God, Gideon, and Guerrillas
Written by Donna on 17 February 2014 .

I wish this was audio instead of text. I would love to imagine the piqued interest as to what God and Gideon have to do with gorillas, since guerrillas and gorillas (depending upon how you pronounce gorillas) are homonyms. So God, Gideon, and gorillas would stir up a certain level of interest just because of the juxtaposition of the words.

However, this is text. It’s a blog! So anyone can see that guerrillas is not gorillas. So I lose an element of surprise there. But in keeping in line with that thought, the meaning of guerrillas, as it pertains to this blog, becomes a bit clearer.

According to Dictionary.com, a guerilla is “a member of a band of irregular soldiers that uses guerrilla warfare, harassing the enemy by surprise raids, sabotaging communication and supply lines, etc.1 Further, guerrilla warfare, from the same source, refers to “the use of hit-and-run tactics by small, mobile groups of irregular forces operating in territory controlled by a hostile, regular force.2

I think, in the kingdom of God, there are some guerrillas, if you will, who have special assignments from the King to conduct guerrilla warfare. These guerrillas attack ideologies, mindsets, philosophies, and mores of the world and ultimately, satan’s system, using Godly guerrilla tactics. And although such guerrillas are overwhelmingly misunderstood (at best) and stigmatized (at worst) by the body of Christ, it makes their assignments or tactics no less legitimate or effective. But we have to keep in mind that we do not contend primarily with fellow humans, but with spiritual forces. Therefore, the targets of our warfare are not always seen, nor our results immediately apparent.

Furthermore, not everyone is brave enough, committed enough, or crazy enough to be a guerrilla soldier. That’s true in the world-at-large as well as in the kingdom of God. But one thing is for certain – guerrillas are pretty much mavericks and cavalier marauders. Their concepts of life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are very different from the average person’s views. That’s true in the world-at-large and in the kingdom of God. But one thing is for certain in all cases: guerrilla soldiers will lay their lives down for the cause, scorning the stigma, criticism, and misunderstandings about their motives, or the chances of success of their missions. They’ll take all of those nonessential elements that come with the (literal or figurative) territory and stuff them in the trash can, in order to be truly devoted to, and consumed by, carrying out the mission successfully. They are not intimidated or encouraged by opinion or popularity, or the lack thereof – of either.

Guerrillas wage war in a non-conventional, unexpected way. God has guerrillas, believe it or not. And there are Biblical examples of guerrillas, although their war tactics might not be called “guerrilla tactics” by Bible scholars. One guerrilla tactic is the element of surprise, among other things. Of course, quoting the Dictionary.com definition once more, guerrillas are a small mobile group known for “harassing the enemy by surprise raids, sabotaging communication…” and utilizing “hit-and-run tactics… operating in a territory controlled by a hostile, regular force.”

Keep those points in mind because they are paramount in gaining understanding of where this blog is going concerning God and guerrillas. You see, God regularly uses the element of surprise, communication disruption, and small bands of raiders to carry out His purposes and plans. He’s notorious for it, if you’ll excuse the expression. That’s God’s modus operandi. He uses few to impact many. It’s His signature. We see it throughout the Bible. In fact, He has used one Person – Jesus – to change the entire world. Or, He picks twelve (the apostles) to turn the world upside down. Or a family of eight (Noah) to preserve the world. Or a barren couple (Abraham and Sarah) to establish a nation. Or a stuttering shepherd (Moses) to deliver a multitude. Or a misunderstood teenage dreamer (Joseph) to save many people alive. Or a couple of foreigners (Paul and Silas) who incite riots simply by challenging philosophies, who also get thrown into jail and wreck that, as well, by singing at midnight.

The book of Judges records an ideal account of guerrilla warfare. It recounts how God used Gideon and his soldiers to defeat the Midianites many years after the children of Israel’s miraculous trek from Egypt. To make a long story short, Gideon started out with an army of 32,000 soldiers. God told him to send everyone who was fearful home. Gideon then had 10,000 soldiers. Then God told Gideon to choose only the ones who drank from a pond, putting their hands to their mouths and lapping like dogs to drink the water. That left Gideon with 300 guerrilla soldiers – a reduction of 99% of the original army! Those 300 were hand-picked by God. They were so focused on the mission, that they wouldn’t obscure their watchful gaze for the enemy around them, to quench their thirst. They were so courageous, that their mindset toward the enemy was, “I’m thirsty. But I wish you would try to sneak up on me while I’m taking this break. Go ahead – make my day. If I see you coming, it’s going to be on!” That’s the attitude of a guerrilla soldier. That’s the 300 out of 32,000, or less than 1% of the original army. And theoretically, we can say that God’s hand-picked guerrillas are unlike 99% of other Christians. That’s theoretical and not doctrinal, so please leave it at that.

