Beth Moore - Taking Aim - Part 4
This would have been well understood by anyone who had ever seen a Roman soldier. The shield would not have been something like oblong. It would've been something rectangular that looked like a small door. Now, in those days... I was reading something. If this is accurate, I was reading one of the commentaries a couple of days ago, and it said it would've almost covered those warriors, because it was talking about how big it was, and they said, you know, the average height was about five feet. And I just, that's kind of hard to wrap our minds around, all these little tiny, it's like watching the hobbits, you know, with all the little... I don't know if that just strikes you as odd, but somehow I just never pictured, I picture all these tall orders.
That was not the case. But here's what they would do: So they held out in front of them so that right here in this hand they had their shield, and they had their sword over here. So the shield here. Their sword here 'cause the sword was within the sheath right here. Pull it out like this and got their shield. What they would do is that they would line up by one another in one line until they formed a wall. Listen carefully. This is meant to be the body of Christ. You see, don't think the enemy doesn't know it, because if he can keep us divided, then we are not an impenetrable wall because we're all scattered all over the place trying to hold up our own shield. But when we stand together, when you stand together as a church body, when you stand together as a group of believers in an accountability group, when we stand together as Christians, even as diverse as we are, then we are side by side.
Every one of our shields are up, and there is not an inch between them, and so all those arrows are coming, but none of them are getting through. He said every single time the shield of faith will stop those fiery darts, every single time. But they said, of course, the same was true for the individual fighter. Say that you're the one. Say that, really, there's no one besides you fighting that battle with you right now. It's just you, you. And you're holding up that shield as high as you can and as tightly in your hand as you can. Let me tell you something. Never, ever overlook the power of one mighty warrior, just one, just one.
Did you know that one of the commentaries told a story about one on the Roman soldiers in the time of Julius Caesar, so this would've been about, I think I wrote it down, about 48 B.C. In Julius Caesar's army, there was a Roman soldier by the name of Scaeva, and at the end of one of the big, big, famous battles for Pompey, at the end of that battle, it said that he counted more than 200 darts in his shield. Just one battle. Just one battle. That's the power of shield. Ours is faith. I want you to understand something. We gotta get through our heads over and over again what the enemy wants most is not, if you're married, not your marriage. It's not your kids. It's not your home. It's not your church. He'd like to have all of those things, but you know what he wants most? Your faith. Your faith.
When Paul was talking about when he said, "I have fought the good fight. I finished the race. I have kept the faith". The way he was saying that he had competed well is that he was making it to the finish line with his faith intact. I know whom I've believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to protect what he has entrusted to me until that day. I don't know a lot of things. I can't explain a lot of things, but I know my God is God. I know he is good to me. He has got a plan. I know what Jesus has done for me. I know I'm accepted in the beloved. Those things I know. I know that he who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it till the day of Christ Jesus. That I know. That I know. I know that neither death nor life nor angel nor principality, nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. That I know. That when everything else falls apart, what do you know? What do you know?
I want to show you some verses. Turn with me, if you would, please, to 2 Corinthians chapter 4. I gotta tell you, one of the things that is just beautiful about the way the Spirit works, you know, the Word of God... If somebody's new with us this weekend, one of the things that makes the Word of God different from any other literature that a world religion would consider to be sacred is that our Scriptures are living words we're told by God. They're God-breathed. They're living words. The Word of God is alive and active. I mean, it's a present active participle. That means that in this moment, that as you read it, as the Spirit of God is quickening, he's the one that wrote his Word, and he's the one that brings his Word to life.
So the Word of God is not any older as it's coming off that page and jumping in your bones. It's an eternal Word. It's an eternal Word. And so it's God-breathed, so it's fresh breath. It's like a Tic Tac every single time you're reading it. Totally fresh spearmint. I mean, it's just like fresh breath to you, fresh breath to you, and we receive it that way. I mean, it's just life in our bones. And so I was reading over this like it was brand new.
