From the Back Row of the Balcony to the Front at the Altar


October 9, 2021

Judges 6:11-12 (NIV)

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”


In my first year of law school, I faced the real prospects of academic failure for the first time in my life. One’s grade entire grade in a class rests on the 3 hour final exam alone and  the grading was done in an anonymous manner as one signs their exam with a preassigned secret number rather than their name. In those weeks leading up to the end of the first semester my Sunday church attendance picked up quite a bit. 

I am destined to remember one of those Sundays for the rest of my life and into eternity. I was in my usual seat on the back pew of the balcony. When I realized there was a guest preacher that day I began to make my way to the door. I loved the senior pastor, who at that time was Dr. Jack Wilson, and his “good news that makes a difference!” Somehow, the gravity of the Holy Spirit held me in place. 

The preacher turned out to be the Rev. Wesley Putnam and he entered the sanctuary dressed in full Bible Character mode. He enacted the role of—you guessed it—Gideon. Everything I know about Gideon I learned that morning. I shall never forget it. It was the day I met Gideon. For somehow in the miraculous mystery of the Word of God becoming enfleshed through this traveling evangelist, I not only met Gideon, but I met God in a new way, and I not only met God in a deep way I met myself in a new way. It was on that day, on the back row at the top of the balcony I heard God saying to me. . . 

The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior. 

And I knew he was calling my life into his purposes for the world. The thin cliched veneer of “God’s wonderful plan for my life,” became a compelling and consuming invitation to lay down “my life” for God’s purposes in the Earth. And it was a long walk from the top row of the balcony to the altar at the front of that church. 

In fact, I am still walking. And something tells me you are too. 

I want to say something that will come as a big relief to many of you and perhaps as a shock. You have not missed God’s wonderful plan for your life. How do I know? Because God doesn’t have a wonderful plan for your life. It is not some super specific job or vocation or career path and if you miss that you’ve missed the plan. God has a plan all right– but it is not for your life. It’s just the opposite. Your life is for his plan.

The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior! 

This is not a semantical turn of phrase. It is a flipping of the script. God has given you a life, right where you are, for his plan and purposes. And his plan and purposes are for your life to become so completely and utterly and overwhelmingly filled with his life and light and love that you become the most incredibly generous and encouraging and uncontainable blessing of a human being that people around you have ever seen. God’s plan is to make you so filled with grace and truth and goodness and kindness that your children hardly recognize you any more; that causes your parents to do a double-take. 

The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior! 

The point is not to stress out over some specific plan you have to get right. The goal is to 100% give your life back to God, to give up your rights to yourself, to let go of your self-oriented ambitions, to walk away from the Tower of Babel that your life has become—leaving it on the plains of Shynar, and abandon yourself to God. Does this mean a career change? It may, but probably not. God is far less interested in disrupting your plans than he is interested in erupting His life into your life. This is not about doing great things for God. It is about Jesus doing great things in you. It is high time we began seeing the will of God as a life of adventures and special assignments rather than as job descriptions and career paths. 

Gideon was a farmer who was given an assignment that took him on an adventure. He knew he didn’t have what it takes. He was about to learn God did. He had to once again make the turn from “believing in God” to “believing God.” He needed courage. He simply needed to be encouraged. That’s what you and I need. It takes encouragement to get from the back of the balcony to the front at the altar. 

The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior! 


Father, thank you for Gideon, unimpressive, under-confident, unqualified, and underwhelming. Thank you for picking Gideon, because it increases my confidence that you might pick someone like me. Thank you for picking people like Gideon through whom you can demonstrate your goodness and display your glory. I want my life to be for your plan. I want to flip the script. I want this life like Jesus; that is too good to be true and yet is true not because of me but because of you. Come Holy Spirit and lead me on. In Jesus name, Amen. 


What do you think of this flipped phrase— from God’s plan for my life to my life for God’s plan. 


Ok Preachers and Pastors and Candlestick makers in our midst—If you haven’t gotten your plans for Advent together yet, I’ve got a deal for you. Check it out here. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. I believe that if we disciples of Christ were to act in accordance to “ flipping the script”, that we too would be rightly accused of “ turning the world upside down “ (Acts 17:6) KJV.

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