I don’t remember which of the kids was studying family crests, but as they went through them, we decided our family motto is “Die but never yield” because it speaks to our family’s core attribute. I’m not sure which side or sides of the genetic tree it comes from but, let’s face it, our family is exceptionally hard-headed; I mean insanely hard-headed.
So, thinking about our motto led me, of course, to Scotland and the battle of Bannockburn, which led me to this passage from the poem called “Battle of Bannockburn“:
Countless banners floated gaily,
Trumpets sounded loud and long,
As that glorious host advanced –
Full a hundred thousand strong.
Face to face those hostile armies
Looked across the combat field;
Every Scot’s heart echoing proudly,
Do, or die, but never yield.
How easily I relate to that poem. Bring ’em on, I say. Unfortunately, it’s easier to fight a battle with an army you see lined up across a field from you than it is to fight a war of attrition. Sniper shots, booby traps, IEDs and such. That wears an army down.
It is rarely the big sin that destroys us
For Christians, it is rarely the big sin that destroys us. Instead, it’s the constant grinding on our weaknesses that brings us low. I read someplace that Satan’s first attack upon a Christian is rarely a big sin – adultery, murder, theft, and so forth. No, he wears a Christian down with small transgressions, fears, and impure desires. After the Christian has compromised, then the big sin is natural, the one that is family ending, career-ending, reputation ending; the big sin is easy for the defeated Christian.
And, to be sure, many of us have been brought low at some point, perhaps at many points, in our lives. It’s when we fall that we must remind ourselves, “Do, or die, but never yield.”
Falling isn’t a failure. Not getting up and continuing the advance is a failure; that is yielding. Only if we don’t get up, only then should we be ashamed. That’s why the passage in Isaiah 50:7 (ESV) is so important to me. It says, “But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.“
We need to “set our face like a flint.” No matter what the enemy throws at us or what self-inflicted wounds we cause, we must always get up. We must advance; die but never yield.
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