The Way Of The Warrior (book review)

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait for “Martial Arts Theater” on Saturday afternoons! My friends and I would gather at my house with our snacks and watch a movie with outstanding martial arts action, and then run outside to try to practice what we had just watched. In these movies, I was always intrigued by the reluctant hero—the guy who had enough skill to snap your neck with his little finger, but who didn’t want to fight. When the bad guys finally crossed the line, our hero would instantly spring into action to restore peace. These are the memories that came flooding back into my mind as I read Erwin McManus’ latest book The Way Of The Warrior.

The warrior is a peaceful man living in a hostile world. He is prepared to fight, but will only fight when it is the only option to restore peace in his community. The warrior is nobody’s fool, but neither does he flaunt his knowledge before fools. The warrior doesn’t seek honor for himself, but fights to secure a better future for those he loves. 

In short, the warrior is vividly portrayed on the pages of Scripture as the kind of man God delights to bless. McManus interweaves all of these concepts masterfully in his book. As I read, I found my mind flipping between images of my childhood martial arts movies, and heroes in the Bible, and the opportunities I have right now to be a warrior for peace. 

Like the ancient samurai, McManus instructs us in the eight codes of the God-honoring warrior. This type of warrior fights only for peace, seeks to become invisible, finds honor in serving others, gains mastery over his own thoughts, owns defeat, harnesses and channels his strengths, becomes one with all that’s around him, and stands unmoving in his pain. 

As is the case with all of McManus’ books that I have read, I find myself invigorated mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. After reading The Way Of The Warrior, I have a clearer picture of the type of warrior God has called His men to be. 

Guys, this is an excellent book for you to read on your own, but I would highly recommend that you read with other warriors. The concepts in this book will spark some much-needed conversation about how godly men should live in today’s culture.

I am a Waterbrook book reviewer. 

Thursdays With Oswald—Jeremiah 20

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Jeremiah 20

[These are notes from Oswald Chambers’ lecture on Jeremiah 20.] 

    O Lord…I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me (Jeremiah 20:7b). Jeremiah came back to the city and repeated to all the people the message he gave to the elders (Jeremiah 19:14-15). For the first time Jeremiah is designated by his office—‘the prophet’ (20:2), and the action of Pashur is against him as a prophet for his public utterance. According to the people Pashur was right and Jeremiah a raving fanatic. How we select things out of the Bible! We have forgotten what Paul wrote—‘He was crucified in weakness … likewise, we are weak in Him’ [2 Corinthians 13:4]. A Christian is one who can be weak, an abject failure in the eyes of the world. …

     It takes the grace of God to go through disgrace unspoilt. … 

     O Lord, You deceived me, and I was deceived [v. 7a]. Jeremiah says in heart-breaking sobs before God, ‘I have been deceived in what I hoped Thou wouldst do.’ His cry is not the theological argument of a man’s mind, he is pouring it all out before God; there is no charge brought against God and no reply from God. ‘I spoke because the people were reproaching Thy Word, and now I see nothing but ridicule all day long.’ 

     Jeremiah is sensitive to the last degree to all the affinities of the people and he speaks out of perplexity—But if I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in His name,’ His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot [v. 9]. 

     I hear many whispering… ‘Report him! Let’s report him!’ All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, ‘Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.’ ‘The people watch for inconsistencies in my life that they may say on that ground I am not preaching Thy truth.’ To be defamed means that if you stand for God you will not be able to stand for anything else. …

     But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior [v. 11]—a sudden outburst of the devotion of Jeremiah’s heart for God. … When in communion with God His desires are a delight, he sees and enjoys deliverance.

From Notes On Jeremiah

Standing for God may mean that you stand alone. Are you ready?

Standing for God also mean that He stands with you like a mighty warrior. Are you ready now?!

A Warrior For God’s Favor

I love this guy! 

Caleb is a dog. I’m not kidding: his name literally means dog. To be more specific his name actually means a rabid dog. What?! Yeah, but it totally fits his life. 

Caleb first shows up on the scene when the Israelites are getting ready to explore Canaan for the first time. They have just been delivered from Egypt and in about two months have arrived at the border of their promised land. Moses wants to send a representative from each tribe to scout out the land. 

So the first thing we learn about Caleb is that he is a leader of the largest, most powerful tribe in Israel (Numbers 13:1-3, 6). 

After scouting the land for 40 days, these men come back with a report for everyone. Halfway through their report, Caleb interrupts everyone—“We should go take the land right now, for we can certainly do it!” (13:30). Caleb was outspoken for God’s favor. He firmly believed that God was for them. 

