SUMMARY: As we prepare for the skirmishes in our spiritual life, we can hold to the image of the Archer. The Archer teaches us six behaviors that each man should remember before and during battle. In this Resolute Podcast, Vince Miller interviews Dr. Greg Bourgond, author of “A Rattling of Sabers” and President of Heart Of A Warrior Ministries.



Vince: This is Resolute and the Resolute Podcast, where we make men better. I am Vince Miller, your host. And today, we’re in a series we have entitled, “Preparing for the Battle.” Today we’re discussing the topic of the archer.

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Today – again – I am joined by Doctor Greg Bourgond. Greg is the Founder and President of Heart of the Warrior Ministries. He holds previous experience of about a decade in the divine industry and commercial business and served over 18 years in various ministry positions across the US.

Greg serves as a consultant and teacher in the areas of leadership formation and spiritual development. He has lived a lifelong legacy of mapping, focused living and building organizational systems. Specifically, he has in incredible heart for men’s ministry. And today we are joined by him again, as we look at some of the images that prepare us for battle in our lives – out of his book, “A Rattling of Sabers.”

Okay Greg, one more time. I do have to say this, I have truly learned from you that images are very powerful for guys. And I have to say, when I was reading your book – the image of the archer captured my heart. Now I am not an archer. I’ve never been hunting with a bow. I’ve seen them, I’ve always wanted someone to take me hunting. But I have never done it.

This one caught my attention because of it – it stayed in my mind. In fact – even sitting here with you now, I imagine myself re-reading the book again. Which I’d encourage guys to pick up. And I – I was really taken back by these 6 practices of a good archer, and how you apply them to a man’s life. I’m not even going to set it up anymore, just tell the guys why you chose this image?

Greg: Well it represented for me the picture of what it really takes to become a really good archer. It isn’t a matter of getting just the right bow and the right arrows. There’s a lot of other dynamics you have to engage in and understand, in order to become effective as an archer. And as I was looking at – and I actually interviewed archers.

Vince: Okay.

Greg: And asked them what they did to do what they do, and do it so well. And so what came out of those conversations were these images or these practices that I felt had a direct correlation to how God trains us to hit the target. In our case, the target is Godliness. Or the target being Godliness, and how we manifest that Godliness in a battlefront he’s called us to.

So these – these practices, like proper equipment. You can have the terrible equipment. You can have a flimsy bow and a plastic arrow, and it’s not going to accomplish what you hope to accomplish. You have to have the proper equipment. For the follower of Christ, for the man of God, it’s the armor of God. That’s the proper equipment.

Vince: That’s the equipment, yeah.

Greg: That’s their equipment. When it comes to a proper target, we’ve already talked about that. It’s a Godly life. It’s a pursuit of Godliness. Because everyone around us is going to benefit from the fact that we are becoming more Godly. Proper attitude. Recognizing that God has plans for us. And the interesting thing is, it’s plural.

We make some mistakes along life’s journey. We make bad decisions, and we think that “Oh, that’s it for me. I’m going to be put on the bench or on the backside of the desert.” But that’s what the enemy wants us to believe.

We might go to the left when God wanted us to go to the right, or go to the right when God’s wanted us to go to the left. But the fact of the matter is, what God is calling us to is the fact that he’s never going to give up on us. He has plans plural. We may have made a bad decision, all he does is open up a whole new series of options at the end of that road.

So having that attitude, no matter what environmental conditions you’re going to confront as an archer – God has plans for us for every one of those alternatives. Proper training. Our armor awaits us. The fact that God prepared armor for us ahead of time for us to don. It’s unique to us. It has to do with having a good trainer, which is a mentor. Somebody coming alongside us. A clear goal. The bulls-eye we talked about. Good guidelines. It has to do with the fact that there’s no gain without pain.

There’s a great passage in Scripture that talks about this. It’s first Corinthians 9:24-27. “Do you not know that in a race, all the runners run – but only 1 gets the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the game goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, as Paul’s saying, ‘I do not run like a man running aimlessly. I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it a slave, so that after all I’ve preached to others, I myself may not be disqualified.‘”

So training takes time. And so you have to be in it for the long haul. If you want to be a great archer for the kingdom of God, it takes time.

Vince: Yeah.

Greg: Cut yourself a break.

Vince: Yeah.

Greg: Understand it’s incremental change. Proper assessment. Wanting to know what the environment looks like. Having the proper world view, a biblical world view. There are all kinds of competing world views today.

Vince: Oh yeah.

Greg: But a biblical world view gives you the perspective. It helps you to understand how God engages the world, and you’re to participate in that engagement. And it’s also understanding Satan’s tactics. What he uses against you. And I go into great detail. I think I identified 22 different tactics that Satan uses to defeat us. So it’s a proper assessment of the environment.

And finally, proper practice. Which takes courage, discipline, and focus. It says in Scripture, “To endure hardship with us, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs. He wants to please his commanding officer, which calls us to devotion. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he doesn’t receive the victor’s crown, unless he competes according to the rules. That takes discipline. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crop. So that takes dedication.

So that’s all important, but the main thing is this – your faith is only as good as the action it produces. Hebrew scholars long ago said, “Your beliefs are not a belief until you act on them.

Vince: No.

Greg: James talks about making sure that your faith is represented by followup action. There must be some fruit there that’s born out of that faith.

Vince: Right, right. So here’s – and I love how you just describe the full package of an archer here. Because you’re right, it isn’t just about the target. It’s about equipment, target, attitude, training. I mean – again – proper assessment and practice. Everything kinda folds in together, right? And so – but let me – this all applies to a place that we use this, right? So in preparing for the battle, what does this battlefront look like now – now we are a prepared Archer, right? We prepared. What does the battlefront look like for guys?

