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LIFE GATE CHURCH
Do we have any warrior princesses in the house today? How about warriors?
We talked in our first lesson how the church has feminized manhood by teaching godly manhood as being "Mr. Nice Guy." Arnold Schwarzenegger referenced some of the California state legislators as "girly-men."  Thatís sort of a description for what the church has done to manhood. Add to that how a wife attempts to "handle" her husband as if raising a son instead of "helping" him become a WARRIOR, and we contribute to what I want to talk about today Ė THE DISTRACTED WARRIOR.
In church and homes, we have ended up with many emasculated men, not warriors of God. Itís difficult to express manhood when it comes to the way we are taught to express spiritual things. The world makes it easy to express manhood. Itís easy to see how you line up and score with other men in the world. Men "keep score" from childhood. No matter if we admit it or not, guys keep score. Itís a part of being a man. It entwines into our warrior spirit and attitude. Put two boys together and it wonít be long they will be having contests to see whoís the best no matter what they are doing.
Even in the work environment, itís easy to see how a man is doing, but itís not that way with spiritual things. For example, you never hear of a man coming home all excited and pumped telling his wife, "Honey! They gave out bonuses for spiritual awards at work today and I won! I won the most humble and meek man! Iím so proud." You never hear a man telling his wife, "The guys got together after Life Group and rated my closing prayer. They gave me a 9.9. I AM THE MAN! Give me a high 5!" Have you ever heard a man say, "We had a contest to see who had the best Ďtalking in tonguesí language and I won!"?
Do you understand what I mean here? Itís difficult for a man to "feel" manly when it comes to spiritual things. Spiritual things are not "manly" in the eyes of the world. However, let me stop right here and ask the warrior princesses a question. Ladies, make some noise for me if I am correct. How many of you want a husband who would win a "most spiritual" contest when it comes to "The warrior husband who craves you only and craves to have the best marriage?" Or, the award for "The dad who lusts to be the best dad for his children?" Or, the award for "The best husband who desires and provides financial security for his family?" Or, the husband who wins the award for "The warrior with the happiest wife?" Donít you want a man who would win the award for, and fight for, his marriage, children, finances, you, and his church? Let me hear you women if I am right! So, see guys? If you want a real contest, there it is. Or, is that too much of a challenge for you?
Let me help us men and you women understand what happens and why men frequently loose the contest of life. The warrior becomes distracted. This is a serious battle for a warrior. Ladies, have you noticed how easily your man can be distracted when you are talking to him? You will be talking and you know he isnít listening, so you say, "Are you listening to me?" We know you know weíre not listening, but we have this supernatural gift where we can recall the last five words you said. So, we lie and say, "Iím listening," and repeat those five words hoping somehow it will convince you we were listening, but you know better. Am I right? The truth be known, we men lose too many battles because we are easily distracted. The battle against distraction is major for a WARRIOR. So, letís work on this today.
1 John 2:14 I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
John is addressing fathers and young men, not in physical maturity as much as in mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity. Mature/father figure warriors are recognized by a long relationship with Christ. Young men warriors are recognized by the word of God living in them. They live by the word. They are sharp mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It seems these "father" warriors and "young men" warriors have it all together, but watch out! Next verseÖ
1 John 2:15 DO NOT love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is NOT IN HIM.
Something happened! The father warrior, or strong young man warrior, once incredibly powerful, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually overcoming in every area of life was broadsided and fell "head over heals" in love with the things of the world. That love removed the love of the Father from him. What happened? Something distracted him.
1 John 2:16 For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world...
Something, some carnal craving, some lust for something he sees, or some haughty boasting pride became more important to the warrior than spiritual things. Itís shown by his shift in priorities. He once craved God. Now he craves some sinful thing. He once lusted to see God. He now lusts to have things. He once put his faith in God. He now boasts of what he has and does.
A DISTRACTED WARRIOR WILL ABANDON HIS HEAVENLY LOVE IN PURSUIT OF AN EARTHLY LOVE. Eventually, if not corrected, the distraction will destroy the warrior. Ladies, it will destroy his marriage, destroy his family, destroy his finances, destroy his health, and obviously, destroy his relationship with Father God. A DISTRACTED WARRIOR IS A DANGEROUS WARRIOR. Warriors and warrior princesses, we need to know how this happens. Letís talk about the 3 strategic ways the enemy distracts and attacks a man. Letís read 1 John 2:16 again, but from the KJV.
1 John 2:16 For ALL THAT IS IN THE WORLD, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Here, it is spelled out for us. Every man will face these three issues. Itís ALL the world has to offer Ė three things. If you, warrior, think you will get by without facing these, or if you woman think your man will get by without facing these, you are not living in reality. No man is exempt and that included Jesus.
Jesus was tempted of the devil in the wilderness. After Jesus fasted 40 days and nights, sort of challenging the devil by making himself weak, what was the first temptation Jesus experienced? The lust of the flesh.
Matthew 4:2-3 For forty days and forty nights he ate nothing and became very hungry. Then the Devil came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread."
The devil came and tempted Jesus with the cravings of the body/flesh. "If you hunger and want something, see if you can make it happen. Take advantage of your position, looks, money, etc." Could Jesus make it happen? Yes. Did he? No. Jesus refused saying a warrior does not live by cravings, but by every word of God.
The lust of the flesh didnít work, so AGAIN the devil came tempting Jesus by taking Jesus to the top Ė pinnacle of success.