So, we’ve talked about God, Gideon, and guerrillas. Now let me get to the reason I’m writing this blog today. As you can see from the graphic image, there’s a super hero-like cartoon character associated with the title “God, Gideon, and Guerrillas.” That cartoon character has an “L” on his chest. And if you look closely, you’ll see that the character resembles Lecrae, who, according to his own proposition, is not a Christian rapper but a Christian who raps.

The music industry would like to portray Lecrae as the super cartoon character above – a hero or star. The Christian community, sad to say, has also placed him in that same light. Truly, Lecrae has been elevated as a hero for our Christian youth because he is “unashamed” or “not ashamed” to boldly profess Christ Jesus in front of the world. He has been placed on a pedestal because he has been recognized by the music industry with numerous awards for musical achievements.

It’s a similar story concerning Tim Tebow, by the way. He has been set up as a hero for Christian youth to idolize, if you will. Don’t get it twisted – these young men should be respected and commended for their stance for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to which they have devoted their love.

But instead of setting these young men up as heroes for our youth, we should be teaching our youth that these young men are doing what is supposed to be normal for Christians. Being unashamed of being a follower of Jesus Christ should not be something that only a special few can do on the world’s platform. It should be normal and expected of every Christian to be a bold witness for the Lord as we live our lives in this world. It should not be a rare or unusual occurrence.

However, Lecrae is a guerrilla soldier, in my estimation. And that puts him in our theoretical 1% of Christians who use guerrilla tactics to advance the mission of evangelizing the world – at least, “his” world, which is hip-hop culture.

At this particular time in current history and events, there is a loud, unsettled rumbling in church circles over what some are calling Lecrae’s folly – collaborating with secular music artists. Personally, I wouldn’t and couldn’t do it. But then, my assignment and Lecrae’s assignment are different. Similarly, Peter and John had one assignment; Paul, another. Peter didn’t feel comfortable in the circles in which Paul readily and easily moved. So I wouldn’t feel comfortable in the circles in which Lecrae apparently has opportunity to move. So I do not condemn Lecrae for what he’s doing. I don’t know what God instructed him to do, or the motives of his heart in carrying out his mission in the best way he believes will be effective.

I do know, however, that he’s a guerrilla soldier. I do know that a clearly clean message in the middle of an otherwise straight diatribe of profanity, uncleanness, and perversion disrupts some communication of darkness to some degree. I do know guerrilla soldiers face misunderstandings and criticisms with a dogged determination that the mission must be accomplished regardless, despite and in the face of all the verbiage from the ranks.

I also know, that from the criticisms I’ve heard, that Christians need to get a grip on reality. The fault of youth faltering “if” Lecrae is faltering is not on Lecrae. It’s on their parents, their other family members, their Sunday school teachers, and their pastors. These artists, or athletes, should not be placed on a pedestal or be allowed to be placed on a pedestal by our youth. They are not “stars.” There is only one star in Christendom, and He’s the bright and morning Star. Christians need to stop perpetuating the concept of heroes in the sense that we do.

Real heroes are the ones who provide clothing and shelter for our young people. Real heroes are the ones who respond to their needs on a daily basis. Real heroes are the ones who fix their meals, who teach them how to read and do mathematics, who discipline them, and who work countless hours to send them to school or put them through college. Real heroes are the ones sitting on the bleachers in the rain or cold, to watch them play sports. Those are their heroes. That’s what we should be teaching our youth. These are their heroes, not someone they’ll never meet, or who for the most part, will never sacrifice on a tangible, sustainable level for these youth to fulfill their destinies and dreams.

Lecrae doesn’t wear a super hero outfit with a capital “L” on his chest. He is a man who can fail and falter like the rest of us. I had the opportunity to attend Winter Jam in Atlanta on Feb. 8, 2014, and to see artists “do their thing” for God. By far, the clearest message of the cross came from Lecrae. He and another artist verbally stated, during their sets, that they, themselves, are not to be looked at as stars.
I’ve heard some rumbling that echoes the idea that Lecrae is not coming to minister at churches anymore. I’ve heard rumblings that maybe the church should reassess its support of him. I’m not defending Lecrae – I don’t know the brother. But has anyone thought that perhaps his assignment is not supposed to be inside four walls, so to speak? Has anyone had any discernment as to perhaps since he has been given access to one of the most poisonous and heinous industries concerning death-ridden philosophies, perhaps that’s the door that he should concentrate on?

