Berserker

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I want to be a Berserker for Christ.

What’s a Berserker? If you’ve seen Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, you should remember the army of elite super-orcs created by the fallen wizard Saruman. When these dark creatures attack the fortress of Helm’s Deep, the Berserkers are the first ones atop the castle wall. Equipped with light armour and a giant sweeping cleaver, these warriors have one purpose: attack. Positioned on the top rung of the siege ladders as they swing up toward the battlements, the Berserker is hungry to wreak havoc against the enemy.

Why do I think the Berserker is a good role model for Christians?

1. They are single-minded.

The Berserker knows their role and they are blinkered to everything else. They see the enemy and they start running, adrenaline pulsing through them, a terrifying war cry blasting from their lungs. Laying waste to the enemy is the only thing on their mind. In the Two Towers movie, one of Saruman’s Berserkers is tasked with delivering a flaming torch to ignite the gunpowder positioned beneath the walls of Helm’s Deep. Despite being feathered with arrows along the way, the Berserker doesn’t flinch in completing his suicide mission.

I want to have this single-minded approach to life, being wholely defined by and focused on my faith. Everything is secondary to the purpose and place God has prepared for me.

Hebrews 12:1, 2:

…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…

2. They are equipped for the job.

You won’t see a Berserker weighed down by heavy plate armour; it may provide significant protection but it slows you down. A Berserker isn’t going to gird themselves with a variety of weapons; they take their favoured tool of destruction and that’s enough. In fact, a Berserker is probably happiest when they strip down to a loin cloth, with their fists as their only weapon. The notorious veteran prisoner Charles Bronson is known for covering his naked body with grease before launching vicious attacks on his guards. Moral issues aside, this stripped-down approach helps him get the result he wants: havoc.

I don’t want to carry anything unnecessary with me as I stride into battle. The only armour, weapons, and supplies I need are those provided by my Lord. Anything else is surplus to requirement.

Philippians 4:12-13:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

3. They aren’t afraid to get stuck in.

Where will you find the Berserker on the battlefield? In the thick of it, drenched in blood, where the fighting is fiercest. If the Berserker is to achieve total carnage, they need to be surrounded by unwitting assailants foolish enough to get in their way. However, Berserkers aren’t always led by bloodlust; sometimes they leap into the fray because they have to protect others. When her fellow crew members are trapped by the inhuman reavers in the film Serenity, River Tam locks them behind the blast doors and faces the monsters alone. As the victim of a government experiment to create brainwashed child assassins, River knows that her unwanted skills are the only thing that can hold off the reavers. She might not survive, but that’s the price that needs to be paid.

I don’t want to shy away from getting stuck in, especially when it’s my responsibility to care for others. I want to stand up in the face of opposition and walk into the crossfire with my head held high. What’s the worst that can happen? I’m already dead to this world so I best start living like it.

Philippians 1:21-26

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Prayer: Lord, give me the strength to be a relentless force for holiness. Give me a passion for climbing the walls of the devil’s strongholds and leaving a bloody mess in my wake. Equip me with everything that I need and cut away anything that I don’t need. Let others take shelter in my shadow as the arrows of the enemy rain down, and show me who I need to love without counting the cost. Lord, I dream of the day when I see you face to face. Until then, just give me a target.

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