Are you tired of the same old information for Christian living and spiritual growth rehashed and repackaged again and again? If you’ve observed the direction of evangelicalism the past 4-5 decades you’ve seen this happen. Speakers and writers try to convince us that what they have is new and more effective for living as a Christian. Better worship experiences, discipleship programs, small group Bible studies, men’s and women’s retreats, and special conferences are supposed to help us more effectively walk with Jesus. But, like the “new and improved” look of the Wheaties box, it’s still the same stuff inside.
Here’s the problem: as good as this information and these programs are, they fall short in enabling real-life transformation that our hearts long for and need. The same message and methods are unable to support the journey of someone who is either hurting from their years of experiencing Christianity or hungry to know God more.
Stale drivel cannot satisfy the deeply-rooted appetite for what is truly life-giving.
Perhaps you’re a veteran Christian having listened to hundreds of sermons, sat through as many Sunday School lessons, read dozens of books but still don’t really know the basics like how to pray or how to love people who are unkind.
Maybe you’re a minister or missionary and can’t seem to avoid conflict with other Christians around you.
Or maybe you want to live a moral and decent life but are constantly overwhelmed with temptations trapping you into feelings of defeat and guilt.
You may have even taken classes on spiritual warfare or how to fight the battles in your life but have not discovered a truly effective way to live in daily, moment-by-moment victory.
Ben has been attending church practically his whole life. Before moving to Southern California, he and his wife, Ava, enjoyed a good life in Kansas City where he worked for General Electric and seemed to flourish under the preaching of Dr. Lewis Franklin. When transferred to Los Angeles he enjoyed a good job, a solid church with good teaching, and a wife who took care of him.
Now at 71 years, he feels like he knows quite a bit about the Bible and God. However in retirement, everything is falling apart. Ava’s health is so bad there are days she can’t get out of bed. He is miserable with no work or hobbies, furious with God for not healing his wife. She’s supposed to take care of him and can’t. Ben thinks God refuses to answer his prayers and won’t keep His promises. One day while talking to his pastor about his situation, he gets so angry that he throws his Bible across the room.
There is so much wrong in this real-life story. How can Ben, a Christian for close to 60 years, not know God and His ways better than this? Why is he so out of control, angry, and miserable when Jesus and the scripture writers teach otherwise? Why does Ben not know how to deal with his own issues while blaming God for His failures?
Unfortunately, Ben’s kind of “Christianity” is too common. There’s a confidence in one’s intellectually understanding about God but little transformation of the heart and mind into God-likeness. When faced with overwhelming challenges, this kind of Christian lacks the much-needed godly strength and wisdom that comes through training in grace.
There is a better way.
The Way of the Warrior is a refreshingly practical strategy taking the best from ancient and current practices giving you the tools you need to navigate your way through fruitfulness and failure. Engaging the WOW experience will give you what you need to meet life’s challenges no matter how they come.
Why the term “Warrior?” Isn’t it too militaristic? Aren’t Christians to be lovers not fighters? Of course, the answer is that they need to be both. They are to love God with their our whole heart, mind, soul, and body and their neighbor as their own self. Yet, they are also to put on the armor of God, deny themselves, die daily and do battle against their flesh.
The Way of the Warrior provides life-giving and practical means to:
1) deal with your own internal conflicts and issues
2) deepen your resolve for and knowledge of God
3) deal with external challenges that would try to defeat you.
Therefore, being this kind of warrior is more about batting our own deadly passions than what is happening in Washington DC. It’s about confronting the world’s hold on our own heart rather than whatever we may think is “worldly” out there. We need to battle our own inner “demons” more than the demonic powers we think lurk everywhere. It’s not that these external issues can be ignored. But they need to be addressed from a place of inner calm and strength. The Way of the Warrior will explore and point the way to how this can be done.
A warrior spends much of her time preparing herself for battle. The training itself is a type of battle. Boot camp challenges the body, will, and mind to depths never experienced before. Eventually the warrior develops a keen awareness of the constant dangers and challenges which are all around. She never knows when she’ll be called on to engage. Yet, she’s always on the alert and ready.
Praise be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues people under me. (Psalm 144.1-2)
Advantages of WOW
The Way of the Warrior integrates a full spectrum of valuable insights together with all aspects of our being to develop whole-person growth as a warrior conditioned for battle.
What does this mean?
Integration means to put together elements and combine them into a whole. For our purposes, ancient and current insights on how to live as a Christian will be combined with who we are as human beings – physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, intuitional, and relational. There is much currently overlooked which can effectively inform us to be the Christian we desire to be (and God designed us to be). WOW is an attempt to put together truly effective elements of Christian living into one “package” that when implemented will transform heart, mind, soul, body and relationships.
It is tempting to get off balance here. Perhaps you’ve read something or heard a sermon where one principle or practice is proclaimed as the secret to the Christian life. Learn these love languages, or learn the prayer of Jabez, or learn about the eneagram, or learn to journal, or eat these foods, or be part of a small group, or join Dynamic Church, or believe in predestination, the pre-tribulation rapture and six-day creation, or experience all the gifts of the Spirit, or learn to meditate, or find your spiritual gift, or read the KJV. The list is endless.
Truth is, there is no one secret method, belief, or organization which holds the magic key.
But there must be a time-tested basic and simple model which can be integrated with our whole person helping us, over time, to transform into a more authentic Christian.
WOW! If only that could be true.
Now, here’s the (really good) catch. For this WOW experience to work, you must participate in it. There is little real benefit to you if you only read and don’t actually practice it. Even if you only practice some of it to begin with, you will benefit. Take baby steps, then walk, then run, then do the marathon. It really is possible.
WOW & Theosis
The term ancient writers use to describe this model or process is “theosis.” (Even as I type the word my spell-check doesn’t recognize it so out of touch are moderns with this reality.) Theosis is the transformative process whose aim is likeness to Jesus Christ and union with the Triune God. Christians cannot become like God in His essence. Yet, they can become more like Him in His character and virtues. This only comes about as Christians learn to participate in God as He reveals Himself to us in creation, providence, and redemption.
Theosis is the purpose of the WOW experience. All the elements in the Way of the Warrior are for the purposes of transforming your life into the likeness of Jesus Christ and of helping you to live more fully into your union with the Trinity. Engaging in the Way of the Warrior will probably improve the quality of your life but that is not its goal. More than making your life better, more productive, or healthy, the aim is to make your whole being (by grace) more like God.
Theosis is a distinctive of the WOW experience. Where is this understanding found in sermons you’ve heard or books that you’ve read? Though this has been the teaching of the Church for dozens of centuries, few today are acquainted with the idea of theosis. We hope to change that in your understanding and in practice.
Theosis is the catalyst of the WOW experience. Since God took on a human body, will, mind, and relations, He has the power to transform our body, will, mind and relationships. This is not just a spiritual journey. The WOW experience includes every aspect of your life as does Theosis.
Are you tracking with me? As I continue to explore the WOW experience, I hope you’ll hang with me and give me some feedback whenever you can.