Breaking the Cycle

How do you feel about doing the same thing over and over again, especially if the repetitive behavior is detrimental?

 Budapest by Gillham

Budapest by Gillham

As nearly as I can tell, no one truly knows who first quipped, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” But, whoever said this spoke correctly. In terms of desiring something different for yourself, it is irrational to hope and believe this will occur while not fundamentally altering your life’s trajectory.

Of course, when it comes to changing your life, this is easier said than done. Pages upon pages have been penned by everyone from positive thinkers, to life coaches, to theologians, to gurus, to New Age aesthetics. And, the market is still hungry, searching for the formula that will affect life-change in the desired direction.

I’ve added my pages to the page count with my books, No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. However, if all I do as an author is offer modifications of what is already written in hopes of bringing my readers to their desired destination, I’m practicing a form of author insanity. I’m not interested in living in a fantasy.  

Most of what you read regarding changing your life has some merit in it, some authors and their tomes more than others, but it’s a rare work that is worthless. Still, after you read a while, the pages offer similar solutions.

When I took pen in hand, I did so because I felt we needed something different. Why write another book on the same subject while saying nothing substantively new? Who has time for that?!

The message of the Bible is that we are in the midst of a profound war. Yes, I’m talking about spiritual warfare, but more pointedly, I’m speaking of what Scripture identifies as the battle between flesh and Spirit. It indicates that these two combatants are mutually exclusive, i.e. there can be no peace negotiated. One or the other must win absolutely and unconditionally. Either we live via the flesh or we live by the Spirit. And yes, it is either/or. Scripture doesn’t allow us a both/and option.

As with all wars, there are combatants and there is strategy, and these are drawn up in your life on a field of battle. There are losses and gains, risks and rewards, casualties and prisoners, honor and humiliation, victory and defeat. As with all wars committed to absolute victory and unconditional surrender, the stakes are brutal, but to the victor goes a glorious crown.  

In short, to win the day in your life, you need much more than self-improvement. You need a transformative plan and revolutionary strategy for living that you don’t currently possess or you wouldn’t be seeing the same sights while you go in circles. Adjustments won’t garner to you the change you desire. No. You must adopt a new way. You require something different.

I could have written a book with twelve or thirteen chapters, some stories, some verses of Scripture, and a study guide so my book would fit within a Sunday School quarter. But to do this, I would have had to compromise. I would have had to write a nice book, an acceptable book, a routine book that fit within the status quo of acceptable tomes on improving your life a bit at a time. I’ve done that before, and you’ve read books like this before. You get a predictable outcome: nice, acceptable, routine.

My friend, there is nothing nice, acceptable, or routine about a desperate battle for hearts and lives, first among them being yours. The stakes of spiritual battle require something more, something different. It’s not that we have been hearing heresy from the pulpit or reading pabulum, but that the stakes of the battle have grown more demanding. There was a time when traditional methods motivated change, but no longer.

We need something different.

We don’t need a different truth, as though truth grew obsolete. Rather, we need to embrace the message of Scripture with nuanced insight, more wholeheartedly, with greater tenacity and resolute will, and with more sophistication in the weapons of warfare than ever before.

The times are demanding. Can you feel the tension in the societal air surrounding you? When you get quiet for a moment and listen, can you feel the electricity in the atmosphere of the field before you? There is an escalation of events and circumstance.

It is my conviction that you don’t need more of the same. You need something out of the ordinary. You need principles, yes, but you need a leader, a model who implements and articulates for you—whether in victory or defeat—the lessons learned so you can follow suit. Further, you need to know and understand the forces with you and against you.

If you are ready to break the cycle of trying the same things to effect the change you desire only to find yourself pressed up against the same trench, then I encourage you to consider these different books. I’ve used allegory to portray the characters with whom you grapple. I’ve broken the Trinity of God apart into separate characters so you can see what each does to help you win the day. And, I’ve created a person to follow named, Hank.

Bluntly, I want you to read and conclude: If that’s the way the spiritual world ebbs and flows, works and doesn’t work for Hank, then that must be the way it works for me as well. I will follow suit. I will seize the weapons Hank seizes and let him serve like my Sergeant Major to make me formidable in this fight and effective in my life.

Hank’s story begins in No Mercy. Here, you see the sweeping battles between the flesh and the Spirit portrayed, you recognize who the players are, see their tactics, and grasp your part in the battle.

In the sequel, Battle for the Round Tower, you are introduced to the battle for hearts and lives. What’s at stake, and why, become clearer. The strategies for overcoming, surviving, redeeming, intervening, and conquering are evident.

Both books are novels. They are adventure stories—because life is an adventure. If your life isn’t, then maybe you need to read something different. Neither book quotes Scripture. Rather, both books show Scripture at work. Neither talk about God, both reveal Him.

If you are interested in knowing God, overcoming the flesh, living victoriously, and fighting for the hearts and lives of those around you, then you are the person for whom I wrote. Break the cycle of life as usual while irrationally hoping for something more. Change your tactics. Live above!