Greg: There are – there are several ideas that, that immediately come to mind, that are born out by concrete examples. True transformational change has never been a matter of sanctified behavior modification.

Vince: Right

Greg: Just bringing up the intensity, more discipline, more focus. It’s always been – it says in Scripture, “a battle of the heart.”

Vince: Yes.

Greg: It says, “Above all else, guard your heart. For from it comes the wellspring of your life.” Men, whatever’s stored in your hearts, it’s going to manifest itself in overt behavior that – it is going to bring glory and honor to God, or dishonor and shame to you – and to the Lord. So the idea is, is that the battlefield has always been the heart. The heart gets changed.

If – for instance – the heart consists of central beliefs, core values, worldview, and motives. Central beliefs are the foundation of, of which everything else rises from. Beliefs have everything to do with what you trust and rely on and cling to – not necessarily maybe what you verbally proclaim, but what you truly believe at the core of who you are.

Values are the filter through which you process all life decisions. Every decision, a consequence you make is passed through the filter called “values,” whether you can articulate them or not. And if you are passive about it – there are some days you make great decisions, some day – poor decisions. That has to do with the fact there’s a conflict in your values. So values are important.

The other idea has to do with worldview or perceptual attitude. You’ve got to view the world as God sees the world. And how he engages the world. So understanding what he’s doing in the world, helps you to come alongside what he’s doing. And then motives. Motives are the energy that compels you to move from thought to action. Generally brought into play when there’s a stimulus or a crisis and/or event that compels you to act.

Some of us have some very unhealthy and sinful motives that always energize us to act in ways that are dysfunctional and hurtful to others. The idea – for instance, say – a great motive’s unconditional love. The genuine concern for the welfare and well-being of another individual – even if they’re unlikable. The fact of the matter is, that’s a motive that should compel us to act.

So the battlefield has always been the heart. The behavior will follow. Because what happens is that – when you tune your heart to the heart of God – and your beliefs, values, attitudes, and motives reflect his character in his heart. Behavior follows that reflects the health of that heart. So if you’re seeing unhealthy behavior, you’ve got to check what’s going on in the heart. So the battlefront or the battlefield has always been the heart. Because that’s what produces your behavior.

Vince: Yeah, see that’s what – that’s one – one of the things I really appreciate about the image of the archer. Was, there’s a lot of work being done, right? There’s a lot of work being done to prepare us, to train us. And we’re always training, right? We’re always getting better. We’re always using better tools as a Christian man. However, the battle is not out there. Meaning – against everybody else. The battle is actually had within our own heart, right?

Greg: Exactly.

Vince: And what Christ is after, isn’t like you said – behavior modification. Although behaviors sometimes, and obedience leads to change – it’s the truly deep, motivational change of the heart – where we fight battles. That’s – I’m just going to make this obvious point, and I know you know this. But that’s why I love – I love the moment in Scripture where Nathan confronts David. And in that moment when Nathan confronts David, I actually think that Nathan – when he walks up to confront David about his sin with Bathsheba – that he had been hiding in his heart, for who knows how long? That the greatest battle David ever fought was the battle that he fought in that moment.

Greg: Yes.

Vince: It wasn’t the enemies that surrounded him. Even though he was a great warrior, the greatest battle he ever fought was that moment in his heart. And it’s what he decided and chose to do in that very moment. And yeah he was caught in sin, and he did some things wrong, and he tried to conceal it. But what I think is beautiful about his heart – and I think one of the reasons God called David, “A man after God’s own heart,” is what he did in that moment.

Greg: Yeah.

Vince: He gets on his knees, he repents – and he – really turns his heart back to God. That’s where I believe most men fight the battle today. And I think unfortunately, they think the battle’s out there when it really is in here. And I’m pointing to me, in my own heart, right?

Greg: Yeah, I talk to men all the time about what I call the inconvenient moment.

Vince: Okay.

Greg: The inconvenient moment is a circumstance, an event or an issue that comes up. And you’re faced with a decision – am I going to respond the way I should, or am I going to run from it? We may not be feeling at the time particularly spiritual. We may not even be feeling at the time that we want to engage anybody for the cause of Christ. And we have other things we think are so important. But the crisis is, are we going to do the right thing at that inconvenient moment?

And so when we finally submit an obedience and engage that inconvenient moment – even though we feel totally unprepared and unworthy – God show’s up in a powerful way. And after the event is done, or the circumstance is done – we don’t even half the time remember what we said. But we’re so glad, we embrace the inconvenient moment. And God did something miraculous in the midst of it. Because he often does his greatest work in the inconvenient moments of our life, because it forces us to depend on Him.

Vince: There is the call to action, that’s perfect. And I’ve never heard you use that language before, so I’m learning something today. So thank you for that. So my call to action, the guy’s call to action, your call to action – is to step into the moment that’s inconvenient, right? And be the man of God that he wants us to be.

Greg: Exactly.

Vince: There you go. Well Greg, thank you again. I look forward to having you back. You have shared such wisdom with the guys. And you’ve shared such wisdom with me. So thank you.

Greg: You’re welcome.

Vince: And guys, that is the show. Thanks for listening. Gentlemen, as we close I want to remind you that none of this would be possible without you, your prayers, your financial support, and your encouragement keep us going. Therefore, we would be honored to have you consider a monthly donation to Resolute.

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I hope you enjoyed this podcast today. But please know that the time that we spend together is worthless unless you act on it. So do something today. Do something. Become the archer in your mindset. Do not fear the enemy standing around you. And, as I say – get off the bench, and into the game. And I will see you right back here next time on another edition of the Resolute Podcast.