We as the church have not done our job well as far as teaching our youth who their Hero should be. We have not done a good job of teaching our youth how special they are, themselves. So the trappings of “worldly success” and “worldly values” permeates their minds. Why do Christians try to place value on ourselves based on how we compare to the world? The world has given Lecrae props, and Christians find value in that. The world considers Lecrae as legit, and Christians as a whole, find value in that recognition.

But if I may spring off of that concept, may I share that there are numerous artists and music ministers who have just as much and even more talent than Lecrae? Why doesn’t the world or most other Christians know about those music artists and Christian rappers (or Christians who rap, however you want to put it)?

I’ll tell you three reasons why: (1) there may be little business acumen underlying what they do, (2) they may not be called to the guerrilla mission that Lecrae seems to be called to, and (3) hero worship. The first reason keeps their ministries from mass exposure because it takes money to fly around the world and somebody has to pay for the airline tickets, venues, studio time, etc. The second reason keeps them sharing their gift primarily among believers and younger children. The third reason goes back to the misplacement of value. The other artists or music ministers are actually victims of the enigma I like to state as a question: Are they unpopular because we don’t know or like them, or do we not know or like them because they are not popular?

Either way, it’s a sad indictment against Christians. And I will prove how we take this hero worship in stride as a normal thing. Let a secular music artist or professional athlete give their life to Christ. What does the church do? Invite him to the youth group rally and put a microphone in his hands: “Encourage our youth. Give your testimony!” He barely knows how to spell redemption, or grace, and you’ve made him into a preacher already. Hero worship.

It used to amuse me as I traveled to the various Gospel hip hop conferences. I would snap photos of the artists, and post them on the Altared Lives web site, and play the music of these unknown artists so that they could be heard and seen – so that their ministries could reach more people. But what amused me was that on many occasions, the artists wanted to know if I wanted someone else to take the photo, so I could appear in the photos with them. And I would decline, and think, “Why would I want to be in the picture? I’m trying to show people who you are and play your music so people can be ministered to and blessed. We are not celebrities – we are servants.” But that’s what we Christians make a habit of doing – we try to mimic how the world does things. “Ooh! I took a picture with Whitney Houston!” or “See me standing there with P. Diddy!” or, “I got Tim Tebow’s autograph on a jersey!” or “Lecrae signed my CD!” Hero worship.

I don’t need or want a hero that’s as fallible as I am. I need One that I can always look up to, Who will never fail or falter. Stop allowing yourself and your youth to put these people up on pedestals that they don’t belong on. The ones that our youth should respect the most as servants of Christ Jesus are the ones who have input into their lives on a daily and weekly basis, not someone they only know from an mp3, CD cover, press conference, commercial or sporting event.

Let God work through His Gideons and guerrillas. No, you won’t understand or accept what they do or why they do it, because you’re not of the 1%. You’re of the 99%. The 99 will have some fear that stops them from being a guerrilla for God. The 99 have life concerns that keep them from allowing the cause to consume their lives. But the 1%, like Gideon’s soldiers, are the guerrillas whose lives transcend those fears and concerns, and who allow the mission to transcend those fears and concerns.
Isn’t it ironic, however, that the story of Gideon concerns 99% vs. 1%, and Jesus’ call was to leave the 99 and seek the one? I liken the 99% in Gideon’s story to Christians who are not called to a specific guerrilla mission, and Gideon’s 1% as God’s hand-picked guerrilla soldiers. But it’s quite intriguing that Jesus’ call was to leave the 99 righteous and seek to save the 1. So there is another 99% and 1% in the New Testament to compare to the Old Testament 99% and 1% in Gideon’s story. It’s the 99 that Jesus leaves, to seek the 1. Hmmm – 1% are guerrillas, and 99% are not in Gideon’s story.

So, no, you might not understand the mission of a guerrilla soldier. That’s because you’re not called as a guerrilla thus cannot identify with the heart or psyche of the guerrilla soldier. Some of us are the 1% who are called to leave the 99% and go get the one, because as guerrillas, our assignment is to reach out to the 1, and not the 99. Now do you see something a little bit differently about God, Gideon, and guerrillas who might be called to evangelize outside the four walls? I pray that you do. But if not, will you at least pray about it?

1Modern Language Association (MLA):
"guerrilla." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 16 Feb. 2014. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/guerrilla>

2Modern Language Association (MLA):
"guerrilla warfare." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 16 Feb. 2014. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/guerrilla warfare>