He wasn’t looking for another story; he was already working on one. Then one night as he was finishing his writing, Michael J. Metz was given a new “assignment.” This wasn’t to be a “story;” it was to be “reality TV” in print! The assignment? To do battle with the enemy and receive a better understanding of how to keep the armor of God on past breakfast time. Come along for an interview with the author as he explains how he received his assignment and what he learned in the heat of battle.
MM: Thank you Michael for taking the time to do this interview. You’ve written a book that you describe as “reality TV in print” consisting of 16 “Battle Reports” each one focusing on an evil spirit which is Biblically based. Let’s start at the beginning. Why did God choose you to write this?
MJM: First, thank you for the opportunity to do this interview. I appreciate the chance to share how this book came about. I don’t know why God chose me. The only thing I can think of is that I was working on a full scale novel, “Justified,” and found myself thinking about when I make a pitch about the novel “Justified” and being able to say something like, “Yes, I have written a book…” So, when “Keeping The Armor” came to me I thought to myself, “Work on it for six months, throw some stuff together, and post it on the FaithWriters ebook store.”
MM: Is that what happened?
MJM: (chuckle) No! Not even close. The concept itself came complete. The Lord had clearly revealed what I was to do, “Reality TV in print. Cover episodes of temptation as they happen.” That was the assignment. So originally I had titled the book, “At The Front - Anatomy Of Temptation.“ All my writing for the novel “Justified” was being done at night when my wife was working and the kids were in bed; I was finding myself tempted to surf the net for things I, as a Christian, shouldn’t be looking at. So there was my first challenger, a spirit of seduction. Later I realized I had to write about who Jesus describes as the strongman. Before I know it, I’m into my third “Battle Report” getting to know these enemies; I’m thinking, “How am I going to keep the details about all of them straight?” Next thing I know I’m developing dossiers on each of them and then a workbook. That’s when I realized this was going longer than six months.
MM: So, it took on a life of it’s own in the order they‘ve been written.
MJM: I might otherwise say yes to taking on a life of its own; but that’s normally used for novels. This was no story. The events in these “Battle Reports” really happened. It’s more like events that continued to unfold than what I first thought. The Lord made that very plain as He continued to reveal things to me. That’s how I know this was from Him; I was ready to put this together and get it in the store, but He kept showing me things and having me experience events. And no, these events didn’t occur in the order they’ve been written. There is scripture throughout which arranges the “Battle Reports” into groups of two seting the theme of the “Battle Reports.” So I had to do some mixing and matching; plus there were some issues that seemed to flow better when I put them together.
MM: So, the way this “unfolded” for you, is that why your main character doesn’t have a name? Also, who is the main character talking to?
MJM: No, not because of that. The thing I had to remember was the assignment - report on temptation, as it happened. So, first person, present tense was the only POV that would provide the “it‘s happening now“ effect. As I was doing these I was envisioning myself talking with the reader; hoping the reader would become the main character. By putting in a name the events are happening to that character; I want the reader to be the “main character” and put their name in the events as they unfold.
MM: What is the workbook intended to accomplish?
MJM: Overall…mindset. To think like a soldier, like warriors, like…ninjas.
MM: That’s pretty lofty isn’t it?
MJM: Yes, so I have at least two things that could be considered lower rungs on the “ladder“ of training. First, as the title states, help us learn to keep the armor on. Second, help us learn the authority we have in Christ Jesus and that accessing that authority gives us power over the enemy. I still remember what Charles Stanley said in one of his messages, (I paraphrase) when the enemy gets you as an assignment are they happy and thinking, “I’ll be back in time for lunch at the club.” Or are they looking around to find who they can trade names with because they know who you are and don’t want to get beat up by the power and authority of the name of Jesus.
MJM: There’s a reason it’s called a workbook. I can’t stress it enough - as a body of believers, we’re weak. I dare you to do the workbook. This thing is hard, but military basic training is hard for a reason; to craft fighting warriors who know how to engage in battle. People who have a mindset to pursue until the enemy goes up in smoke. I love the smell of burnt devil in the morning - the smell of victory!
MM: You look excited as you say that. Are there certain parts of the book you find exciting?
MJM: Oh, now you have me cranked up! Yeah, first is “Battle Report 14.” This is where I start talking about our authority in Christ and accessing power to overcome the enemy. I was reminded of some scenes in “Lord of the Rings” where Aragorn is told to put aside the ranger and become who he was born to be. My observation is that most Christians have not become who they were born to be. So, I put a couple links of You Tube scenes in this “Battle Report.” Another exciting thing was the song that goes with the book. “Prayer Soldier” was written and produced by Jacob Jones. When he produced it he didn’t know I was writing “At The Front” and one day he asked me to listen to it. At about the second verse I asked him if I could include it with the book. I got excited, I was going to have a song included with the book - I wasn’t even thinking about that. And one other thing that excites me was the way the Lord orchestrated all this. I really didn’t have to go “pick a fight” with any of the evil spirits. The Lord allowed them to show up, I had my experience, and I wrote about it. I would think I was about finished and the next thing I know the Lord shows me some more. There’s one event like that at the end of the workbook when I speak about being filled with the Spirit. Awesome!
MM: What did you learn about spiritual warfare through all this?
MJM: (sigh) Hmm. I don’t know how to effectively use the armor; most warfare occurs in the mind; there is power in the name of Jesus - we just have to use it; it’s about mindset; and, this is a long process of training - we have an enemy who works 24/7 trying to cause me to stumble; I don’t want to make it easy. But in order to not make it easy I’m going to have to train, and train hard.
MM: Well, thank you for telling us about the book and your experiences in writing it. Where can a person find this book?
MJM: Just go to http://ebooks.faithwriters.com click, “Biblical Studies,” or put in my last name (Metz) in the search box then select “author.” Thank you for the opportunity to share.