Matthew 4:5-7 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and SETTETH HIM ON A PINNACLE of the temple, and said, "If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, 'He orders his angels to protect YOU...'" Jesus responded, "The Scriptures also say, 'DO NOT TEST the Lord your God.' "
The devil told Jesus "Itís all about YOU." "God wouldnít allow anything to happen to YOU. YOU are too important, so if you are a child of God, do something dumb and expect God to get YOU out of it. YOU are special (pride). No one else can get by with it, but YOU can. Go ahead, jump! Jump into that forbidden relationship. Jump into debt. Jump into drugs Ė YOU wonít get addicted like everyone else. YOU are special. God wonít allow to happen to ĎYOUí what happens to everyone else. Eat this appleÖ YOU wonít surely die. YOU are special." Jesus said no way. A warrior doesnít fool with or test God no matter who the warrior is. "YOU" are never important enough for God to change his laws. The devil went to the third strategic attack.
Matthew 4:8-10 AGAIN, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
There is always an "AGAIN" temptation for a warrior. The devil asked, "Donít you want it Jesus? You see it. You can have it. You know you lust to rule the kingdoms of the world. Just give in (bow), back off from God a little and worship it." Jesus said no way. I will only focus on God.
Letís examine these three distractions a little.
LUST OF THE FLESH/CRAVINGS OF SINFUL MAN: It can be a craving and lusting for different things with different people. Of course, one thing is sexual lust. We can use it as a powerful "man" example. Some of the greatest warriors of all time fell to sexual lust. We just finished our study on David. David was a tremendous warrior, strategist, leader, and man of God. The Bible says he was a man after Godís own heart, yet the lust of the flesh got him. You are never too strong or love God enough to not be distracted by the lust of the flesh. That one distraction messed up Davidís family and Davidís life from that point on. That distraction is exactly what the devil will do with you, warrior. A man can love his wife, but become distracted abandoning his heavenly love in pursuit of the lust and cravings of the flesh.
LUST OF THE EYES: This is when a man is not satisfied with what he has and imagines something else, or someone else, will make him happier. The lust of the flesh deals with cravings and appetites. The lust of the eyes deals with happiness. Itís the "If I could make this much money, I would be happy." "If I had that car/truck, I would be happy." "If I had that house, it would fix my world." "Then I would be fulfilled and satisfied." Even the lamest of men intellectually know "things" will not make us happy, but still pursue what we "see." Remember, a man associates his worth by his accomplishments. So, if he has more and better, then he is worth more. This lie of the enemy will literally bankrupt even the best of warriors. A man will abandon his heavenly love in pursuit of the lust of the eyes.
PRIDE OF LIFE / THE BOASTING OF WHAT HE HAS AND DOES: This is when a man begins to think itís all about him. Heís the star. "If it gets done right, I will have to do it." I must be in control." "I am in charge, not you." Life turns into a self-made pride about "me." When itís about me, it canít be about my wife, or children, or mother, dad, people, OR God. Love turns internal when Godís love is ALWAYS external. Itís a narcissistic attitude that gets many men. A man will abandon his heavenly love in pursuit of the pride of life.
So, how does a man battle these three distractions and attacks of the devil? He must do what Jesus did: (1) Recognize itís an evil distraction by the devil intended to destroy him; (2) Replace the evil distraction with a spiritual focus. Lets talk about these.
I want to show you a clip from the movie, For The Love of the Game with Kevin Costner playing forty year old Billy Chapel pitching for Detroit in the hostile environment of Yankee Stadium during the World Series. He is in the 9th inning, trying to pitch a perfect game. He goes through a mental "clear the mechanism" and foreign forces silence. He then focuses on the target Ė the pitch. (Movie clip)
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and BRINGING INTO CAPTIVITY EVERY THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ
(1) Recognize itís an evil distraction by the devil intended to destroy you. You must "clear the mechanism:" clear the cravings of the flesh, lust of what you see, and clear the prideful accomplishments from the enemy. Men/warriors, you know the desire to think lustful thoughts. You know the desire to crave things. You know the desire to be in control and prideful. You must "Clear the mechanism." Realize itís an evil distraction. Go to battle with it as a warrior. Thatís the battle, your mind and imaginations and thoughts. Bring the distraction into captivity by recognizing it for what it is Ė a plan to destroy you. Then (2) Replace the evil distraction with a spiritual focus.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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. Let us FIX OUR EYES on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faithÖ
Men, there is a sin that SO EASILY ENTANGLES you. It messes you up so easily. It entangles your life, marriage, children, finances, occupation, church, God. What do you do when it shows up? When we find ourselves wandering into those areas Ė DISTRACTIONS, we must recognize it as something that will SO EASILY ENTANGLE us (destroy us). Donít play with it. (2) replace the evil distraction with a spiritual focus Ė FIX Ė FOCUS Ė on what we should be focusing Ė marriage, children, finances, health, addiction, church. Fix our eyes on Jesus simply means to focus on the teachings of Jesus. "How did Jesus through his word teach me to handle this?"
Sir, if your home is not what it should be, if your children are not who they should be, if your life is not what it should be, most likely itís because you have been distracted and not CLEARED THE MECHANISM.
Nathan, the prophet of God said to David after Davidís distraction, "You Are The Man." Sir, I respect you, but I need to tell you, "YOU ARE THE MAN." You are responsible to work and take care of your garden (Gen 2:15) and all that means. You are the man.
Ezekiel 22:30 "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found NONE.
God is looking for men who will build up the protection for the manís family and church. God is looking for a man who will stand in the gap of weak places. Are you the man? Could you cross out the last word in the verse above and put your name there? Will you be that man? (I Am A Warrior video) Letís prayÖ
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