2 Corinthians 4, I want to read verses, I guess I'll start at 7, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. We are perplexed, but we are not driven to despair. Persecuted, maybe, but we are not forsaken. Struck down, but not destroyed. Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus's sake, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have that same spirit of faith according to what has been written, 'I believed, and so I spoke,' we also believe, and so we also speak".
What I am about to share with you is the most powerful thing I have ever learned in my warfare and to build up and edify my own soul without a doubt, and it's something that God taught me back in 1999. That is how long this has been going on. And so it may be that you've been in some of the classes. Maybe you've taken "Breaking Free", and you're going, "I already know this". Okay, well, maybe somebody sitting next to you doesn't. What God began to teach me was that we have these two sticks of dynamite, that we have the Word of God, and we have prayer. The Word of God, and we have prayer. And that when we put those two things together. You talk about double dynamite. When those things are lit together, you talk about building up our faith.
Now, here's what I need you to understand. I am not trying to sell you a book. I don't bring books up to the podium. This is one of the oldest books that I have. I think that it was renewed and copyright in '09, but it was written many, many, many years before that. I wrote it, because when I taught "Breaking Free" in chapter 9, which is my life message, that whole Bible study is, but in chapter 9, we talk about how to tear down strongholds by taking captive, that anything that has gotten in our imagination as bigger than God, bigger than the knowledge of God, needs to be torn down. That's where addictions are, that's where bondage is, anything that has gotten to where it's just like ballooned itself, exalted itself over the truth of God's Word and the truth of who I am in him. And so that has to be torn down and demolished, and we have power, divine power to demolish strongholds.
And so I teach the concept in chapter 9 of "Breaking Free", so they go through the whole week, and I tell 'em, you know, go look and see what is the strongholds you're dealing with, and go hunt down Scriptures that would speak straight into that. Well, the question became from woman after woman after woman after woman, "How do I do that? Could you help me figure those out"? And so that's why I wrote "Praying God's Word". It takes 14 different strongholds that are probably some of the most common. It is the stronghold of unbelief. It has the stronghold of different kinds of eating disorders. It has a stronghold from having been in sexual strongholds. It's overcoming depression, overcoming rejection, overcoming deception, overcoming pride, you name it, but it's the concept.
In those days, I could just send them to a concordance, but I couldn't do what I can do with you today. You can do this. You don't have to have it. You can do it. But listen how to do it. All you do, you go to something like BibleGateway. So your situation is what? What are you dealing with? Is it sexual temptation? Okay, you're going to go onto some kind of search site like BibleGateway. You're looking for a key word study where it says: What key word are you looking for? You're going to put in some key words that would help you find it. You can put in holiness, purity. You can put in the word sexual and see what would come up, and you would see Scriptures that would go with that topic, anything that would be near it where you're bringing it up, and it's going to tell you, you choose your translation. It's going to tell you every time it's there. You print that baby out, and you turn it into prayer. You turn it into prayer.
Okay, so you're putting those two sticks of dynamite together, okay? This one is on overcoming feelings of rejection. So I looked up Psalm 37:28, that talks about it, Romans 8:30, 2 Timothy 2:13, Hebrews 13:5, and this is what the prayer says: "Lord, God, your Word says that you love the just, and you will not forsake your faithful ones. They will be protected forever. My justification is found in your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is faithful even when I am not. Thank you, Father, that I can be absolutely sure you will never leave nor forsake me because I am in Jesus". You know what I'm saying?
All right, when you do this... Okay, say for instance you're really worried about a kid, that you've got a young adult that is going really far from the faith. You know what? Go into the Scriptures. Where are some pictures of some people you hope he would become like? Well, Samuel. How about Apollos? How about several others that you could think of that you're saying, I mean, "I would like to pray that. Oh, I'd love for him to be a Caleb or a Joshua". Start going to some of those Scriptures. Turn it into prayer. Lord, I pray that he'd have the Word on his tongue like Joshua, that you'd give him a heart that he would have an unusual spirit in him like Caleb. You know what I'm saying?
