Andy B begins GoDeeper by explaining the idea of a tactical retreat when it comes to the military. He adds that making a tactical retreat is more deliberate than just retreating.
Andy then gives multiple examples of Jesus making tactical retreats, often to pray, but on a few occasions, he retreated to simply get out of harm’s way. Jesus’ example is obviously helpful to try to imitate.
Andy B points out that there is a time to make a stand and that we only retreat so that we can prepare and/or regroup for said stand. He relates some of the times he has stood, giving some of the costs of standing, and encouraging us to stand when the time comes.
So another Andy B, GoDeeper. And we're looking at Tactical Retreat, Tactical Withdrawal.
If you think about the military, they don't always just retreat as in fleeing the enemy. That's quite a valid way of trying to stay alive. But actually, there's also tactical retreat, where you retreat for a purpose. You retreat because you're not in a strong enough position. You retreat in order to reset yourself, to get more people there, to gather all your men into one place before you attack once more. So a tactical retreat is not a loss. It's a lull. It's a pause before doing something else.
And we see in Scripture this exact same principle from Jesus, the ultimate tactical retreater. And we're gonna look in Luke chapter 5, verse 16, which says this, lost it.
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places, and prayed."
And it's important to know that he didn't just disappear down to the coffee shop. Actually, what Jesus did was He withdrew to a lonely place so He could focus on prayer, so He could focus on His relationship with His Father GoD.
His withdrawal, His tactical withdrawal, tactical retreat, was for a purpose. And His purpose for doing that comes much later.
We see the same thing again in John chapter 5, verse 18, where it says this. Nope, that's the wrong chapter, though. Yeah. So John 5,13,
"The man who was healed had no idea who it was. But Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there."
Yet again, Jesus making a tactical withdrawal because it was not His time to stand.
Now Jesus stood in lots of ways and lots of times. He stood against the evil in the temple. He stood by turning over the temples. He stood by challenging those religious leaders within the temple by questioning them, making them think about what it is they actually thought and believed, because it was wrong. And He was steering them back to Scripture, to God, to Himself. Jesus stood plenty, but Jesus, also, tactically withdrew, preparing himself. But when He withdrew it wasn't just to run away. It was to prepare Himself through prayer for another time.
If we turn to Luke 4 verse 30, we see this.
"But He walked right through the crowd and went on his way."
And again, almost the same thing in Luke 24, a little later on, after His death and His resurrection. And this is with His disciples, Luke 24, 31.
"Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him and He disappeared from their sight."
Jesus frequently moves through life, here on earth as a man, but He also moves through life, withdrawing, tactically. He knew it was not His time to stand.
If you look at Mark, chapter 14, you see the account of the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus takes His disciples there. He's anxious. He's feeling the pressure of what is to come. So He takes His disciples there. He then takes three of His disciples, and He goes off, 'Please, will you come with me? Will you pray with me? Will you stand with me in these moments?'
They didn't really understand what was going on. They weren't really grasping what Jesus had taught them and what they knew. 'Will you pray with me' and He goes off. But that withdrawal from society with His disciples withdrawal from His disciples to just three of His disciples, and then on His own. He's putting up people who can help Him and guide Him. But he's also taking time out. And in that, Mark, chapter 14, you can read that for yourself, but we see Jesus worried about what was going to happen because, physically, He was about to go through torment. He was anxious, but He withdrew for a reason.
I read a really great quote, the other day, from a, he's an American preacher. A good guy and he's in the UK doing a tour at the moment doing various, kind of, letting people know what's going on. And he quoted himself in a little picture, and I thought this was really apt.
He said, basically, if you are walking in your life as a Christian, and you have no opposition. If everything is hunky dory. If it's easy. If there's no difficulties, he said you've got to ask, are you even actually saved? Are you actually walking as a Christian?
Now, that's not a nice question to ask in today's society, but it's a righteous one. If you're going through life, and you're not having any opposition, any difficulties, are you actually walking a life with Jesus Christ? Because walking with Jesus Christ, it is not the easiest path. It is hard at times. That's why we're supposed to not just jump into being a Christian. We're s`upposed to consider it, weigh it up before we make that decision to follow Jesus Christ. And that question remains. Have you got opposition in your life?
Now, the Bible balances it. Always a balance with the Bible, it's lovely. It balances it with if you're facing opposition, because you've been foolish, and stupid, and horrible, and ignorant, well, you're on your own.
