“Go and serve God. Make all kinds of mistakes and learn wisdom from your errors,” I advised the young preacher.
“Failure!” the young preacher replied, her eyes connecting with mine. “Not me! Not ever!”
I smiled, hoping to lessen the chill in the air between us. “Nobody wants to make mistakes, but we do. It happens to all of us. It’s one of the ways that God teaches us wisdom,” I said.
“No, I don’t have to ever fail,” she said. “All I have to do is spend time in prayer, do some fasting and study the word. His Spirit will guide me.”
I shrugged. “Who knows, maybe you are the exception. At least, I hope so.”
This conversation actually took place in a students’ union at a large university about fourteen years ago. We were celebrating her nineteenth birthday by shooting pool.
Why are eighteen or nineteen-year old youths the best soldiers? They do not think they can lose. They believe their youth, their strength and their zest for life will be more than enough to defeat their enemies.
But of course, the first battlefield experience quickly shatters their naivete. Machine gun fire ripping through a soldier standing next to them and bullets ricocheting near their heads open their eyes to reality. They are not immune to death after all. They could die!
What happens to soldiers after their first battlefield experience? If they survive, they are wiser, smarter and better soldiers; and are labeled veterans. Then, each battle makes them even better.
Battlefield-trained young soldiers win wars. Period.
Now, let’s compare this to spiritual warfare, okay?
Who makes the best Christian soldiers? Young, hungry believers. By the word young, I am not referring to chronological age, but rather, to those Christians who consider themselves as young David’s waging battles with a present-day Goliath.
These hungry Christians – if they do not hang around worn-out, tired, defeated, fearful believers – will win spiritual wars if they never quit fighting. Period!!
I’m a sixty-three year old man who still considers himself to be a David. The Lord has delivered me from the paw of the lion and the bear, so bring on the Goliath’s (1 Sam. 17:36)