Unfortunately, nearly all the other scouts (except Joshua) disagreed with Caleb. They warned that there were giants in the land that would eat them for lunch. In essence, the same people who had seen God deliver them from the Egyptians and part the Red Sea for them now thought that God wasn’t able to defeat giants. This vocal majority turned the entire nation against Moses and wanted to return to Egypt! 

So God promised that none of the adults would enter the promised land, with only two exceptions: Joshua and Caleb. God pointed out that Caleb “has a different spirit and follows Me wholeheartedly” (Numbers 14:24). This is where we first learn that Caleb is rabid. The term rabid means zealous, intense, fanatical, inspired. Caleb is a man who is focused—intensely, wholeheartedly focused—on God. In fact, this word wholehearted is used about Caleb three more times (see Joshua 14: 8, 9, 14). 

Along with the rest of the Israelite community, Caleb wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. He never thought God had forgotten him; he never lost his intense wholeheartedness; he stayed rabid the whole time. He had a trust in God that never diminished. His motto might have been: “God said it; I believe it.” 

After 40 years in the wilderness, and then five more years fighting to claim their promised land, Caleb was still raring to go. He told Joshua, “I am still just as strong as I was 45 years ago. I’m 85 years old and still ready to take on giants. Let me at ‘em!” And he did it! Caleb drove out three giants in order to claim his territory (Judges 1:20).

But Caleb wasn’t done yet. He then used God’s favor to be a blessing to others. The Apostle Paul tell something that Caleb lived out: God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need AND plenty left over to share with others (2 Corinthians 9:8). Without a word of complaint, Caleb gladly accepted not only the responsibility of letting the Levities live in the town he had conquered, but he also took on the added duties of making that city of Hebron a “city of refuge.” In this city, Caleb would keep anyone safe from those seeking their lives until a proper trial could be held. 

Caleb was successful for nearly 90 years because he was convinced that God was for him.

Nothing could distract him from wholeheartedly clinging to God’s favor! 

Caleb was a warrior for God’s favor, and he was a successful warrior because of God’s favor. The same can be said of you IF you will decide to cling to God’s favor wholeheartedly.

Around, Awake, Aware

Fathers DayThe statistics on fatherless homes are quite alarming:

  • 63 percent of teen suicides are from fatherless homes;
  • 90 percent of homeless children and runaways are from fatherless homes; and
  • 71 percent of all high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.

Since the latest numbers tell us that 40% of babies are now born to unwed mothers, we could have a potential societal collapse looming! But there is good news: It’s not too late to do something about this. We—the men in the Church—can make a difference. A father has life-changing power. Not simply someone who is a biological father, but someone who will step into a fatherly role to invest in a person’s life.

God chose David His servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep He brought him to be the shepherd of His people Jacob, of Israel His inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. (Psalm 78:70-72)

God is looking for men who are His servants; men who don’t want to plan their own course, but who say, “I am Your servant; use me however You see best.”

David was given a ragtag bunch of men, which the Bible describes as “in distress, in debt or discontented” (1 Samuel 22:2). With integrity and skill David poured into their lives, so that by the end of his life this ragtag group became heroes (see 2 Samuel 23:8-39).

Throughout Scripture God calls men to step into the lives of the fatherless. These distressed, indebted, discontented children of today need a father who is:

  • Around physically—Ephesians 6:2 (it’s hard to honor an absentee father)
  • Awake emotionally—Ephesians 6:4a (one who won’t exasperate them)
  • Aware spiritually—Ephesians 6:4b (one who will bring them up in…the Lord)

We can be a part of reversing the downward slide of our culture.

Hear me, God-fearing men: countless distressed, fatherless kids could become our generation’s mighty warriors because of your investment! 

Fierce Momma Bears

Fierce momsThe battle cry of this pragmatic generation boils down to this: “Don’t judge me! Let me live my life my way!” To the pragmatist there is no objective right or wrong, but right or wrong is determined by whatever seems right/wrong to each individual.

But what if your decision adversely impacts my world? Or what if my decision adversely impacts your world?

There is a time to speak up. There is a time to say, “There is an objective right and wrong, and your decision is wrong.” I think that time to speak up is when lives and livelihoods are involved. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Social Security Administration, the Guttmacher Institute, and the National Center for Health Statistics all agree on this—there is a way for us to add revenue to our economy and our future without raising taxes a single penny. There is a way for us to add:

  • $400 billion of revenue to our economy
  • $11 billion to Medicare
  • $47 billion to Social Security

Oops, I take that back. This is actually revenue for the economy and a boost for the Medicare and Social Security programs that we would be seeing now if nearly 57 million babies hadn’t been aborted in the United States since 1973. The additional workers which have been lost before they were even born would have easily added this to our economy.

The Bible challenges us to: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed” (Proverbs 31:8).

