Cliff Notes is a series of post based on finding biblical truth in books.
Sebastian Junger went to the front lines with our troops to portray as best he could what it’s like on the front lines. This book primarily takes place in the Korangal Valley in Afghanistan. It’s not Christian-based but it’s a fantastic read and you can still apply many parts of it to the spiritual battles we face.
There are different kinds of strength, and containing fear may be the most profound, the one without which armies couldn’t function and wars couldn’t be fought (God forbid). There are big, tough guys in the Army who are cowards and small, feral-looking dudes, like Monroe, who will methodically take apart a SAW while rounds are slapping the rocks all around them. The more literal forms of strength, like carrying 160 pounds up a mountain, depend more obviously on the size of your muscles, but muscles only do what you tell them, so it still keeps coming back to the human spirit.
Paul tells us in Timothy 4 that physical training is good, but it’s only going to get us so far. We need to train ourselves for godliness. Junger put it well, “…muscles only do what you tell them, so it still keeps coming back to the human spirit.” You can look like a freak of nature with your shirt off, but if you haven’t trained your heart and mind spiritually, that physical strength won’t fill the void.
Wars are fought with very heavy machinery that works best on top of the biggest hill in the area and used against men who are lower down. That, in a nutshell, is military tactics, and it means that an enormous amount of war-fighting simply consists of carrying heavy loads uphill.
I’ve been at points when I see guys who are on absolute fire for Christ and I can tell just by being around them that they are a strong spiritual warrior. We see guys like that and think, “Dang I want to have that same fire. That strength.” Well, you can, but you have to be willing to carry those heavy loads up the hill to put yourself in position fight battles with that kind of strength.
What does the uphill trek look like for you? For many of you, it’s time to allow God to break you down so he can be the sole focus of your life. That might mean dropping a hobby to free up time for spiritual training. It also might be recognizing sin in your life and repenting. That uphill climb is different for all of us and for some, it’s going to look much steeper and the load is going to be heavier.
However steep the climb and however heavy the load, I can tell you this:
It’s worth it