To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free? Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31-36
The image that I have presented to guide us in this final trek is that of a sword. It may seem odd and even out of place to talk about a steward as a warrior. The images we hold of a steward might be that of a servant, and open hand, a smiling, generous spirit. These don’t mesh well with images of war; swords and shields, helmets and conflict. But that is exactly the point. There may be no more demanding a journey than the one that beckons us to live in this world as a free, joyful, surrendered and selfless steward. That it is exactly the life God created us to live. The closer we get to it, the greater will be the enemy’s attempts to lure us away.
If we don’t take this seriously we will find ourselves packing around the same heavy chains over and over again. We may have momentary victories that allow us to feel the relief of the freedom of God, but they will not last. The freedom we have in Christ must be maintained by the daily spiritual disciplines that frustrate the enemy and render him impotent. Remember, the greater the impact of the victory in our life, the more determined the enemy will be to steal it from us.
None of this should cause us fear, anxiety or dread. In fact, exactly the opposite. When we wage battle against the enemy from the position of this new-found freedom, it is a joyous confrontation. The enemy’s weapons against you are deception, fear, greed, pride, and apathy. As a faithful steward, you can look at each one and rejoice in your spirit at the victory that God has worked in you. You can look at your feet and see where the chains have fallen. You can stand tall, breathe deep and feel every moment that exhilarating sense of freedom from the shackles that bind you no more. A heart that has been set free is a heart ready for battle.
The only thing the enemy needs to win back the ground he’s lost is for you to deny that you’re in any great battle at all. My prayer is that as you enter the final stretch of this one hundred day journey you will realize that the freedom you are experiencing is a very precious gift. You have done the hard work of identifying your chains, repenting of attitudes and actions that kept you bound, surrendering every area of your life back to Christ, and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to set you free. After all of this hard work, you should have an even greater determination never to go back again. Apathy can only win when we forget the price that was paid to win our freedom.
From this day forward, I pray that you will hold in your mind this image of yourself as a faithful steward; one hand always open, sharing generously and freely with joy, while the other hand grasps firmly onto the powerful sword of the Spirit. I am convinced that the kingdom of God desperately needs a new army of steward warriors!
As you look back over the journey we have traveled, identify one or two specific chains that you found hardest to take off. Where was the struggle greatest and where was the victory the sweetest? That would be a great place to start as you take on the mantle of the steward warrior. It is likely the place where the enemy will spread his lies in order to take back that ground he has held in your heart for so long. Name it, identify it, write it down if you need to and make it a part of your daily devotional life to come against the enemy and all his schemes and ways in this particular area of your life. Ask others to hold you accountable, and build for your self some checks and balances to make sure that you move ahead and not backward in this battle. Remember, in the power of the Holy Spirit the enemy has no chance. The victories you have won on this journey can be yours for the rest of your life, and even in greater magnitude. But you must start today as a steward warrior.
Dear Lord, you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I thank you for the victories that I have realized along this journey. You know when we started how enslaved I was in so many areas of my life. Slowly, lesson by lesson, prayer by prayer, you have worked in my heart to set me free. I know that I have a long way to go. I can still feel the chains in my life where I have not yet surrendered myself fully to you. The journey is far from complete, but the road we have already traveled is amazing. As I look ahead, Lord, please do not let me lose any of the ground that I have gained. Give me an image of myself as a warrior in this battle. Help me never to rely on my own strength, skill or wisdom. It was just such a reliance that got me into this mess in the first place. Instead, let me daily surrender myself so completely to you that, as you promise in Scripture, the battle belongs to you. In that I take great comfort and joy. Lead on into the battle, and I will faithfully follow. In the name of Jesus Christ, the victor triumphant. Amen.