I believe the time to say, “Enough!” has come. I also believe this call to action needs to come from our moms. Several places in the Scripture the fierceness of warriors is actually compared to the fierceness of moms. Like when talking about King David and his warriors—You know your father and his men; they are fighters, and as fierce as a wild bear robbed of HER cubs (2 Samuel 17:8).

Did you catch that? David’s fierceness wasn’t described in masculine terms, but in terms of a Momma Bear that lost her cubs! 

Moms, we need you. It’s time for you to say, “Enough destruction of innocent life.” It’s time for you to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. It’s time for you to ensure justice for those pre-born babies being crushed. It’s time for your momma bear instincts to cause you to growl, which will finally motivate other warriors to step into the battle.

C’mon, Momma Bears, we need you to growl fiercely! 

15 Quotes From “Mansfield’s Book Of Manly Men”

Mansfield's Book Of Manly MenFrankly, fellas, there are just way too many passages I highlighted to share them all here, but I did want to give you a taste of some of the manly wisdom in Mansfield’s Book Of Manly Men. You can read my full book review by clicking here, but I suggest every red-blooded male who wants to be a manly man go get this book! You’ll be reading a lot more from me in the next few weeks that is inspired from this book.

“What makes a man a warrior is his willingness to place himself between what he holds dear and anything that threatens it. Honor is the chief motivator for the warrior. Dishonor is unthinkable. He does the right thing without expectation of reward because honor is an intrinsic value that, when manifested in one’s life, provides its own rewards.” —William Boykin

“By words like manly and manhood, I don’t mean the kind of behavior we see in the fake masculinity that surrounds us today. There’s nothing manly about a guy downing booze until he throws up in the street. There’s nothing manly about cruising for women like some predatory beast and then devouring them for pleasure before casting them aside. There’s nothing manly about making a child but then running like a coward before that child is born. There’s nothing manly about dominating a woman or treating her like a servant or leaving her with burdens that aren’t rightly hers. To think these actions make up true manhood is like thinking the average ‘gentleman’s club’ is actually for gentlemen. It’s not. Instead, it is a Palace of Perpetual Adolescence where incomplete males go to get on the cheap what they don’t have the guts to fight for righteously and make their own. … I am talking about the kind of manhood that makes a family whole, a woman safe, a child confident, and a community strong.” —Stephen Mansfield

“All it takes for a contagious manly culture to form is for one genuine man to live out genuine manhood. It creates a model, something for other men to feed upon and pattern themselves after. It also gives other genuine men a vital connection that sustains and extends who they are.” —Stephen Mansfield

“A man cannot fulfill his purpose if he is living for applause, approval, and affirmation in this world.” —Stephen Mansfield

“If a man does not have an ideal and try to live up to it, then he becomes a mean, base and sordid creature, no matter how successful.” —Theodore Roosevelt, in a letter to his son Kermit 

“Honorable men refuse to wallow in the small and the bitter. Honorable men refused to hate life because something once went wrong. Honorable men don’t build monuments to their disappointments, nor do they let others brand into them and curse them to their destruction. Honorable men seek out the highest definition of their lives, the nobler meaning granted by heritage, by their ancestors’ dreams and their parents’ hopes. Honorable man cry out to God until curses are broken and a grander purpose is achieved. Honorable man don’t settle for lives of regret.” —Stephen Mansfield

“Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so. For glory gives herself only to those who have always dreamed of her.” —Charles de Gaulle

“True friends stand in harm’s way for each other. True friends take the hits for one another. … Genuine men stand with their friends and look on the scars that result has signs of manly honor.” —Stephen Mansfield

“Weak men assume what they need to know will seek them out. Men of great character and drive search out the knowledge they need.” —Stephen Mansfield

“For a man to become a great man, he will have to defeat the force of bitterness in his life. No one escapes it. There is enough offense and hardship in the world to assure that all of us will be wounded and betrayed, all of us will have opportunity to drink the sweet-tasting poison of bitterness against those who have wronged us. The art of surviving untainted is to learn the art of forgiveness.” —Stephen Mansfield

“The question we all face is not whether or not we have defects. We do. Everyone of us. The question is whether we are capable of envisioning a life defined by forces greater than the weight of our flaws. The moment we can—the moment we can envision a life beyond mere compromise with our deformities—that is the moment we take the first steps toward weighty lives. Manly men know themselves, work to understand their God-ordained uniqueness and their unique brand of damage, and accept they will always be a work in progress, always be a one-man construction project that is never quite finished in this life. They don’t despair. They don’t settle. They don’t expect perfection of themselves. They understand that destiny is in the hand of God. They also understand that these destinies are fashioned in a man’s struggle against the enemies of his soul.” —Stephen Mansfield

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

“Virtue is a state of war, and to live in it we have always to combat with ourselves.” —Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Adversity toughens manhood, and the characteristic of the good or the great man is not that he has been exempt from the evils of life, but that he has surmounted them.” —Patrick Henry

“The man, whom I called deserving the name, is one whose thoughts and exertions are for others rather than himself.” —Walter Scott

16 Quotes from “Fight”

FightGuys, it’s time to unleash the godly warrior inside of you, and Fight by Craig Groeschel can help you do just that (you can read my full book review by clicking here). These are some of my favorite quotes from Fight

“The virtue of strength is determined by how it’s used. If it’s used to love and to protect, it’s good. Unfortunately, it can also be used to inflict harm, and that’s not consistent with what we see of God’s character in the Bible. He calls us to fight for what’s right. And a worthy is only as worthy as his cause.”