Anybody getting this with me? Because what happens here, nothing is... Oh, I'm wanting to come off the stage so badly, but you won't... Okay, listen, listen, listen, listen: Nothing, nothing is more exhausting than long-term prayer. I mean, where you're just like, man, I've been praying for this dude for five years. Some of you have been praying for your husband for 20 solid years. What happens when we'd use the Word is it rolls the burden onto the Word. It's like, Lord, you know what? It's your responsibility. That's your Word. You said it. Go do it. It's the most freeing, wonderful, he's all, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, because I'd love to have the freedom for you to get out of my way and let me to your person, 'cause you're so all over your person, trying to be Junior Holy Spirit to them. I cannot even get to them".
So, when we pray the Word, we're rolling all the responsibility on it. You get to the end of it. I like to stand up when I do it. I like to stand up. I like to scare the dogs under the bed. I really do. I really do. And when we do, and when we do, I mean, we can feel it, and instead of coming to the end of our prayer time, and we just prayed that for the 300th time in the last couple of years, and we're just exhausted in tears 'cause, "He's not going to do it anyway," instead, we're completely energized by the Word, because what's happened... Did you hear that verse in 2 Corinthians 4:13? It says, "With that same spirit of faith", that word spirit, breath, "With that same spirit of faith, according to what has been written, I believed, and so I spoke. We also believe, and so we also speak".
Listen, listen, belief, faith, is like taking in the breath. When I read the Word of God, and I believe it, that I am chosen, I'm accepted in the beloved, I have been graced with lavish grace (and this is all coming from Ephesians chapter 1) that I have been redeemed, all of these, when I believe it, when I read the Word of God, and I believe it, I'm inhaling it like a breath. When I then speak it, when I speak it, the power of spoken words, it is like holy CPR. I'm breathing it in, I'm speaking it out. I'm breathing it in, I'm speaking it out. I'm breathing it in, I'm speaking out. I'm breathing in that Jesus says, "As my Father has loved me, so do I love you. Now abide in my love".
Okay, I'm going to believe that. So I'm believing that. I'm going to breathe it in, and do you know what? I'm going to say it. I'm going to say to Jesus, "You know what? As your Father loves you, you love me". Girl, if that is not power, I don't know how to show it to you. That changes everything. It changes everything. I'm meant to be a light, not a lightweight. Well, you know our boxing metaphor. I'll remind you of it at the end of 1 Corinthians 9, where it says, "Every athlete exercises self-control in all things", verse 25, "They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly. I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified".
Listen carefully with this boxing metaphor. It's a beautiful thing. In boxing, the weight divisions, it is a maximum of 135 pounds to be a lightweight. A lightweight. But what I did was I looked up lightweight in Merriam-Webster's, and it talks about that. It talks, first of all, about boxing. But then it says that conceptually here's what it means: "One of little consequence or ability". Listen to me, if you are in Jesus Christ, that is never meant to be you. Never meant to be you. You have not been born again of the Spirit of God to be of little consequence, of little consequence or ability. You have access to divine strength, and the last thing you're meant to be is of no consequence. You and I are meant to be lights, but we are not meant to be lightweights.
Now, I gotta tell ya something. I'm going to come up here and do a little demonstration with boxing, and here's what you need to know. You need to know that I am really, really new to this. I've never done this before until I got ready for your lesson this week, and I only had my lesson in trying it yesterday, so I asked the Lord this morning. I said, "Okay, Lord, if I'm good at it, could you at least make me funny"? Because if it can't be good, then if it's funny, it still works. Now, I have two pair of boxing gloves up here. These are some that somebody gave me, and I really do love them. I really do love them, but when I came, I called ahead to my buddy that helps me set up our sets, and I said, "You know what? I'm going to bring 'em with me, but I'm not going to use 'em".
And I'm going to tell you why: I don't want to fight like a girl. I don't want to. And I'mma be honest with you. I don't want to fight like a guy either. I want to fight like a warrior. I want to be a warrior. I don't want to just like, "For a girl, for a girl," dot, dot, dot. No, I'm not interested in that. In Galatians, there's no male or female. I want to be a warrior. I want to be a warrior of the faith. I want to be able, so, I mean, I love these. I might be giving these away today. They're so cute. They're so precious. But you know what? I really don't, well, you come get 'em. Right here, right here, this one right here, this one right here, mm-hmm, you come get 'em. Now, I really love 'em. You're going to look darling in them. I needed these. Oh, I'm so glad. You're going to look absolutely darling in them. But I, on the other hand, am going to put on these.
