In the movie, “The Princess Bride”, there is a sword fight between Inigo Montoya and – who he was then called – the Dread Pirate Roberts (aka Westley). The duel starts of slow, as you would expect, while the two swordsmen feel each other out, in terms of skill.
Inigo starts dueling with his left hand, even though he’s not left handed, as does Roberts. In the middle of the fight, Inigo admits he’s actually right-handed and begins fighting better. Roberts, in turn, admits to the same and, as the writing goes, he asserts his superiority with the sword and knocks Inigo’s sword out of his hand.
Inigo falls to his knees in submission. He had no other recourse. It was his only choice. And in that moment, he was defeated mentally, emotionally and physically. He apologized to his dead father for his failure, but that’s neither here nor there.
He gave himself up.
Rather than killing him, Roberts simply knocks him out with the handle part of the sword. Inigo falls down, face first and Roberts runs to his next challenge, in pursuit of Buttercup.
I enjoy watching that movie, especially on airplanes. I tend to be an aisle flyer. I like the aisle seat for the leg room. When the flight attendants or passengers aren’t walking up and down the aisle, I can stretch out my legs.
But, that’s neither here nor there.
That movie is a classic and much beloved by fans since its inception. Classic story line and dialogue along with memorable characters – INCONCEIVABLE – it’s just an enjoyable movie to watch.
When I am flying, in my aisle seat, and I watch it during the flight, there will be people behind me who will watch it as well. It doesn’t matter that they can’t hear the sound, they know the dialogue in their heads.
“As you wish” or “Inconceivable” or “Mawiage (marriage)” come to mind as memorable lines. But after watching it for the umpteenth time on a recent flight, the Inigo submission scene has been on my mind a lot lately.
About 5 or 6 years ago, I heard God say, “Go Lower”. Now, when I say heard, I do not mean audibly. There was no audible voice to be heard. When I say heard, I mean like a thought inside of me, only there was a tremendous peace around the words.
I don’t quite remember what I was doing when I “heard” this, but I recall being in a space mentally and spiritually where I was right where God wanted me to be. At the time, I was in a season of service. I was serving the Lord in my local church doing what I love – singing to God – as part of the worship team.
Even as I think about it now, I FEEL those words resonate inside of me.
My first instinct upon hearing, “Go lower” was to go to my knees, which I did. I believed, however, that wasn’t just an encouragement for that moment. I believe it was a command – or a mantra, if you will – for my life.
Since that time, I have often been reminded of those words, “Go lower”.
When I have written a post that I know came from God – I mean, let’s be real….I’m not that great of a writer – I hear, “Go lower”. When God uses me to encourage someone with words He gives me, “Go lower”. When He prompts me to bless someone or meet their need, “Go lower”. Or, even, when I have sung a song to Him on stage that I know God uses to bless and minister to others, “Go lower”.
Fresh off a week-long worship conference conducted by my spiritual mentor and mama, Cheryl Salem, I was reminded of those words, “Go lower”, again.
It was a time of refreshing and renewal. The trip was actually at the last minute in terms of attending and traveling, but God made a way for me to go. Challenged, stretched, blessed and being a blessing all rolled into one week, not to mention singing and praising and worshiping with others…we were all in one accord…it was a heaven-sent experience.
That description doesn’t do it justice….but….”Go lower”.
And so, as I’ve been meditating on it, I began to ask God and myself, “What does that look like? – I mean, I think I know, but I wanted to flesh that out with Him. There are three ways – technically, four, which we will explore – that I have chosen to go whenever I am reminded of the words, “Go lower”. They are, Going Lower:
Mentally and Emotionally
Going lower mentally and going lower emotionally go hand-in-hand for me. Going lower mentally is a conscious choice. I think about what it means to go lower and immediately my mindset changes.
Provided I am open to it.
By nature, I am a sinner. We are all sinners. Since the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden, we have a nature in us that chooses to go against God. Even if it’s not what God wants or is His best for us in any and every situation, our nature can lead us to do things our own way.
We can be self-centered, prideful, arrogant, stubborn, self-righteous – well, you get the idea. Our natural, and often first, instinct is to think of self, first, in whatever way that looks. It’s how we think. That’s the way of this world we live in. And that’s why in Romans 12:2 it says,
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
We have to renew our mind – our way of thinking – and the only way to do that, in the ways of God, is through His word. It’s not in our nature to “go lower”. We have to make that mental choice, through the renewing with His word, to “go lower”.
