As safe in battle as in bed?

November 12, 2023

Stonewall Jackson

A friend recently reminded me of a great quote attributed to Stonewall Jackson, A well-known confederate general in the American civil war.

When asked how he could be so brave as bullets and shell rained about him, he replied,

“My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself with that, but always to be ready whenever it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live. Then all men would be equally brave.”

Do you play 4D chess?

Over the years, I haven’t been as brave as I should have been because I’m always playing risk-management-4D-chess. I’m always 15 moves ahead, and the further out I play, the lower the resolution and the more dangerous things feel. This has a debilitating effect which leads to avoidant, appeasing behaviour.

I can claim that “fortune telling” leads to a lot of mental anguish. Mark Twain would agree - “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

Does God know what he is doing?

So if we believe God is sovereign and that he knows the “beginning from the end” (Isaiah 46 v 10 and Ps 139 vs 1-4)

How might we live our lives differently?

Could there be less dread? Should caution be thrown to the wind?

I don’t exactly have an answer, but I think we could certainly be bolder for the truth. Instead of life being done unto us, we can have a say in how life is shaped. Be active rather than passive.

What are some steps we can take?

We should always be killing the idols in our own life -

Things like:

Then we will have a clear conscience allowing us to go out and live for God.

Can anyone tell you are Christian?

I’ve often said it. “We should live out our faith like we actually believe it”. God is not to be kept in a special box only to be brought out on Sundays.

That means using your gifts and talents to bring glory to Him. To harness the immediate world around you. Align it to his principles. To live morally; to live in faith and in anticipation of his counsel and provision.

Living like God is in control is not to be underestimated.

You still have free will

Make no mistake, we have free will in how we react to our circumstances and the world around us, but we can never know with certainty how things will pan out, but this should not limit our willingness to act.

If our motives and principles are aligned and we believe God is sovereign, then surely action is necessary regardless of what we think the consequences will be? We are compelled to tell the truth or act it out.

For God put you here in 2023 on purpose. As a Christian you are an instrument of His grace to reach the hurting, broken, stubborn and stupid. You are here to plant a flag for the kingdom. Christ claims every square inch, but your job as his earthly representative is to bring your area of responsibility into submission to Him through your skills and talents.

As a christian you are an instrument of His grace to reach the hurting, broken, stubborn and stupid. You are here to plant a flag for the kingdom.

One thing is sure, the merchants are darkness are busy advancing their agendas, so we need to ‘get out of our heads’ and into life affirming, God honouring, kingdom taking activity.

I’m being challenged a lot on this and I think the answer is around doing the “next right thing”.

Take action today in a small area

What is the "next right thing" God wants you to do in your life when you look around? Pick just one small thing and fix it. Move onto the next.

Be careful, this is not a question of a whimsical FEELING of what God wants you to do.

You will KNOW from Scripture where you need to be obedient today? It will gnaw at your at your spirit until you bring everything into alignment with the Word of God.

The exam question for today is…

What in your area of responsibility is not conforming to the kingdom message?

Be faithful, get in there and deal with it and let God worry about the unintended consequences. (Use judgement though) 

If your motives are biblically sound, God will work it through. Start small and see God bless you.

Like the old song says "Trust and obey"