Its about a group of men who end up stranded in a fierce snowy tundra. While trying to survive the cold and find civilization, they realize that a pack of hungry wolves wants to make them their next meal. As the wolves attempt to divide and conquer and the men led by Liam Neeson fight for their lives, Christy and I saw some interesting analogies for our spiritual lives. Without further ado, I present to you some survival tips that should help whether you are up against a pack of wolves or more everyday things like temptation to sin or even attacks from the devil.
This one is plain and simple. There is a part in the movie where the wolves approach the whole group of men. After a staring contest, the wolves back down. There is safety in numbers. Its hard to take down a group of seven people who are fighting alongside one another. But guess what happens to the men who are foolish enough to wander too far from the rest of the group? Let's just say it isn't pretty.
Likewise, we Christians aren't meant to go it alone. Our faith journey and walk with God is meant to be done alongside other like-minded Christians. When we are together, its harder for the devil and sin to pull us down. But when we wander away from each other, we put ourselves in danger. I've seen strong Christians really mess up here. At some point they begin to distance and separate themselves. They stop going to small group, stop attending church as regularly, and overall disconnect themselves from Christian fellowship. I've seen them fall into great discouragement and begin struggling with sins that never even tempted them when they were connected to other believers. There is safety in numbers for Christians. Being connected to good Christian fellowship is a major safe haven for your walk with God.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.-- Hebrews 10:24
We need to watch each others' backs. At the part of the movie pictured above, all of the guys have their eyes in the same direction. Guess which way the wolves come from? The wolves are smart and they attack where the group is most vulnerable. I believe sin and Satan are the same way.
A few years ago, Christy and I watched a lot of House together. We had the seasons on DVD and were just going straight through it. House's rude, pessimistic sarcasm started rubbing off on me and I was being really mean to a lot of people. But I didn't even realize it! Christy noticed it pretty early on and just told me in a loving way that I was being a jerk lately. When I thought about it, I couldn't believe how blind I had been to how big of a jerk I was becoming. Because she was watching my back and offered me that rebuke, I was able to put an end to my sarcastic self before it got out of control.
As a Christian, you need other Christians to warn you of dangers you don't see. We need to warn, correct, rebuke, and spur one another on. And we need to have friendships that have the kind of trust it takes to accept those kinds of words from one another.
After days of being chased by wolves like that one, it goes without saying that your outlook on life takes a nose dive. There are several points throughout the movie where various characters get discouraged and want to give up. But the other characters are usually there to remind each other of the joys of life that are worth fighting for.
Real life can be the same. Sometimes life just wears down on us. Maybe we have been dealing with temptation from the same sin for so long that we just get worn down and lose hope. Maybe circumstances have just been bad for a long time and life doesn't seem like it will be picking up any time soon. Whatever the situation, we Christians need to provide encouragement to one another regularly. We need to keep our eyes out for our friends who just seem a little low and make an actual effort to bring some joy and encouragement their way.
So keep in mind that you are indeed in a spiritual battle as Ephesians 6:12 tells us. The devil is real and sin is very tempting. An amazing source of strength and a tool for victory is fellowship with other believers. To have fuller victory over sin, temptation, discouragement, and more make sure you are spending regular time with good Christian friends (not just sitting by them at church on Sunday!). And make sure that you are being a good Christian friend to them by providing encouragement, correction, and watching their backs.
- List out in detail how much time you spend on average per week with Christian friends.
- Is that enough time? If not, what can you do to get more fellowship?
- Is that time spent well? Is any of it spent in prayer or discussing real life issues.
- Who are the Christian peers God has placed in your life?
- How can you be more involved in their life?
- How can you watch their backs better?
- How can you encourage them better and more regularly?
- How can you be praying for them more specifically and regularly?