too much child and nothing is conquered, although great intentions exist. Too much warrior and aggression overcomes obedience. You conquer but you don’t think about the ramifications.
The child keeps the warrior focused on what’s right; the warrior keeps the child from shrinking away to inactivity.
It’s an important fact to know, because sometimes we have to drop our swords and allow God to minister to the child within.
Children behave in such wonder during the Christmas season. As we get older our identity can appear more warrior than child, but very few things are as precious as seeing a child open a present on Christmas morning. They express such purity, such expectation. They may tear off the wrapping paper like a warrior, but their countenance is one of a child.
There are times to be a warrior. There are times to take ground and conquer the enemy. Nothing illustrates this more than Jesus’ return in Revelation 19:11-16.
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords” (NIV).
He was clearly a warrior, but he was also clearly a child. John 5:19 says, “Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does’” (NIV).
He was fully dependent on His father. Some would say that a child who is fully dependent on their father has not fully matured, but in the Kingdom of God this isn’t the case.
We were not created to mature to a place where we no longer need our Father God.
We are always dependent upon His grace, mercy, kindness and love.
This Christmas season as you journey toward Christ, begin by evaluating your dependence on Him. It’s okay to be a warrior, but you are required to be a child. He wants you to cast every care on Him (1 Peter 5:7). He wants you to pray to Him without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
The best warriors know how to follow their leaders’ commands. The best children know how to honor their parents. Jesus was able to make the warrior and child at peace within the heart of the believer, both able to be summoned as the circumstances demanded.
Warrior and child. Lion and Lamb. Both were in the manger that beautiful night, and both are also in you.
When you think about the hardship Jesus endured, even at birth, you can’t help but appreciate the Father God that much more. He did not take the easy road because He understood it’s a road most of humanity would be unable to relate to. Instead, Jesus’ journey was fraught with stress from day one.
When you come to a season that should be joyful, should be fulfilling and should be celebratory, but you feel none of those emotions you can be tempted to feel like a failure. Refuse to succumb to your emotions and instead, be led by the Spirit as Jesus modeled.
Jesus may have had every right to feel ashamed of his financial or social status, but He didn’t have time for that. He was overcome by purpose. He had battles to win! While it’s tempting to dress yourself permanently in sheep’s clothing, sometimes you have to be a warrior. Sometimes you have to fight for the life you want — the life He has for you.
That night in a manger a baby was born, a perfect lamb and a perfect warrior. On your journey to Christ there will be times you rest in His presence and times you engage in spiritual warfare. Our prayer for you this Christmas is for you to be graced with the discernment of who you must be when it’s required of you.
If you missed the first or second blog in this special Christmas series, you can find it here – Nicely Wrapped – Is your heart an attractive gift to God? and here – The Joy Box
Meredith Andrews shares candidly about fostering
Although Meredith Andrews, singer, song writer and worship leader, was an only child, she grew up with many foster siblings. When she was eight years old, she began begging her parents for a sibling.
She felt “alone in the world” because all her friends had siblings. She prayed her mom would have a baby.
Soon after, Meredith learned her parents had been praying about adoption, but felt confidently led to do foster care. A little two-year-old girl came to live with them, and Meredith was “in heaven” with her little “sister.” Eventually, there were five children all together – three in diapers.
The first little two-year-old girl who came to their home was considered a “failure to thrive” child who wasn’t walking yet and had some health complications. By the time she left to go home with her biological mother, she had outgrown these issues and was running around playing.
Meredith became very attached and had thought her family would adopt this little girl. She will never forget the day she came home from school and found out her little “sister” had gone home.
The most difficult part of fostering was when the children would leave. Whether the children were with them for a weekend, a week, a year or more, they experienced love. Meredith is certain these children enjoyed the presence of God in her family’s home. She is convinced God has not wasted what they experienced.
“It has met them somewhere along the way and brought back to their memory who Jesus is,” Meredith shared. “They saw a picture of how much He loves them and what a loving family looks like.”
Over time, Meredith’s family fostered about twenty children. They eventually adopted her three brothers.
Meredith believes the call from God to foster or adopt is undeniable. There will be difficult times since many children have been through really tough situations. “Things no child should have to go through,” Meredith described. You can tell by the way they act out.
As a follower of Christ, it’s in those challenging times you ask God to show you how He sees these children. He is faithful to not only give you grace and strength, but also the ability to move forward in love.
God teaches you dependence on him through uncharted waters, whether it’s through fostering children or another scenario. As you confess to Him your inability, He displays his power in your weakness.
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