“A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory comes from the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).
We say it often at Journey: Our goal on the weekend is to eliminate as many distractions as possible and to create an environment where people can authentically connect with God. We want people to leave the weekend worship experience feeling like they just met with God–that an environment of excellence was created–that we did our absolute best to remove distractions and create environments for people to have a real, authentic encounter with God. So we prepare, and we rehearse, and we prepare and we rehearse some more. Because we think God deserves our best.
There is a real danger here, though, isn’t there? The danger is to make this “striving for excellence” the end in itself–that’s why a verse like Proverbs 21:31 is so important. “A horse is prepared for the day of battle, but victory comes from the Lord.” If we forget where the victory comes from, here’s what can happen: Without warning, all our preparation can become the all-consuming passion. Our pursuit of excellence becomes the pursuit of our heart. And the final goal is the performance itself.
That’s not to say that we don’t do our absolute best, because the reality is we are in a real battle. We’re in a battle for the souls of men and women on their way to an eternity without God. We’re in a battle for the minds of our students. We’re in a battle for families on the verge of disaster. So, we’ve got to suit up. We’ve got to get our horse ready for battle. We dress him. And we dress him nice. And we dress him with the best armor that we’ve got. Because he’s not just any horse. He’s a horse riding in God’s army. He’s a stallion that will strike fear into the enemy and muster courage among his comrades…
But…we must make sure that the all-consuming passion of our heart is God Himself–the One to whom deserves our excellence. The pursuit of our heart must be to pursue Him, and the final goal must be Him.
There’s a beautiful balance of human participation and divine dependence found in this verse. God invites us into the work that He is doing. And it’s our honor to join Him! We prepare our horse, and then we get out of the way. We get out of the way and let God have His victory. Because the victory belongs to Him. We can’t forget that.
You know what victory is? It’s at the end of the day knowing that the Gospel was preached, lives were radically altered for eternity’s sake, Jesus was lifted up, the devil was kicked in the jaw and people left saying, “Wow! God was there!” (1 Corinthians 14:23-25)
Let’s dress our horse and leave the victory to the Lord.