The Foundation to Winning Your War of Faith
II John 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for,
but that we may receive a full reward.
In financial market trading there is a saying something like this: “If you didn’t lose money today, you won.” The first rule of investing in fact is the maxim “preserve capital.” It means that before you begin looking at making profits off money you are trading, you make absolutely sure you protect the money you are trading from unnecessary potential of loss.
Because the risks of loss in financial investing are so high and the costs of regaining losses are exponential in their effect, to the financial trader the first priority is to guard the pool of money being invested in a trade. This is done by trading only very small amounts at a time with predetermined points of exit should unacceptable loss begin to occur. The first question a good investor asks before investing is not “how much do I stand to gain?” but “how much am I prepared to lose?” It is on that mindset that successful traders make consistent profit in the markets.
All considered then, winning has two forms, not just one. It is not just about making gains. It is about protecting from losses. Again, “if you didn’t lose today, you won.”
Preserving Spiritual Capital
I say all this by way of spiritual application to our warfare in faith. We have been lately talking about tribulation and its pressures under faith which can become exceedingly oppressive to the point of affecting our mental ability to cope with life. Tribulation is about spiritual warfare, and as is true in financial investing, so is it true in spiritual war that one wins not only by taking ground, but by holding ground already taken. Sometimes, yea, often, we prove our valiance and overcoming simply by holding the ground God has already given us, and not necessarily by taking new ground.
Spiritual war consists of offensive and defensive moves and strategies. Satan does not sit still to let us take new ground. He comes after us to take back the ground God has already given us. Under the pressures of tribulation, sometimes it is all we can do just to defend the ground we already have for our callings and families and destinies. But hold it we must, nor should we think it a mark of shame or loss because we “did not advance” today.
In recent decades, a new emphasis came forth calling the church to get up and start “investing” into new ground in the fight for advancing the kingdom in the earth. It was a necessary call in lazy America where people were sitting on their duffs. Unfortunately however, the call to advance the kingdom did not also call us to “count the cost” of the risks to be taken and what could be lost and how fast. There was no teaching on the necessity of “preserving spiritual capital.” The emphasis was always on going on to a “new thing” with no emphasis on preserving the “old things” already obtained by the forefathers and pioneers of spiritual reformation. I remember attending prophetic meetings where the concept of “holding the fort” was somewhat mocked. The meaning was understood, but the necessary balance was missing.
As a result, spiritual movements left foundations behind them in reckless investments to advance on satan’s territory. While “new revelations” into the prophetic were being made, basic morals and spiritual truths were being taken out by the enemy at the back door with no “stop loss” in place. There were no watchmen to guard the capital, and if there were, they were not heeded. This led to a superficially impressive but interiorially hollow and thread bare next generation church populated by decimated families and clueless saints with little concept of the fundamentals of what they believe or why. Because of the failure to preserve capital and the exponential costs of spiritual recovery, much of the church will lose its full reward at the last day.
Preserving Your Capital in a War of Attrition
While the effects of failure to preserve spiritual capital in the church have been severe, that is not really the perspective from which I was wanting to write this article. The kind of preservation I am emphasizing today is the preservation of our place in Christ under the exhausting fires of tribulation. Specifically, it is to get us past thoughts of shame that tell us we “aren’t making any progress” in our fight of faith. “We aren’t getting anywhere under all this pressure. The devil is winning.” After all, it only makes sense that if we are “truly” overcomers, we should be demonstrating prowess at defeating the enemy on his ground. So we shouldn’t even have to worry about our present ground. Right?
WRONG! We must value our ground already taken, protecting it at all costs, before and whether or not we feel we have any strength to invest in “moving forward.” We must value the stands we have to take just to defend what we have already taken, and not allow the enemy to convince us that because we don’t seem to be making any “new” inroads today on his ground, we are spiritual losers in our kingdom mandate. As my friend Nick Mancino points out, we must understand that we are fighting in a war of attrition. So under the pressures of tribulation, we need to prize “holding the fort” like we have never prized it before. (I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but this is for somebody out there who really needs this message….)
The Old Testament contains stories of warriors that God praised, not because they took new ground, but because they guarded and held onto old ground under exhaustion of pressure. They preserved what they already had. The story of Shammah defending the lentil patch in II Sam. 23:11-12 has always impressed me this way. So too David’s exhortation to his men on return to Ziklag that those who remained behind to “stay by the stuff” were to be valued equally in the division of military spoils (I Samuel 30.) We must never devalue our preservational position under pressure.
It is true, there is always a misapplication of any posture we are called to take, defensive or offensive. Recent challenges to kingdom advance took on the misapplication of the defensive posture people had sitting around on their dusty doctrines of past salvation just waiting for the Lord to come rapture them away from the world. But the challenge to advance is just as misapplied if it causes us to devalue and ignore preservation of our foundations and the call to protect what we have already labored for in our faith, belief and practice. Tribulation requires us to protect our capital!
You know what your call is. You know what you were called to believe. You know what you were called to do, regardless of what has happened to your efforts, however exhausted you are, and however mentally confused under pressure. Notwithstanding all this, protect it, so that you may receive a full reward.
Remember, if you didn’t lose today, you won!
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
Page created May 26, 2015