In my article “The Servant Warrior – Fortitude – The Steel Our Armor is Made From” I talk about fortitude.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines fortitude this way.
That strength or firmness of mind or soul which enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage, or to bear pain or adversity without murmuring, depression or despondency. Fortitude is the basis or source of genuine courage or intrepidity in danger, of patience in suffering, of forbearance under injuries, and of magnanimity in all conditions of life. We sometimes confound the effect with the cause, and use fortitude as synonymous with courage or patience; but courage is an active virtue or vice, and patience is the effect of fortitude.
Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.
If the steel is to weak, to thin, poorly made, then at the time when the warrior really needs the breastplate’s protecting capabilities, it would fold in, get pierced, bend, warp, etc and the life of the warrior was in danger.
If our fortitude which is the steel that our armor is made from is too weak, we too will fold, compromise, bend, warp and in the end our armor is not effective.
BUT… it is character that is what strengthens the steel.
In the days of old the armor would take the steel, work it, shape it but not only that, they would temper it in the fire.
Tempering The Steel
Tempering is a process of heat treating the steel. The armorer would put the steel into the furnace and heat it till it is red hot. Then they would pull it out and instantly quench it in water rapidly cool it down. This in turn would make the steel harder and more resilient.
When the sword was heat treated, it allowed the sword to be harder and able to hold an edge better, meaning it would be sharper and can cut longer.
When armor was tempered the steel could be made thinner, but due to the tempering process, it was stronger and would hold up better to the blows from which it was dealt.
So if fortitude is the steel, character is the shaping, molding and tempering process with which we as servant warriors go through.
Another way to look at it is that character is the essential quality that makes up the servant warrior. Character is who we are as a person. It is our character that molds us, shapes us and tempers us in our life through our actions and decisions.
So if we have made poor decisions and our actions are less than honorable, our steel is weak because it lacks the proper molding, shaping and tempering.
The character of the servant warrior is the special qualities and principals which makes him / her who they are, a person of honor.
The servant warrior is a humble but also the superior person.
Many people basically live their lives on “autopilot.” They wake up, get out of bed, grab a cup of Joe, go to work, get a break, go back to work, have lunch, go back to work, get off, come home, kiss the wife, make small talk, have dinner, spend a few hours in front of the TV with the wife and kids, go to bed and the next morning do it all over again.
Those on autopilot go through life without any true direction. They respond to life based on what event or emotion is directing them at that moment. There is no thought or logic, just acting almost out of instinct.
The servant warrior on the other hand cannot afford this way of life. He / she has to be vigilant of their thoughts, words and deeds and actions.
He or she must maintain their character in all situations of life. No matter if times are good or bad, the servant warrior will act appropriately always maintaining the principles which he or she has incorporated into their life.
Because we live for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, our principles are high because we also represent our Lord and Savior in every walk of life.
There is a saying” We may be the only bible that a person will read.”
Living this lifestyle is not easy. It takes practice and dedication. One famous author called it “Grace under pressure.”
We know that choosing this servant warrior life is not easy. If it was then there would be men and women of character walking all over the place. But that is not the case.
We have to constantly work at building and maintaining our character. Not only for our own sake, but for the sake of Our Lord with whom we serve.
It is our character which sets us apart from the common man, even the common Christian.
It is a special calling to be the servant warrior. Anyone can be trained to fight or use physical skills. But it is the servant warrior’s character and honor that sets them apart.
In fact over the years it is the strengthening of the servant warrior’s character that sets him apart. It is our character that will have more opportunities to be molded and shaped verses that of our physical training.
This is why it is important that we develop a strong moral character with the strength to cultivate and maintain that character over the years of our life.
Cultivating Our Character – God’s Regenerating Power
First and foremost what we need to realize is that we cannot do this alone.
In fact much of that change, cultivation, growth and such comes from the Lord with which we serve.
We know that people were created primarily to exalt or glorify God the Creator. But it is the servant warrior that goes above and beyond this.
As I stated, most Christians today are on autopilot, they serve Him with whatever time they have left in the day, which is not much. Because of this the autopilot Christian rarely rises to become the servant warrior.
It is a conscious choice that one makes daily. Not only daily, but minute by minute the servant warrior walks that conscious path with which they have chosen.
When we walk this conscious path, we find ourselves wanting to be more Christ like and less like the world.
It seems that our choices are more in line with God than with what we used to be like. Choosing what is right starts to become second nature verses choosing that emotional, “if it feels good, do it” sort of action.
In Jerimiah 31:33 we learn that the laws of God are written on the hearts of men.
Jerimiah 31:33 but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
When we become a Christian, we become one of His and His law is inside us. Our character starts to be molded and shaped more in the shape of God and His Righteousness and less like the world.
In the New Testament, it is referred to as being a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
God calls us out of the darkness and into the light being called out of darkness into God’s wonderful light …
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Even though this takes place in the “autopilot Christian’s” life, it is the Servant Warrior who is conscious of this regeneration, hears his or her calling, and then acts upon it answering “Here am I, send me.”
All of us born again, bought with the blood of Christ Christians are called to the servant warrior’s life.
But the sad thing is that few people truly heed the call and just remain on autopilot.
I am reminded of the verse found in Matthew 7:14
Matthew 7:14 because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
In the act of regeneration, God changes the nature of the person. He is the master armor who is molding, shaping and He eventually tempers our steel.
It is this regeneration that God performs in us that molds us, shapes us and tempers us. It is His regenerating power that implants His principals of grace within us. When we truly submit to this, it is the servant warrior who then rises up to then exercise those Godly principles.
