Four Ways to be Easily Conquered (Pt. 5)

4 | Be Isolated

(Four Ways to Be Easily Conquered, Pt. 5)

Strength in Numbers

Interesting fact: termites cannot digest wood. Instead, they rely on millions of microscopic organisms of over 100 different species living in their stomachs to digest the cellulose in the wood for them.

MEET THE PEEPS: Just some of the

MEET THE PEEPS: Just some of the “friends” termites rely on to live.

Termites require community to survive. A termite without its comrades starves to death, no matter how much wood it consumes.

This is not only true for termites. Humans, too, thrive in community and starve in isolation. While this may look different for different people (e.g. introverts suffocate on too much community but still need a network–albeit smaller, more selective network than extroverts–of deep, meaningful relationships), even a strong person, if isolated, is vulnerable and easily defeated.

This is evident in many areas of life.

Want to lose weight? A diet and workout plan coupled with determination can still be easily defeated in time. However, procrastination and compromise are less likely when the plan is done with a trainer, a partner or a group.

Likewise, addicts who participate in support or recovery groups have greater success of overcoming their addictions than those who attempt to fight alone.

Within helpful communities (specifically those whose members are intentional about contributing to each other’s well-being and success), a person finds strength, support, encouragement, counsel, accountability, and even very practical help (e.g. financial, physical, etc.).

Unfortunately, many are intentionally or unintentionally becoming isolated from these vital communities.

The Exodus from Church

The following info is from: Tyson, Jon. Sacred Roots: Why the Church still matters, part of Barna Group’s “Frames” series. (Zondervan), 2013; particularly pages 22-27.

It seems fewer and fewer Christians recognize the Church as God’s solution to our need for community. Research from a Barna Group study in 2013 exposed some disturbing trends.

wpid-haveyouattendedchurchinthepastsixmonths.jpg.jpeg

More than one-half of American Millennials (born between 1981 and 2000; 15-34 year olds) and Gen-Xers (born between 1965 and 1980; 33-50 year olds) have not attended church or a church-related function in the last six months.

In fact, only 2 out of 10 Millennials believe church attendance is important. Of those who do go, only 1 out of 10 says they go because they believe the Bible says to gather with other believers.

Oddly, when asked what factors help Americans grow in their faith, church was not even named among the top 10 factors.

Compare these numbers to older generations–for instance, 40% of the Mature/Silent Generation (born 1927-1945; over 70) rating church as “very important”–and the decline is obvious. The practice of believers consistently gathering as a meaningful community is in jeopardy.

Some churches have responded by making their worship, sermons and resources available online. This addresses people’s need for solid biblical teaching but cannot forge human interaction. People have the need for both the content and the community of the Church, and options other than gathering with believers may satisfy the former but cannot satisfy the latter.

The result is much like a termite who eats plenty of wood but has no companions to help it digest.

The Reason to Bother

What’s the big deal? Is it really so bad to be withdrawn from consistent participation in a community?

Ask the antelope who is not careful to stay within the safety of the herd.Hunted

Ask the inhabitants of Laish.

The Danite scouts observed that the inhabitants “lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationships with anyone else” (Judges 18:7). We’ve already seen how their city was prosperous, well-fortified and suspecting no trouble, so why worry about relationships? Why do the extra work to maintain connection with surrounding peoples?

No doubt, relationships take time and effort and can be messy. So why bother?

Because attack and hardship will come eventually, and when it does, having no one to help will practically ensure defeat.

[The Danites] attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else” (Judges 18:28).

Gather Your Team

Just as a lion preys on the antelope who gets separated from the herd, so our enemy preys on those who are not connected to a helpful community.

We have already learned from Laish’s defeat about how to be victorious rather than victims.

The best investment in our security is not money, insurance, alarm systems, etc., but an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Keeping in mind that hardship is imminent, we must remain vigilant, disciplined and dressed in the full armor of God.

We must train ourselves not to rely on any luxury for contentment, most effectively by voluntarily denying ourselves what we crave most through the discipline of fasting.

And finally, we must cultivate “a herd,” a network of companions committed to each other’s well-being who will fight for one another, celebrate victory together, provide for each other, encourage, support and counsel each other.

This commercial perfectly depicts God’s design for how a community of comrades can literally mean the difference between defeat and victory.

[2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Big Game Ad: Team (Extended)]

Do you have a team, a herd, a community of people who have your back?

Parents, do your kids have that? Have you helped them develop, not just acquaintances or friends, but a community of peers and adults purposefully invested in their success?

If not, a great place to start is to find a local church with children and youth ministries, family/adult small groups and recovery groups. If you live in Lewisville, Flower Mound, Highland Village or any of the surrounding areas, Garden Ridge church of Christ would love to be that community for you and your family. Find out more at http://www.gardenridge.org. (Explore the “Ministries” menu for various groups to fit your needs.)

