Continuation of the Introduction …
The Christian has very strong resources for these situations. They are the presence of the Holy Spirit and their own holiness. I believe the presence of the Holy Spirit is directly related to the degree that we are holy. We are all called to be holy:
Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.
So how does the Christian become more holy (sanctified, righteous)?
I have found that more holiness may occur as a result of two things. One is that we must read and know the Bible. Jerry Bridges author of The Pursuit of Holiness has stated, “I don’t know that reading the Bible will make one holy, but I have never known a holy person that did not read their Bible daily.”2 The second comes from my behaviorist orientation to emotional and spiritual development. Some of this is captured in Henri Nouwen’s quote: “You don’t think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking.”3 I have found that I can move toward holiness by doing holy things, e.g., helping others in need, visiting and helping the sick, following Christian values in relations and interactions with others even when it goes against my own best interest. These acts of living my faith change my thinking and my spiritual orientation toward life. By doing them I become more holy.
Some Christians have told me they are not concerned about the “now what?” moments. They get right with God in their morning prayer time, and their holiness alone protects them throughout the day, just as Jesus’ holiness protected him during the temptations in the wilderness.
If you are as holy as Jesus, you will be protected. If you are as holy as Jesus, you do not have to be concerned about ambushes by the roaring lion. However, on this side of heaven, Christians will never be 100% holy. Holiness is necessary, but not sufficient alone to win spiritual battles. We must prepare ourselves for the spiritual challenges, the “now what?” moments in our workplace, or in fact, anywhere.
I always wanted to write a book on the Christian in the world of work. I chose the workplace as the venue for my study because I as other laymen spend so much of our waking hours in the workplace, and the Church and its ministers have largely ignored what the layman faces on Monday morning. Many preachers, with no work experience away from the Church, have no clue to what laymen face in the workplace. The work organizations that employ ministers are Christian. That is for the most part the people that are in their work organizations are Christian. This is not true for their lay members. Many of our pastors and churches focus only on evangelism of the “lost” world. This is the focus of the New Testament and should be the primary focus of the Church. However, at the same time Christians are being gobbled up by the dark forces of Ephesians 6 in the workplace Monday through Friday. The Church can do more to prepare and equip those Christians for what they face on Monday morning!
Every time I tried to write that book about the Christian in the world of work, it always came out, “just go be a good Christian.” But through the years as an employee of universities, state governments, not-for-profit organizations and the military I have observed a lot of “good Christians” get in trouble in the workplace. They are blindsided, surprised, and unexpectedly engulfed in destructive “non-Christian” behavior. They are ambushed! In discussing my ideas with a friend he stated, “it really is a jungle out there!”
That reference to a jungle prompted a whole range of thoughts from my Army experience. Particularly from the Army’s Ranger School. The Ranger School not only teaches you how to be a better soldier, but they teach you about the jungle they are going to put you in. A hostile jungle has many dangerous places for a soldier; i.e., roads, trails, mountain ridges, open areas and streams. These are dangerous because this is where the enemy sets up ambushes, because the enemy knows that soldiers like to take the “easy path” through the jungle.
It is often the “easy path” that Christians take in their work life that makes them vulnerable to “spiritual ambushes.” To get a handle on these “spiritual ambushes,” I interviewed Christians and asked them to tell me about the spiritual challenges they had faced in the workplace, how did they recognize them, and what did they do. This book is about what they told me and how I have applied my Ranger training to help Christians counter spiritual ambushes. Before you are introduced to my research in Chapter 5, you need to understand:
What Is Spiritual Warfare?
What is a Spiritual Warrior?
What is the Spiritual Warrior’s Global Positioning System?
What is Spiritual Warrior’s Battlefield?