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Stockdale Paradox and Bulldog Faith

In the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins, page 83, there is a topic called the Stockdale Paradox. It's names after Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale. During the war in Vietnam he accomplished many heroic deeds and developed systems of survival, many of which were mental, that helped his fellow POW's survive the long imprisonment. Jim Collins defines the Stockdale's approach as a paradox because it does two seemingly opposite things.

The Stockdale Paradox
Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties.
AND at the same time:
Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality/situation, whatever they might be. 

Stockdale noticed, ironically, that it was the optimists that died of broken hearts and didn't make it out of the POW camp at the end. But wait, didn't the first part of this say retain faith that you will make it out? Yes! But Stockdale's faith was determined, aggressive, and persistent, but it was not fanciful. It was the ones who said: "Ah... We'll be out by Christmas..." Then it would come and go, "Ah... We'll be out by Easter..." It would come and go. So many failed hopes caused a breaking of their spirits. 

The bible says it this way: 
Proverbs 13:12
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

What happened was that the faith of those men was based on a wish but not a hope. Hope is concrete and eager expectation. Hope not based on the Word of God is foundation-less and useless. So when people make things up in wishful thinking they create a false hope/expectation. This then creates a false let down. They create their own disappointment. They are sitting there expecting God to do something He didn't promise. When he fails to fill their plans, they feel disappointed and "Loose Faith".

This happens all the time in Christian circles. I just know God is going to do such and such by this Friday. Then Friday comes and goes and they have one more occasion where God didn't meet their expectation. Was this God's fault? No! They usually didn't go to God in prayer about this at all, unless it was to have him bless the plan they came up with after the fact. When they did go to God in prayer they often came up with ideas and took the first one that floated through their mind and stamped it "God".

They didn't take the time to find that still small voice on the inside, the one with absolute peace. Because they didn't, they feel a certain sense of uneasiness always in the back of their mind, taunting them, "It's not going to happen", and of course it doesn't because it wasn't the Word of the Lord in the first place.

The Stockdale Paradox embodies the difference between that limp pseudo faith and the real deal. Faith founded by The Word and Prayer, where you know that you know that you know that you know... etc... that God said it, that settles it, it's coming to pass!

Bulldog Faith! Aggressive, Persistent, Determined! One could say: Stockdale Faith... That is the kind that wins battles and changes lives. You hold on as long as it takes. How long do I have to stand for this? Until it comes to pass. How long is that? Until you don't have to stand anymore. It's circular. There is no other option. You stand, in Faith on The Word, KNOWING.

Now if there is no knowing, than you aren't standing on The Word. Getting in The Word and in the Prayer closet with Holy Spirit until you have the answer, then stand. That's it. That's the whole battle of faith in a nutshell. If you haven't got the standing order first, you are standing in vain. If you have the standing order than you stand on that order, and you keep that order before your eyes day and night so that you may observe to DO (and NOT DO what it says not do) all that is written in there.

I came across this article and I couldn't stop reading this paragraph. It's been rolling around in me for days and I keep picking it up again and re-reading it over and over.

KCM BVOV Magazine January 2012 Pg 31
"Even though angels go to work as soon as you  speak words of faith, it usually takes a while to see the results. Sometimes days, months, or even years may pass with no visible evidence at all that you're any closer to receiving your manifestation than you were when you started. Then, suddenly, in a moments time the angels will finish the job. Your faith will become sight and you'll have what you believed for."

Then Holy Spirit said inside of me: "That is what the Stockdale Paradox is really about!"

I can play connect the dots... Faith is the substance of things expected! Not just believing. Faith is the literal substance of things not seen. It's the spiritual building block. And this is the piece I've been missing. Over the years I've done some things right and some things wrong. Getting into agreement with my Wife Flavia about moving out here to Texas was an amazing experience. I have no doubt that she carried the brunt of the physical and spiritual preparation, but I've learned that agreeing with her get's the job done! I just need to remember that! (I love you my Grace!).

I've also learned some things not to do. Like foolishly breaking your glasses at a Benny Hinn meeting because I thought would somehow ensure my healing. We'll, there is nothing wrong with Holy Spirit or Benny Hinn, I just didn't prepare in the least to receive from him, wasn't truly expecting anything to happen but wishing it would. I was like those young men in the POW camp. I was wishing it would come to pass, but didn't really have any conviction that it would. There is a knowing, or lack thereof, deep down on the inside that comes with real faith. I've experienced that with other faith projects, like the move out here, but it wasn't there that day. I'd nearly given up wishing that I might not need glasses someday until my son started prodding my faith. "Daddy, your healed, when are you going to stop needing glasses?!" From the mouth of a 6, now 7 year old, I am brought back to attention. Maybe it's time I pick that faith project up again, but this time.... This time I get before God in the Word and Prayer and wait until I have a Standing Order!

What is your Standing Order? What have you heard from God that you know that you know that you know and you have the chapter and verse to back it up and the Word of the Lord verbatim from prayer and you have done all to stand and you you stand therefore?

Winston Churchill has said in his famous speech Peroration:
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the new world, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Face the brutal facts, if you don't have faith for project X than admit it! But don't say "Oh well, guess that's it!" No, no, no... face the facts. Pray about what God would have you do, that will always be based on where you are in your faith walk, then keep meditating on The Word day and night, building your faith by praying in tongues and meditating on the Word. Then there will come a day where that project that seemed so impossible looks like it's just as easy and eating a pie. Nothing on the outside changed, it was the inside that needed changing. In the meanwhile God will meet you at your current level of Faith too causing you to prosper in your various assignments along they way as you believe for better.

Many times someone believing to be healed from the "Incurable" resists going to the doctor in some misguided attempt to call it faith. If the The Lord said not to go, fine don't. But if you decided not to go because you were afraid it wouldn't be in faith, than your not going was done in fear and has the opposite effect. The Lord may very well instruct you to go, and receive the medication by faith until you have built your spirit to receive the rest from Him. In fact, if circumstances have any effect on your belief than it's not faith, because faith is unseen.

Once you have the Word on a subject... you can stand Prevailing on the inside, despite your circumstances.

Darrell G. Wolfe

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Darrell's Reading List


Here are some books I've been reading lately:
  • Hacker: The Outlaw Chronicles (here) by Ted Dekker (Author). The story of a young Hacker girl, who went on a wild adventure into the supernatural realm beyond trying to save her mom, but saved her self too in the process.
  • Saint: A Paradise Novel (here) by Ted Dekker (Author). He's an assassin, or is he? He finds a secret to his past that unlocks supernatural abilities, at a cost.
  • For a full list of all my book suggestions, see my Amazon Store.

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