“Gentleman, God created you with the heart of a warrior. Until there’s something you’re willing to die for, you can’t truly live.”

“Men don’t plan to destroy themselves. The problem is that we have an enemy who does.”

“You have to stop trying to do it in your own strength. Because our spiritual enemy, satan, is an expert at making strong men weak. Fortunately, and don’t miss this, our God specializes in making weak men strong.”

“Lust says, ‘I want it.’ Entitlement says, ‘I deserve it.’ And pride says, ‘I can handle it.’ … You can fight using your own limited power. Or you can tap into the all-powerful, limitless God who wants to help you win every battle for His causes. Here’s how:

  • Turn ‘I want it’ to ‘I want God.’
  • Turn ‘I deserve it’ to ‘I deserve death.’
  • Turn I can handle it’ to ‘I can’t handle anything without God.’

“Pride is always born of our insecurities. When we don’t know who we are in Christ, we use pride to try to fill that void. … So many of us try to define ourselves by our accomplishments, to find worth in what we’ve done, instead of in Whom we belong to. We want to rely on our achievements, our victories, our trophies, our wins to define us instead of acknowledging God as the source of all good things in our lives.”

“If there’s one thing you can count on self-pity for, it’s exaggeration. Every time you start thinking about how bad things are, it’s like a game to make sure everything is as bad as it could be. You’ll catch yourself using extreme words like never, always, and forever.”

“We get stuck in these negative loops of self-judgment and condemnation that are not from God. His Spirit always leads us to confession, to changing directions and going God’s way, to a fresh start, to grace. Often God has forgiven us, but our emotions haven’t caught up. I’m convinced this is just another form of our pride—wanting to be in control of ourselves and not rely on God. We’d rather hate ourselves than risk the vulnerability and humility required to depend on Him. It seems easier to expect the worst than to put our hope in God.”

“If you let your need drive you to God, God will meet your deepest need. … When you return to God and give your weakness to Him, only then will your strength return. But it’s ultimately not your strength; it’s His strength.”

“If you’re a ‘real’ guy, then you’re supposed to be a sexual beast, a stud, a leader of the pack, a stallion the ladies can’t resist—right? Wrong. You’re supposed to be a man stronger than his physical urges or emotional responses. You’re supposed to be a warrior who’s willing to fight for something more important. And that’s a battle that’s fought one temptation at a time.”

“Don’t dare be strong in just business or at your job. Don’t dare be strong just in your hobbies or at some sport. Don’t dare settle for being strong just physically. Focus your strength on leading those around you into righteousness. … Don’t settle for being strong at what doesn’t last and weak at what does. Tap into the warrior within Don’t fight just the meaningless battles. Fight for what matters most. And fight for your life.”

“If you’re going the wrong way, stop. Stop now. Fall on your knees and fight like a man.”

“When we strip men of permission to fight back at the appropriate time, we emasculate them. We stifle the spirit of the warrior that God placed within them, the spirit that yearns to fight for what’s right. When men feel stripped of power, it’s that much easier to give in to temptation. If they’ve never learned to fight, then it’s hard to know how to fight the deadliest enemy of all.”

“Remorse is a common response to failure, but there’s a much better one: repentance. Instead of turning inward or deflecting outward, you turn upward. Instead of allowing yourself to get stuck, you stop and then let God move you through it. You drop the guilt, the regret, the anger, and the self-pity and return to the Lord. Repentance means owning up to your mistakes and accepting responsibility. … Remorse is a feeling based primarily on guilt (a selfish emotion), keeping our attention on the past. Repentance is turning away from that wrong, turning away from the past, and turning our attention to changing our future. Remorse builds an emotional monument to our sin, then stands there gazing at it while we feel bad. Repentance is turning one hundred eighty degrees away from our sin and then walking away from it. With each step, repentance moves farther away from that sin. And it doesn’t look back.”

“You are not what you did; you are who God says you are.”

“Giving your life one time is easy. You know what’s hard? Giving your life daily. Paul said, ‘I die every day’ (1 Corinthians 15:31). Real men give their lives daily.”

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