Now, here is what I'm learning. I watched all manner of video. Then I had a little demonstration here yesterday. I learned that there are two really, really, really important punches, and it's the jab, and then it's the right straight. Now, because I'm right-handed, that's why my left foot is out front. My less dominant hand is going to be in front. My feet are supposed to be about shoulder width right here, where I've got a good firm stance right here.
Now, my less dominant hand, my hands are going to be about chin high. My elbows are not going to be out like this, because it's going to leave my mid-portion open to someone to hit. Anybody got what I'm saying? So I'm not going to box the air. I'm going to be intentional about what I'm doing. So I'm going to have my hands up. My less dominant hand is going to be right out front, my fists together like this, and what I'm going do, here's my right hand right here. The jab is going to be that I am going to take my front hand, and I am going to punch straight here, and then I'm going to come back quickly. Think in terms of shield and sword here, because this is shielding me. It's the reason why it's gotta come back quickly. This is shielding me, so I'm going to hit with it because it's unexpected. I'm going to pull it back quickly, and then I'm going to use the other one. Anybody got what I'm saying?
So I've got my hands right here, right here, right here, and I'm going to pivot. Just, I'mma try to keep my shoulders like this, but I'm going to pivot my hip just a little bit as I go to hit. So here are my hands right here, and I'm going to go just like this. But then when I bring the right straight, it's going to go like this. Anybody? Anybody? Anybody understand what I'm saying? So I'm not going to box the air, because I know what I'm after. I know what I'm after because I have made up my mind. Now, listen, the reason why I can say this to you with some amount of confidence that you will not misunderstand this as arrogance is because I've told you and told you, if you've been part of the studies, it is totally by the grace of God and not by my own doing. But I'm going to tell you something. Jesus Christ won me.
I'mma say that again. Jesus Christ won me. In a world of people that will let you down and not take care of you when you need to be taken care of, Jesus Christ was there for me. He won me. I know my aim in life. I did not always know it, but girlfriend, I want to tell you today, I know where I am aiming, and I know the darkness that is between me and what I am aiming for, and when I box, it's not going to be against people. It is going to be against the darkness. You know what it's also going to be against? Did you notice that little twist on the verses in 1 Corinthians 9, when he says, "But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."?
You want to hear something? This is just fascinating. Fascinating. You know who he's considering his fiercest opponent? Himself. Himself. Is there anybody in this room that could not say, "I have been the worst enemy I have ever had in the course of my life"? I have chosen things that would self-destruct me and sabotage me over and over again. I have treated people in the body of Christ with legalism instead of love. I've not disciplined myself to the call of love. I've hijacked my own progress over and over again. And he says - we'd hear it if we could see the Greek. He's basically saying, "When I need to, I give my own self a black eye". Not physical. We're not hitting ourselves. But every now and then, we need to say to ourselves, "Down, girl. Down, girl". You don't need to rise up in pride over that. You don't need to rise up in anger over that. "Down, girl". Somebody say, "Down, girl". Know who your real enemy is, and that, that is where we bring the punch.
I want you guys to stand to your feet. Jesus has brought you into this place because he has aimed his love right at you. You are precious to him, beloved in his sight. And it is time that we put on that helmet of salvation that says I may not know a lot of things, but I know I'm in Jesus, who'll talk to people all the time that will say, listen, I've been struggling with this for ten years. I don't know if I'm saved or not. I don't know if something happened to me, if I'd go to heaven or not. And this is like, why would we deal with that for ten years? Let's just settle it right now. What I want to ask you to do, if you just want to say today: Then I want to aim my life. I want to aim it at Jesus. I want to make this decision today. I want to follow him. There is no better life than this. There's no calling like this calling where everything gets to mean something. What is better than that?