God has been stirring in my heart over the past several weeks and the Tipping Point (great book) was a friend of mine torpedo-ing his life. I say the Tipping Point (great book BTW by Malcolm Gladwell) because God has been working on this in me for a while now, but seeing a friend lose everything in a blink of an eye made it very real and God used it to knock me off center.

One of the “ah-ha’s” from my friend’s situation was me concluding that nobody was close enough to him to identify the signs that led to his very public failure. There wasn’t anyone with enough relational capital to get in his chili about the condition of his heart and what he was doing to stay out of the deep weeds. I concluded this because I’m confident that had a person like that existed, things would be different for my friend.

That conclusion sparked another rabbit trail centered around the analogy of war. I had just finished watching Band of Brothers for the tenth time and that provided the visuals God needed to bring some very important points home to me:

  1. No war is won by an individual – it takes a team. Not just any team, but a well-trained, strongly led, close-knit group of soldiers with a common mission and like minded strategies.
  2. Success is a result of solid preparation, great execution and fanatical perseverance. The soldiers of Easy Company that jumped in behind enemy lines on D-Day (from the series) had all of the ingredients to play a critical role in winning World War II. They trained tirelessly, kept their heads in the heat of battle and dug in like ticks when they absolutely had to hold that line.
  3. There’s a time to play it smart and a time to get crazy. Taking undue risks usually meant trouble for those soldiers except when it was the last thing the enemy expected. Wisdom is knowing the difference and that comes from great leadership.
  4. We need men around us that would weep if we died. One of the things that can’t be calculated tactically is the extent we would fight for those we love. The war produced a bond that was both unexpected and surprisingly strong. When that bond was threatened, logic faded, raw emotion took over and survival became the sole focus. And when survival didn’t happen, their hearts broke and were never the same.

I started trying to take an inventory of my own life against these principles and I found myself sorely lacking in every one of them – and that scared me.

  • I don’t feel like I’m on any teams that both believe victory is possible and have a consensus about how it can be achieved.
  • I don’t feel like I’m prepared or execute very well and at the first sign of resistance, I crumble like a Christmas cookie wondering where my fallback position is.
  • I play it smart when I should be charging the hill and I charge the hill when I should be playing it smart. Sounds like Paul’s famous passage in Romans 9:15.
  • I also don’t think there is any man who would miss me so much that tears would be the result of my passing.

This is very sad to me and not how I wanted it to be at 37 years old. And God tells me that isn’t how He wants it either. Scripture is filled with references to how important it is to live life in the context of close relationships. Love implies that very condition and we are called to love above all else.

I’ve thought a ton about how I got here and why the principles listed above aren’t more true of me and perhaps they will find themselves listed out in another post; however, I want to conclude by telling you that I am on a journey mission crusade to change this.

  • I’m going to be sure that the teams I serve not only believe victory is possible, but they have a good sense of how it will be achieved – especially those in the Church.
  • I’m going to better prepare my mind and heart with His Word and use it when making decisions and facing the hard things in my life.
  • I’m going to more frequently use prayer for wisdom when discerning  the difference between hunkering down and issuing a battle cry.
  • I’m going to, in faith, reach out to my friends and figure out a way to move those relationships to the next level. I’m ready to be open and honest and place my heart in their and His hands in the hopes that it will produce a bond that makes a difference in the middle of a firefight.

I’m so convinced that these steps are no longer negotiable that I’m going to dedicate this year to seeing real change in this arena. And now that I’ve made my plans public, you are free to ask me how it’s going. I hope you will from time to time and I also hope you will take a moment to assess where you are and come up with your own action plan to ensure that no man is allowed to take himself out of the fight.