In the movie, The Kingdom of Heaven, Balian de Ibelin (played by Orlando Bloom) was a central figure in the story of a man who had a destiny or a calling to go to Jerusalem. In his thinking he was going there to get his sins taken care of for killing a man from his town. In reality he was trying to get over the death of his wife, and he felt there was hope and restoration for him in Jerusalem. His conquest happened during the Crusades of King Richard in the 12th century, and his elevation from blacksmith to a leader in the defense of the city of Jerusalem is an epic story of change and maturity in a person’s life. He goes from normal, humble beginnings to a leadership position that offered him the role of king. His great love for what is right was the driving force behind whatever he did and the soldiers of the English Army greatly respected him and followed him into battle. In the movie he finds out his real father is Godfrey de Ibelin and that information is given to him as a way of making things right for Godfrey. Godfrey dies soon after they are introduced and he leaves young Balian with a strong charge. A charge that included the statement, “You are not what you were born, but what you have within yourself to be” Those words speak to the process of Sanctification that we Christians know is a huge part of our progress in the faith. Sanctification is the process of being set apart as holy. Another part of the definition is to be consecrated. To be consecrated is to be dedicated to a divine purpose. Balian didn’t know his purpose until he started moving toward Jerusalem. The very city he hoped to find peace and wisdom was the city he was destined to defend. And defend he did. Part of his defense of the city was to fortify the walls and prepare for large towers that the Muslims were going to use to allow their troops to enter the city over it’s walls. Before they brought those towers to the city though, the Muslims catapulted fireballs against the wall, to no avail. It wasn’t until they saw a weak spot in the wall that they were able to bust through and win victory and reclaim Jerusalem. The weak part of the wall resulted in the downfall of the entire city. As believers we are also set aside for holiness and consecrated to live a life that gains more and more holiness as we learn more and more from our relationship with God. In 1 Peter Chapter 1 Peter emphasizes the strength of God and how fortunate we are to have Him teaching us and empowering us. He goes on to say that we should continue to pursue the holiness of God as consecrated vessels. This act of following God becomes our pilgrimage and the lifestyle changes that take place move us from new, shy, untrained believers to seasoned, vibrant, spirit-filled saints that know God has a special purpose for their life. Peter brings it all into focus in verse 16 where he says, “God said, I am holy, you be holy.” He brings this statement into the scripture right after he warns not to slip back into things of our former life before Christ. In fact, he says, “Don’t slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now!” When scripture says we are a new creation and old things have passed away to make way for the new, that is exactly what has happened. We are not the same anymore, so don’t live like you are the same. When Balian went to Jerusalem one thing after another happened to direct his steps to greatness and he responded with wisdom to those challenges. In our pilgrimage, God puts us through many different steps to position us for greatness, and our continued growth as a believer helps us make the right choices in life to insure we take the right steps. Sometimes we progress quite rapidly and feel like we are through with the whole growth thing, but sanctification is an ongoing process of becoming more like God, so this journey will not end this side of heaven. We like Balian, have a longing, a searching in our hearts to be more. More like Jesus, more in line with God’s Word, more, more, more…. Is this a dissatisfaction with who we are? I believe it is and it is ok as long as our desire to honor God is at the heart of it. So what happens in the pilgrimage? God equips us and trains us to handle the bigger things in life and that is where the fort comes in. Evil is alway at our door, throwing one fireball after another to test our walls. It is our responsibility to make sure those walls remain strong and our continued quest for holiness keeps those strong walls in place. Also, we are always on the lookout for where the fireballs are coming from and always alert to the desperate moves of our enemy. God’s protection is real and we learn from Him all along the way as we handle one assault after another. We become seasoned fighters of the faith and instead of just fighting for our own direction we are put in positions of leadership to fight with and for others and offer our wisdom from our journey to help them build up their walls as well. In the movie, the weakness of one part of the wall is a glowing example to each of us to make sure all weakenesses in our lives are well fortified, because that is exactly where satan will attack to try to bring us down. Just remember you are consecrated, or declared sacred to our Lord and HIs protection is the ultimate change agent in the battle. Our reliance on His Holiness and His strength will be the winning combination in each battle and our wall will stand strong. He is the great commander.
In this great pilgrimage called life we see that as we draw closer to God in holiness, our life will take on a whole new level and as the battles confront us we learn to rely on our great commander and He fortifies our wall to protect us from the evil one. Not only to protect us, but to enable us to fight the good fight Paul wrote to Timothy about. A fight that is fought on our knees, in His power, and always vigilant. Remember Godfrey’s statement to Balian? “You are not what you were born, but what you have within yourself to be” We as believers are not what we are born, but what we are born again. This birth starts the growth process of sanctification and thus the battle begins.
The power of sanctification is a process that makes us much more able to fight the fight and win battle after battle. Remember, Balian took on the name of his father and his life changed from normal to great. When we take on the name of our Heavenly Father, we take on the greatness God has intended for all His children. Read the lesson: Fortify yourself and let the sanctification continue….
The Pilgrimage continues..