The Source of the Power
As we see such great feats accomplished through us, there is some safety against pride if we understand from where the power originates. In a classic fight between King Arthur and the “black night” King Pellinore, both men fought hard and valiantly, but Arthur’s sword broke and he would have been killed but for the intervention of Merlyn. Arthur’s prideful self didn’t like being rescued by Merlin, but he had suffered deep wounds and would otherwise have died.
After hearing from Merlyn about a sword that would not break, King Arthur set out and retrieved the sword “Excaliber” from a lake in the Forest of Adventure. This sword was so sharp that it could slice either a feather or an iron bar. With his new sword in hand, Arthur again challenged Pellinore, but he forbid Merlin from interfering this time. No help was needed. Arthur easily defeated his opponent Pellinore and did not suffer even a scratch.
After this great victory Arthur was feeling pretty good about himself and his new sword. Merlyn then asked Arthur whether he would rather have Excaliber or the sheath which holds it. “Excaliber!” exclaimed Arthur. Merlin went on to explain to Arthur that the great power was in the sheath because whoever wears it could not be harmed in battle.
This infuriated Arthur: “Merlin, I do declare that you have taken from me the entire glory of that battle. For what credit may fall to any knight who fights his enemy by means of enchantment. I have half a mind to take this glorious sword back to the magic lake and cast it where it belongs.” To which Merlin responded, “Assuredly you are right in what you say. But bear in mind that you are not an ordinary knight but a king. Your life belongs not to you but to your people. You have no right to imperil it, but you should do all that lies in your power to preserve it. Keep the sword so that it may safeguard your life.” (p. 94)
This story from King Arthur closely parallels how great feats are accomplished in this Great War. Before Christ entered into his glory, he told his disciples: “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.” (Luke 24:49) God’s people are given a special power that resides within us that can be used by God to accomplish great and noble feats. If we abide in Him and are obedient to his will for our lives, we too will watch His incredible power work through us for the cause of good against evil. These powerful gifts that are resident in us “all originate in God’s Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12, Msge) If we remember from where our strength originates, then it helps to defeat the spirit of pride.
Not afraid to die.
At times these assignments from our King will feel like tremendous burdens, but we know deep in our hearts that some burdens we were specifically and uniquely designed by our creator to carry. The assignments will seem overwhelming, but we know that it is the Spirit in us that will claim the victory. For all these God-given missions, we are willing to lay down our lives, for “they were not afraid to die.” (Rev. 12:11) But sometimes it is easier to say we will die for our God, our brothers, and our God-given assignments than to endure the suffering and truly live for them. In the midst of the battle, when we are facing the overwhelming odds and the the weight of the burdens feel too heavy, our great challenge is to trust God’s good plan for us and still to be willing to cry out, like Christ, “Thy will be done!” And, like Christ and like Job, even if from our circumstances it appears like our God has forsaken us, we pray that we will have the humility to worship and praise our God even during the trials and tribulations allowed by Him: “The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21) “And in all this, Job did not sin by blaming God,” (Job 1:22) but he trusted in God’s ultimate good plan for his life.
“There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life..” (Oswald, My Utmost, Nov. 30)