More on that in a minute.
What about emotionally?
Well, in our society today, when we think of emotions, we think of our hearts, right? I think of “heart” songs that are full of emotion: “My Heart Will Go On”, “Heart of Glass”, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, “Harden My Heart”, “Unbreak My Heart”, “Heart and Soul”, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” or the classic, “Achy Breaky Heart”.
Yes, I’m a girl of the 80s music scene, so there’s a few 80’s classics in there.
I also think of it in our words: I love you with all of my heart. My heart is broken (crushed or hurting).
The University of Rochester Medical Center has studied the relationship between our heart and emotions. They said, “Since ancient times, the heart has been a symbol of our emotions. But scientists have uncovered a physical link between emotions and heart health.”
They go on to mention the relationships between anger, anxiety, depression, fear and how it puts stress on our bodies, which causes our hearts to work harder, affecting our blood pressure and heart rates. All of which puts that organ under a lot of pressure.
You can Google or search for other studies or research on the relationship between the organ in our body, the heart, and our emotions. All of which directly relates to what is in our mind. There is plenty of research out there on it, but I have this question for you:
Sounds a lot like what we are thinking (mental) is directly related to what we feel (emotional), doesn’t it?
The first thought that entered my mind when hearing “Go Lower” was the physical act of going lower. As a Christian, we often hear or talk about bending down on our knees. It is an act of submission to the Lord.
Thinking about this literally for a moment. Lia Martin, on the website biblestudytools.com, wrote, “Kneeling isn’t the easiest action. It takes effort and requires a surrendering of selves.”
Going back to The Princess Bride for a moment, Inigo Montoya realized he was beaten. He was weaponless, having lost his sword during the battle. He believed he was going to now die at the sword of Dredd Pirate Roberts, right? In an act of surrender, he fell to his knees.
But, that isn’t the only physical way of going lower. There’s also standing with hands up in the air. Or, laying face down. That’s what Shimei son of Gera did in 2 Samuel 19 when David returned to Jerusalem as king, after the death of his son Absalom, in battle. Absalom had schemed his way behind his father’s back to steal the hearts of the people and, the throne.
When David was fleeing from Absalom, Shimei was the one shouting curses at the king. Shimei was of the house of Saul, the king before David. Shimei looked at David as a defeated man and thought he was getting what he deserved for what (he thought) David did to Saul.
He was wrong. And upon David’s return to Jerusalem, the Bible says in 2 Samuel 20 that Shimei fell down before the king, admitting his sin and to aid in David’s return to the city. One translation says he “fell prostrate” before David.
Prostrate, lying down, face first.
Have you ever done that before? I have. It’s okay when you’re at home because you know exactly how clean your floor is. But, when God leads you to lay prostrate before Him elsewhere??? Oh boy. I’ve laid down without thinking before, but I’ve also laid down praying, “Please God let this floor be clean!”
On BillyGraham.org, it says, “The important thing is not our physical posture when we pray, but the attitude of our hearts.”
And that leads us to our final way of “going lower”.
What I have learned over the last 5-6 years about going lower, is that it is a mental and emotional choice which prompts a physical action to align with our spiritual well-being. When all of those things align, going lower is an act of submission.
Jesus displayed the greatest example of submission by going to the cross on Calvary for us. He was crucified to make atonement for our sins. Sins which separated us from God, Father. Prior to the cross, and prior to His arrest, He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. The book of Luke, chapter 22 tells us,
39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (ESV)
He knelt down and prayed and He said, “not my will, but yours, be done”. One translation says it like this, “having fallen on his knees”. That phrase right there is Strong’s #5087 and it’s the Greek word, tithémi, which, when you dig further means, “to put down, lay down” or it also means “to bend downward” as if kneeling.
Before going to the cross, Jesus knelt down. He prayed to God. He knew what was He was on the earth for – to die for others – yet He was still a man. He aligned his mental, emotional, physical sides with the spiritual because it was what was required.
It was a complete act of submission.
Click below to watch on YouTube
Knees Down, Prayers Up
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