But if you're facing difficulties, because you're standing for Jesus Christ, God is gonna be with you and strengthen you. And we see that in the life of Paul, don't we, in prison, or wherever he is, but he knows that Christ is with him. He knows that God is with him.
When we think about a tactical withdrawal, a tactical retreat, we need to remember that Jesus was doing that for a purpose, because in that Mark 14, Garden of Gethsemane, what happens? The crownd appears, with Judas at their front, Jesus could have, and He's done it many times in the Bible. it actually states He had done it many times. Jesus could, when those guards came, could of walked through, they wouldn't have known Him not even His own disciples. He could hide Himself from them.
But this was not the time for a tactical retreat. This was the time to stand. This was the moment that Jesus had been preparing for. It's why He cried blood. It was that anxiety of what was to come physically, that He knew spiritually. A tactical withdrawal is good in order to prepare yourself. But we're not supposed to run around trying to get ourselves killed either.
I've got a friend who's a really really good friend, he's a missionary in Nigeria. And he's really passionate about this. He said 'there's no point in going where you know, you're gonna get killed, why are you just gonna walk into death?' But he also knows he's willing to stand and to be killed for Christ. But what he's not gonna do is rush his way there. 'Cos why would you wanna do that? Jesus did not die until his time.
Now this isn't about us. Tactically, withdrawing to martyrdom, to being killed. Maybe, but it is about standing. It's about choosing your battles, knowing when to fight.
As a child at school, I was almost killed one day when some children had got really, really increasingly angry with me, because I would not shut up about Jesus. The more they pressed on me, and took my towel and stamped on it, and spat on it in the changing rooms. The more that they got my, my rucksack and my food, and threw it in the bin one day so I had to take you back out again for the next lesson. The more I hunkered down to 'I love Jesus and you're not going to win'. And, one day, cycling home, they went past me really fast and they pushed me off. I almost bounced into a tree. And there was a double decker bus that had nowhere else to go. If I'd have hit the tree I know even today I would have bounced back into the road. I would have been killed for my faith, because I would not shut up, because I stood. It was not my time to die at that moment.
Is it your time to stand? Possibly. It doesn't have to be for martyrdom. It doesn't have to be to death. But standing in the UK, recently, has meant you've lost your business, you've lost your livelihood. We've had a student sacked from the course he loves for the career he wants, because he wouldn't back down. He stood. And we've had many situations in the UK, and around the world too, where people have stood for Christ and it has cost them big time.
Losing a business isn't something you get over I've lost a business not for this same reason but it hurts. It's difficult. Losing your business is hard. Losing friends and family influence respect. It hurts. I've lost my reputation many times because people have attacked me wrongly and I've stood and not backed down. And if people can't force you to do what they want, they'll attack your reputation. But if your reputation is nothing to do with how you look, but actually because I'm a son of Jesus Christ, because I am an, I'm a disciple of Jesus Christ, your reputation doesn't matter. Tactical Retreat means you come back off something. You choose your battles, you choose when to stand, and one day you will need to stand. And when you stand, it will cost you something because that is the Christian faith. It's not something to be afraid of. It's not some't to celebrate. It is life.
The disciples, the disciples of Jesus Christ, they all stood. And they were killed in the most horrific of ways because they stood. And standing as a Christian is not easy. But here's the thing, if we're gonna bring a message of Jesus Christ, let's make sure that we, as the messenger, are not offensive. The message of Jesus Christ is offensive enough to those that don't want to hear it. But don't be offensive in delivering it. Sometimes it's good to come back, regroup and go again, until God makes it clear to stand.
Shall we pray, Father, God, thank you that you equip us for all in life that we need to do. I thank You, Lord, that we are never on our own, that when we walk with you, you are always beside us. It isn't just a nice thing to say, but you literally, always, are there beside us and behind us. You've gone ahead of us. There's nothing we can do that you haven't done worse and more difficult.
We are not alone. Father God, thank you that you walk with us. Show us how to tactically withdraw from situations, in order to prepare ourselves, in order to stand at the time that you have appointed for us, maybe many times in our life when we have to stand and risk our livelihood, our home, our family, our friends, our influence, because we're standing. Help up us to withdraw when it's righteously wise to do so, in order to prepare to stand for you. Amen.
Written by The BerryBunch