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We Just Need to Survive

This week my family went to Valley Forge for the evening commemoration of when Washington’s troops marched in to Valley Forge on December 19, 1777. Our guide for the walk out to the encampment area explained the historical aspect of the war in terms that really made sense to me, especially as many of try to heal and move forward in life.

The British army that came to fight in America were well-trained, tactically excellent, and probably pretty angry at losing part of their control of lands and people in the world.

By contrast, the Americans were scrappy – not really different than any of us.

{Take a minute – imagine a group of us preparing to go to battle – actual battle – against the United States Army. No really, just take a minute – wives, mothers, a few fathers, some business professionals, some older, some quite young, all from various backgrounds – fighting against the US Army. What a sight we would be!}

That’s the state of Washington’s army at that time. They were just average people with no real knowledge of war. How would a rag-tag army win against the British? Well, they probably wouldn’t.

Here’s the thing, though –

They didn’t have to win. 

Washington chose Valley Forge at this point in the war because it gave him a great advantage. Valley Forge is up on a hill, you can see for miles around. A rag-tag army fights with scrappy methods, so they needed any advantage they could get.

The guide said that many of the Americans, when faced with the charging British, would turn and run. {Um, I’m pretty sure you and I would do the same thing if the Army was chasing us, right?} 

But then –

Washington’s troops would get up to fight again the next day.

Our guide said, “Do you know what happens when you have to continually fight the enemy?” And I thought, “Yeah, you lose lives.”

His answer was –

“The more a rag-tag group has to fight, the more they learn how to fight.”

Just read that again and think about it for a minute.

The troops wouldn’t get up on a Tuesday just to run away like they did on Monday. If they ran away on Monday and were hiding in the woods, they would see what the enemy was doing. They’d see weak spots. They’d see how the enemy prepared. They would spot the guy who wasn’t paying attention. Then on Tuesday, they’d be able to use what they learned on Monday to their advantage.

By the time Washington got to Valley Forge in 1777, the Declaration of Independence had already been signed. The Americans weren’t fighting to win independence – they were fighting to survive to fight another day

They were fighting to survive to fight another day.

A unique lesson on spiritual warfare that we can apply to our lives and our marriages. We don't need to win; we just need to survive.

It’s the same with us – we’re already overcomers. We know how the story will end. We know Who has already won.

I’m reminded of the story of Gideon where God decreased the size of the army from 32,000 to 300. It didn’t seem they could win with just 300 people – at least, not in the traditional manner of military battle. Even the 32,000 men were considered a small force against the Midianite army.

But what did God do? He sent Gideon down to camp to overhear a conversation that would strengthen and encourage him. Then God had Gideon’s army attack the Midianites using a rather unique tactic, and at a time when the Midianites were vulnerable – at night. Go read Judges 7!

Surely an army of 300 men wouldn’t beat an army of more than 32,000. I wonder how many really just hoped to survive. Look how God helped them to not just survive, but to overcome!

We just need to survive. 

And as we survive, we learn more of the enemy’s tactics. We see how he comes after us, what areas he thinks are weak in our lives.

But we can also learn his weaknesses.

In my life, I’m beginning to recognize when the spiritual attacks are coming. They often begin when I’m tired, or when I’m not really paying attention to what I’m thinking – sort of just floating through my day.

So those are areas where I have to make changes. I have to be intentional in “closing those open doors” in my life.

I’ve learned these specifics simply by survival. As I survive, I have time to think about how and why the enemy continues to attack. I’ve paid attention to his tactics. And I’ve used that the next day when I get up to fight him again.

Friends, we don’t need to win. That’s not our job.

The battle belongs to the Lord, the victory is already His!

We just need to survive!

Take just a moment for some self-reflection.
Can you see tactics the enemy is using in battle against you?
In what area(s) can you make some changes and stand up against him?
Here is a resource I’m using to work on making some of those changes.

If you’re up to sharing the areas where you are trying to change, I’d love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below, or send an email anytime.

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Sharing at
Grace & Truth, Fresh Market Friday 

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