Lay Your Sword Down

Introduction

How often do we look at a difficult situation and think I will grit my teeth and push through this challenging time? I know that I have and still do far too often. What I really need to do is take a moment to be still in the trial to see what God is doing and teaching me. As a man, husband, and father, I am a fixer. I want to find a way to resolve the conflict, overcome the loss of a job, or give the direction that is so clear to me to someone struggling to fix the issue, but what if God is saying, “Be still my son or daughter.” Then what do we do? I am writing this post because I am at that moment, and I hope my sharing will edify another brother or sister in Christ who is in a cycle of challenges that has not let up. In those moments of my temptation to grit through to the end, I think about Psalm 46:10-11: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” 

Why Now?

Why am I choosing to write about this now? You may say, “I thought this site was about your journey to Vineyard, UT, to plant a church.” It is about our journey to plant a church in Utah, but this topic is part of that journey and will hopefully strengthen the faith of a brother or sister who reads it. 

I was informed on August 15th by my current employer they were eliminating my position and giving me a sixty-day non-working notice with severance post that date. This meant that I would be without a job and a source of income to support my family if I did not find a job by the time the sixty days were up and severance ended. At first, I was in shock, and my mind began racing with thoughts of what if I do not find a job in sixty days, but when I told my wife, she calmly told me, “It will be okay. God will provide.” It was like the Lord was speaking through her at that moment, telling me, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). This situation occurred almost four years ago with the same company. That time, I began to spin and chase any job I could find, but God said, “No, no, no, son, be still,” but I ignored it. I kept fighting, clawing, and gritting through. There was a big problem, though God was working, and I could not see it because I was too busy fighting to find a job. I had been hired twice during this time, only to have the job offer rescinded because of unforeseen company expenses. It was not until in the kitchen of our home one night when my wife said to me, “You are praying for the wrong thing. You are praying for a job. Pray for your purpose!” That night, I altered my prayer from asking God for a job to “God, show me my purpose.” A few weeks later, I felt the call to ministry. I felt a great sense of unworthiness, but in those moments, something told me to surrender, to lay my sword down because my worthiness was not in me. Our worthiness is in Him because He died on a cross that we may wear His righteousness. 

This is why I have chosen to write about some of my struggles now. I have sheathed my sword and placed my gaze upon Him. Not because I am some mighty biblical figure to be gleaned from but because I know He set me free with a price. That price He paid freed me from the burden of always fixing what goes wrong and allowed me to surrender to a greater call. I will follow the lead of my Savior, and I will lay down my sword to pick up my cross. Will you do the same?

I Am Not Carrying A Sword

Most of you probably say, “I am not carrying a sword,” which would mean you have nothing to lay down. I challenge you to examine your life and ask, “Am I fighting through a trial that I cannot seem to overcome?” Brother or sister, even when we do something good, we can push back on God’s call for us. Look at the Gospel of John’s account of Jesus’ arrest. John 18:10-11 says, “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” Peter was defending the Lord, not realizing he was pushing back on the will of God. God’s plan is always greater, and He wastes nothing, so take a moment to be still and submit to His will. I know In the middle of the trial, it is hard to see a way out when surrounded by the enemy. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). This does not change, for He still reigns today just as He did when the psalmist penned these words. 

What if God is calling Christians to lay down their swords and pick up their crosses? The world is disintegrating all around us, whether that is the direct attack on the biblical constructs of marriage to the deconstruction of the biological design of God when He made mankind as male and female. Our world is yearning for redemption, but many fail to obey the second greatest commandment when we attempt to push back the darkness. Instead of loving our neighbor, we are busy with swords drawn, ready to slay them. 

Jesus took a ragtag bunch of followers and changed the world not by telling them who He was but by showing them. “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19, my emphasis). What if we walked in a manner that displayed Christ to our neighbors while lovingly revealing the truth? Jesus did not say to His followers, “If anyone shall follow me, let him pick up his blade daily and slaughter every obstacle and piece of lostness in this world.” He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23, ESV). We cannot change the world through the might of the sword. Only God’s grace and mercy by Christ’s shed blood can alter the world. Sheath your sword and pick up the cross.

This Cross Is Heavy

Why is the cross so heavy? The cross Simon of Cyrene carried for Jesus was estimated to have weighed over 300 pounds. While the cross in antiquity was designed to create a tortuous death, Christians can look upon it as the place where Jesus shed blood and set them free from the bondage of sin. If we are free, why is it so hard to pick up the cross and follow Him? Sometimes, I wonder why the cross I was given is so heavy, but then I am reminded of the burden of sin I carried before I cast my cares upon Him. My cross is undoubtedly not heavier than the one He endured for me. As I stand in this moment of uncertainty, I know He is calling me to be still and rely on His strength to persevere. He has made it clear that I am to use the 60 days I have been given to share the mission He has given my family and me. He is calling us to raise funds in the face of adversity because He has a greater purpose for us than just going through life enjoying the blessings. He has called all of us who profess faith in Him to bear a cross, but we cannot carry it alone. This is why Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Will you lay down your sword to pick up your cross?

Psalm 46 ends with these words, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” The cross I have been called to carry is heavy, but He is with me. I will exalt His name in Utah among people who have twisted the truth to exalt themselves. If I am to reach the people in Vineyard and surrounding Utah County, I must lay my sword at the foot of the cross and step under the call of carrying my cross to follow the King.

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