I cannot say that I have felt the constant power of God’s regeneration, but because I have submitted to Him, I see the power of His regeneration coming to fruition in my life.
It is acting as the servant warrior, submitting to my Lord, My King which then grows within me thus causing me to want to live a more holy and acceptable life. This process is constant, it is endless and it is progressive.
For those of you who have been Christians for a number of years, here is an exercise. Look back at yourself and your actions when you were a newly born again Christian. You were probably on fire for Him, charging the gates of hell with a squirt gun with that go get’ em attitude.
You were weak in the Word and therefore you probably made a lot of mistakes, all in the name of God. You think back and you probably shutter at many of those emotional irrational decisions you made when you were a babe in Christ.
But reflecting on who you are today, how far God has brought you, how much He has changed you from the inside out, you can see His regenerating power. How it has molded you, shaped you and has even started the tempering process on you.
The servant warrior recognizes this and desires more. He or she pushes harder, forsaking his or her self and has the desire to be more like his Lord and Savior and less like the person he or she used to be.
We all make mistakes. That is the fleshly side of us. But it is the servant warrior that yields to what is right and stops continuing down the path that is wrong. He or she knows the proper course he or she should take. The autopilot Christian in most cases gives into the sin and just continues on. The servant warrior makes the change and repairs the evil that they may have done.
Our duty as a servant warrior is to work at perfecting our character, not to be perfect.
Gardens, Weeds and Vigilance
How many of you have planted a garden of some sorts?
We till it up, plant our plants, we may put some fancy edging around it and do other things to make it beautiful and productive. We work at it, water it, nurture it and we begin to see the fruits of our labor.
BUT…no matter what we do, weeds will always pop up.
The servant warrior’s life is like the garden. He or she will pull the weeds in his or her life. Our personal life garden will never be weed free. At first it is a constant struggle, but after time constant weeding and vigilance, few weeds gain a foothold.
As long as we are vigilant looking out for the weeds, our garden remains rather weed free, beautiful and productive.
It is when we go into “autopilot” mode that the weeds start coming back. But worse, if we remain in this autopilot mode, the weeds will overtake the garden sooner or later.
All of us as servant warriors have been through this process.
We tend our garden, get lax, weeds come in, we attack the weeds, remain vigilant, but then go into autopilot and the weeds come back again, sometimes with a vengeance and we get right again and start the process over of getting our garden weed free.
It is kind of a pain and many people seem to never escape from this cycle.
This is why I say that there are some who are in autopilot mode and then there are those of us who want more. We are those who rise up and choose the path of the servant warrior
Building Character The Never Ending Tempering Process
Living a right life in the last days is a never ending process. We as servant warriors will always have our temptations. It is these temptations that temper us. Either we stand against the temptation or we submit to it.
When we stand against the temptation, God uses that to temper our steel. This tempering harden our steel a little bit more each time we stand our ground.
But when we fold to the temptation, we weaken our steel.
It is like letting the weeds back into our garden.
It is that vigilance, that fortitude that helps us to maintain the standards we have set before ourselves as the servant warrior.
We do what is right, no matter who is around.
We do not allow others who may not be walking the servant warrior life influence us. To do so is to compromise our principles.
Compromise means we switch into autopilot mode and when we are in autopilot mode sooner or later the bad things in life catch up to us.
Again, it is like letting the weeds overtake the garden.
We as servant warriors never forget who we are and who we serve. It is that constant conscious decision that molds, shapes and tempers our character.
There is a saying… “The man of principle never forgets what he is, because of what others are.”
Think about that for a moment and let that sink in.
Don’t allow our actions to be dictated by those around us. Let our actions be dictated by The Word of God.
The way to measure a man (or woman’s ) metal is to see how they bear up under misfortune.
Do they fold and take the easy path?
Do they lie, cheat, steal, and deviate from the servant warrior path because times are tough?
It is when we are going through these time where God is tempering our steel.
Do you live up to God’s standards when no one is looking?
Do you live up to God’s standards when you are only at work or maybe only when you are at home?
We must maintain God’s standards and it must be genuine. Not only when someone is looking or when we are just at home or just at work.
Living a life like that, is being a fake servant warrior and when the hard times hit, others will see the true temper of the servant warrior’s steel.
The servant warrior cannot afford to live his or her life on autopilot. It is the Holy Spirit that continues to push us as we strive to live a holy and acceptable life for The Lord.
The servant warrior grabs hold and hangs onto that God given grace all the while bearing up under the pressure.
The servant warriors’ focus is always on what is right, which in turn helps tempers his steel, so that when that evil day comes, he has done all, thus enabling him or her to stand.
Thomas Paine once said “Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.”
While reputation is important, it is our character that truly matters.
Who we are, the principles that form us is our true character. It is this Godly foundation of character that molds us, shapes us and tempers us all the days of our life as we journey down the path of the servant warrior.
I am reminded of Joshua, one of the great servant warriors of all times.
It is Joshua 24:15 that surmises to me what character is all about.
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
It is our Godly Character that underlies all our words and actions. It is the steel that makes up our armor. It is the granite that underlies our foundation. As long as we maintain that Godly Character, we will always be able to stand, even in the darkest of times.
Our Lord is with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is our rock, our fortress and it is upon Him that our character is built upon. It is that Godly character that molds us, shapes us and tempers us into true servant warriors of today.
We are the servant warriors, there is no king but King Jesus. And as Joshua said, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Read my article — The Servant Warrior – Fortitude – The Steel Our Armor is Made From
By Ray Gano
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