Tell Your Story

We would LOVE to hear what your helpful community means to you and how they’ve come through when you needed them. Please add a comment to share your story with us.

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Four Ways to be Easily Conquered (Pt. 2)

1 | Be Safe and Secure

(Four Ways to Be Easily Conquered, Pt. 2)

The Key to Crossing a Frozen Pond

Two hikers want to explore the woods on the other side of a frozen lake.walking_on_thin_ice_by_x_ample

One is hesitant to cross the lake, skeptical that the ice will hold their weight. The other is bold and confident they can make it.

Who will make it to the woods on the other side of the lake?

That all depends…on the strength of the ice.

Success and security are not based upon the size and strength of one’s faith but upon the size and strength of the object of one’s faith.

We are only as successful and secure as what we rely on for success and security.

A person with only a little faith in thick ice is more secure than the person with great confidence in thin ice.

Likewise, even small, struggling faith in an enormous God can uproot mountains and sustain us in impossible situations, while bold, wholehearted confidence in anything less, no matter how worthy it seems, cannot ensure our well-being.

Sidonian Safety

The Danite scouts looking for a city to conquer described Laish as “living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure” (Judges 18:7).

This may seem like a deterrent, but in fact, their Sidonian safety and security actually made them more vulnerable.

Avila_wallsSafety and security are, by no means, inherently negative, but, like many of us, Laish’s confidence was in the wrong safeguard.

Their defenses were modeled after Sidon. Sidon was a well-fortified city because it was wealthy. Archaeological findings show that Laish had similar defensive measures: enormous earthen embankments that served as massive walls, gate courtyards, etc.

Hence their peace of mind.

In _____ We Trust

They are not the only ones to put their faith in such safeguards.

Israel asked for a king, feeling more secure following a man into battle than an invisible God (I Samuel 8:19-20).

Leah trusted pregnancies to fix her marriage (Genesis 29:32, 34; 30:20).

Asa refused to seek the Lord’s help with his severe foot disease, instead trusting only his physicians (II Chronicles 16:12).

David observed that many trust in the military power of horses and chariots for their safety (Psalm 20:7).

Proverbs notes that the wealthy imagine their money to be an unscalable wall (Proverbs 18:11).

Proverbs also observes that many trust their own wisdom and ingenuity, that they feel safest doing whatever seems right to them (Proverbs 14:12).

And the trend continues today.

“Everything will be better if we can just get the right politicians in office.”

“This relationship will fix my problems.”

“If I can only get into that hospital, be treated by that doctor, or get that treatment, I could be cured.”

“Our military is keeping this country safe.”

“This is a safe place to live because it has the top police department in our region.”

“I feel safer since I started carrying a firearm.”

“Getting into that college is the key to my successful career.”

“I know my future is secure because I’ve got a solid 401K.”

“I don’t worry much because I can always find a way to work things out for the best.”

For our well-being, we might pray…but we are definitely going to buckle up, lock our cars, get home alarm systems, and demand top-notch police, fire and medical services.

Then we have peace of mind that we are secure.

Indeed, we may be more Sidonian than we think.

Scalable Walls

There is nothing wrong with these safety measures, but they do not make us secure! To place our trust in them implicitly only makes us more easily conquerable.

What happens to our security when:

… jobs we trusted in are lost?4ceac20dee7c2a9c1e6b5409e4ec920f

… our bank accounts dry up?

… people we rely on let us down?

… our own wisdom and ingenuity prove to be wrong, often with serious consequences?

… doctors and treatments turn out to be ineffective?

… disasters strike that cannot be fixed by money, people, our own effort, etc.?

Laish had peace of mind because of their walls, but these walls were eventually scaled by the Danites, and the city fell.

We, too, can be at peace behind the highest walls of finances and resources and safety measures, and yet be totally vulnerable.

The good news is, this means we can stop frantically building these high walls and instead focus on a single thing for our security.

The Strong Tower

Proverbs 18:11, states that wealthy people only imagine their riches to be an unscalable wall. The verse just before it describes a truly unscalable, impenetrable wall:

The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run to it and are saved (Proverbs 18:10).

The Lord does not fail.

To cultivate a relationship with Him is the greatest investment we can make in our success and security.

lighthouse-in-the-storm1One missionary explained, “Security is not found in the absence of danger, but in the presence of Jesus.” (And this is a woman in a country where 60 missionaries are killed every year!)

Better to be in the direst circumstances with only Jesus to hold onto than abundantly wealthy in the safest house in the safest city with incredible insurance and access to the best doctors but no relationship with Christ.

Remember, you are only as successful and secure as what you rely on for success and security.

So the first question to ask yourself to find out how conquerable you are is, “What/whom am I relying on for security?”


To encourage you to make Christ your one hope of security, read these lyrics from Edward Mote (1797-1874), and then watch the video of Hillsong’s rendition of it, titled “Cornerstone.”

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.