Does it feel like the world has gone crazy and you’re just along for the ride? Are you afraid for your children? Are you worried of not having enough strength to face the day? What does the Bible mean when we read “fear not”?
Bible Gateway interviewed Lisa Whittle (@LisaRWhittle) about her book, Put Your Warrior Boots On: Walking Jesus Strong, Once and for All (Harvest House Publishers, 2017).
What’s the difference between living human brave and Jesus strong?
Lisa Whittle: Human brave is done in our capabilities—dependant upon us; therefore, it has an expiration date to it. Jesus strong is an endless supply of inner strength that comes from the power of the Holy Spirit—promised in places like Philippians 4:13: “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
I’m grateful life is not about being brave in our humanness, because if it were, I’d be in trouble. One minute I feel brave and the next I feel like I want to curl up in a fetal position in the closet, scared over what’s going on in this crazy world. We use this word, a lot—overuse it, really, but we don’t even know what it means and call so many different things brave. It has to be about something more than that: the powerful strength that comes from our help, Jesus Christ, when we come to him, weak—clearly defined in the Bible. That’s something higher and enduring. That’s Jesus strong.
What role does the Bible play in a person living Jesus strong?
Lisa Whittle: The Bible plays a huge role in the Jesus strong life. I say often that everything we need to know is found in the Word of God, and it’s true. We can’t be truly strong without the Bible guiding our life. It’s everything—our lamp, our map, our calibrator, our comfort, our balancer, our peace. Without the Bible, we don’t know the way to go, can’t know the heart of God and how he wants us to live. The Bible shows us how to treat people, holds us accountable in love, and infuses in us the daily strength we need to live in this tough world. What a gift the Father gives us in his Word—he gives us himself!
What’s the number one way we stop living below our spiritual potential?
Lisa Whittle: The number one way we stop living below our spiritual potential is, we learn to walk in the authority of God. In this, we have to first understand that, according to Ephesians 1, God is the highest authority in this entire world and through our relationship with him, because of his great love for us and his great grace, we walk covered by that authority.
He decided that was the way it would be, and for us to walk through this life scared and unsettled and unsure, wavering in our belief and faith in him, is for us to live below our spiritual potential. Far too many of us have lived this kind of life for far too long. It’s time to rise to our spiritual potential, and that’s what I pray for the reader of this book.
What are the two best ways for defending your beliefs in an aggressive culture?
Lisa Whittle: I discuss these two things in detail in the Boots of Standard section of Put Your Warrior Boots On—such an important truth to cling to right now; especially, as standards are being eroded daily.
We defend our beliefs in an aggressive culture by first, knowing what we believe. It’s the second declaration of the warrior boots believer, and it’s a vital one. It says in John 7:17, “Man must know in order to do God’s will…” We have to know what we believe, truly know, so we can stand in the shifting sands of culture. We have an epidemic of believers who are saavy to our smartphones but illiterate to the Word of God. We’ve got to get real about this and commit to knowing what we believe so we can be settled and grounded in our convictions, instead of insecure and waffling every time a hard conversation comes up.
Second, we have to tell the truth to ourselves and others. This is a part of that getting real I’m talking about. We’ve got to stop deflecting about where our spiritual lives really are, settling for God-ish Christianity (2 Timothy 3:5—“having a form of godliness but denying its power…”). We’ve got to stop worrying about self-preservation and popularity over commitment to the gospel.
The beautiful reality is when we live with standards like these, we do ourselves a huge favor because we don’t have to scramble anymore to know what to say. People know where we stand and we don’t apologize for it but live with Jesus shining through. It just works.
What are the truths a person can cling to when they’re scared?
- God has this. He hasn’t changed. He’s “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) and “has overcome the world” (John 16:33). The end.
- God loves you. His intention for you is always going to be good (Jeremiah 29:11).
- Heaven is the prize. This is not your best life yet, so there’s nothing here to lose (Philippians 3:14).
What are the two keys to living fearlessly?
Lisa Whittle: Preparation and trust.
1) Preparation: We won’t fear the hard times in the same way if we have the knowledge we are as prepared as we can be for them. The reason so many believers spend so much time in fear is because deep down we know we haven’t spiritually fortified our lives. We know we are marginal Christians and in the tough times, that won’t cut it. A prepared life is the life of a warrior. A warrior prepares so that when the time comes the strength they need is already there. The Bible is a book of preparation. Jesus gave us the Word to tell us what to do right now so we wouldn’t scramble, panic and fear.
2) Trust: There’s no way around the trust issue. If we don’t trust God, all our preparation won’t matter. We don’t have to trust ourselves. We just have to trust God. The way to trust is not to go on what we see. It’s to go on what we believe. Belief is the only way.
What is the “ministry of sameness” and why does the world need it?
Lisa Whittle: The ministry of sameness is a powerful illustration God gave me to impress on me the importance of believers living consistent lives. In my own life, he showed me that the steady life that preaches the same, loves the same, stays with Jesus, etc., is the one that shows others the example of the faithful Father they can count on through his follower who seeks to be like him.
People are longing for someone they can count on in this world, and nary a person who is dependable. I’m convicted to be the kind of person who shows up, loves like Jesus, preaches the truth without regard to popularity or concern for me. This is what the world needs from us, now, more than ever, because it’s a commodity so rare. Anyone can say words. But not everyone shows up. Not everyone sticks around. Not everyone is the same person without falling away from the faith. These are the ones we watch and look to for stability when the world is crashing down around us.
The world should say of the Christians—“of course they’re the ones caring for the orphans…of course they’re the ones crying over the poor…feeding the hungry and taking them in…staying faithful to God…I’m not surprised.” That’s the ministry of sameness. We have some work to do in this regard. That’s not our reputation by and large right now.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?
Lisa Whittle: Oh, I love it. I still use Bible Gateway all the time when I write, to look up different translations, etc. In fact, it was the first site I ever used when I started writing back in 2004, so I’m pretty nostalgic about it. What good work you all do at Bible Gateway. I appreciate you.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Lisa Whittle: I just want to encourage you, my friend, to tell you that despite the crazy of the world, despite your hard place and how weak at the moment you may feel…you can do this. You can put those warrior boots on and walk Jesus strong. As a child of God, it’s your heritage. Don’t settle for a reactionary, fearful, unsettled life. You were made for better than that. One day we’ll start our real best life and all get better. But that day is not yet here, so let’s make the most of this life on earth and finally, for once and for all, rise to our spiritual potential. I’m praying for you, that this will be true.
Bio: Lisa Whittle is a sought out Bible teacher for her wit and bold, bottom line approach, and the author of Put Your Warrior Boots On: Walking Jesus Strong, Once and for All, I Want God: Forever Changed by the Revival of Your Soul, Whole: An Honest Look at the Holes in Your Life and How to Let God Fill Them, The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do, and Behind Those Eyes: What’s Really Going on Inside the Souls of Women.
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