Prepare Your Heart

Your Training Ground

By opening this page, you have chosen to step onto your training ground. Like any soldier would, you must go through basic training and review the fundamentals. Different, though, than a newly enlisted soldier, you will receive on-the-job training rather than spend weeks in bootcamp. As you learn, use what you know. Make the most of your time, for the days are evil. (Eph 5:16)

I can think of no better imagery than that of a soldier, the brave soul who runs into the fight rather than away. That must be us now, willing to step into our combat boots and rattle the gates of hell with our collective march. The concept of rattling the gates came to me several years ago at first through song lyrics. I never did anything with the song, but the idea did eventually find its place in a chapter of a nonfiction book I wrote. I will use that content and imagery in topics below, but for now, I’ll set the scene.

“…I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).

I believe Jesus meant exactly what He said. Yet, to look at the church today, we sure don’t seem to be the ones prevailing. The gates of hell seem to rattle us way more than our activities rattle the gates. Just so you know, I don’t mean some spiritual charge against hell. I simply mean we tend to spend more time running away from the enemy, fearing he has some mystical power over our lives, than we do charging ahead with the battle cry of the Lord. When we, as believers, stand upon Jesus, the Word made flesh, the enemy has no power over us. It’s time we started living that truth. It’s time to be soldiers rather than babes in the faith.

We genuinely don’t have time for our old way of life, that life we keep referring to as “normal.” Newsflash: We will never see what we consider normal again. And praise God for that since our normal in this nation was already calling evil good and good evil, substituting darkness for light and light for darkness. (Is. 5:20)

Pre-2020 life, for the most part, was good. We gathered in person and without fear. Preachers preached about the loving Jesus, the saving Jesus, and the healing Jesus. We sang, we listened, and we went home until the next Sunday. With what we now know, that way of doing church should be a thing of the past, yet many–actually most–are once again falling into those same old patterns, pretending there’s a new normal that’s warm and comfy.

The first church comes to mind, how warm and comfy life was for them. Oh wait, that’s not right. The first church, those early believers, were persecuted and thrown out of their houses of worship for speaking the truth of Jesus as Messiah. New believers were disowned by their families and lost their homes and livelihoods for standing firm for Truth. Sound familiar in the days of mandates? We, the last church, are faced with the same tough decisions and consequences as the first church. Will we stand and speak truth about the soon-coming Jesus, or will we sleep on in the warm and comfy routines that were once our pre-2020 lives?

In order to be who we must be and do what we must do, it’s time to get serious in our walks with the Lord if we’re not already. It’s time to learn and grow and stretch our understanding. There’s much to cover, and as much as I’d like to get it all accomplished in one or two sittings, I think we need to strengthen our resolve over time. I know that’s what it has taken for me. I continually seek an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus. Without that I won’t stand. Without that, I would melt into a puddle of fears and inactivity. Commit to step onto and remain on your training ground until that moment when you’re snatched out of the way of the fast-approaching train.

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