So this morning after church, we went to pick up my husbands car at his parent’s house. Apparently over night, a few cars in the neighborhood got things stolen from them. And our car got our check book stolen from it. Not really a huge deal, but really annoying because it is my birthday, and the inconvenience of having to close our checking account, which means when we get our new account information, changing over all of our automatic payments.
We reported it to the police, who came, and my son Charlie was over the moon excited because he loves police officers. And on the way home, he made my husband call 3 different people to tell him about the police officer!
I do not have the same enthusiasm about this, because this guy stole more than just our check book, he stole joy on a day that should hold celebration. This got me thinking about another thief, another joy stealer. The thief that Jesus warns us about.
The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. John 10:10
Here is Jesus, flat out telling us the enemies scheme. And I mean it is true. This is his whole mission in life. His goal is to make you question if God is good, and make you doubt His promises. He thrives on making you feel guilty and unworthy of His love. His mission is to to take the fear that you had to overcome to follow Him and multiply it so you want to turn away from the path He has before you.
He wants to steal your joy, kill your peace, and destroy your faith. And sometimes he does it by making your pride look better than your purpose, by making disobedience seem like a gift, and by feeding you the lie that your way is higher than His way.
And this makes me angry.
But I come to give life, and life to the full. The rest of John 10:10
When bad things happen, it can be really easy to want revenge, want to jump to your own defense, and want to fight back. So what do we do here?
What does God want us to do in response to the attacks of the enemy?
So when Judas betrays Jesus, he took soldiers, temple police, the Pharisees with him with lanterns, torches, and weapons. In order to try to defend Jesus, those around ask Him if they should strike with a sword, but Peter doesn’t wait for Jesus’s response before cutting off the ear of the high priest’s slave.
Immediately Jesus commands Peter to put His sword away, telling him that anyone who takes up by a sword will perish by a sword. Oh, and then Jesus heals the slaves ear. Let that one sink in.
God doesn’t want us to respond to the ways of the world, with the ways of the world. He wants us to fight the good fight. He wants us to fight like we know who He is, and this is in direct conflict to the way our culture wants us to respond when the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
So how do you fight the good fight, when it can seem like all hell is breaking loose?
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
By getting on your knees. Begin to pray. Pray like no one is watching, but like God is listening. Take everything to Him in petition. And do it without cease in gratefulness and confidence in who He is. And only act when you hear Him say to move.
Combating the lies with Truth. You can only combat the lies with the Truth if you know the truth. And the best way to know the truth is make sure you are spending time in His word, every day. When you spend time in His word, you are continually reminded of who He is. And knowing who He is (faithful, loving, good, strong, true, powerful, mighty), can give us confidence in who we are as His precious child.
Letting praise be your warfare. One of my favorite accounts in the Bible is when Paul and Silas are in prison, and they begin singing hymns and praying to God. Other prisoners were listening in as the prison foundation began to shake, all the doors flew open, and and everyone’s chains came loose. (Acts 16: 25-26). This excites me. And what fascinates me here is that it doesn’t seem like they were asking God to get them out of prison. They were just praising.
Praise breaks chains. Fight your battles by praising Him, because when you praise Him, He frees you from the chains that hold you.
Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. Acts 16:26
Keeping your silence, and letting Him be your defender. Sometimes God will want you to speak up for yourself, and sometimes that battle is just too big, and He will ask you to be silent, and have faith, so that He can rise up as your defender. Because He is. And if you are in right standing with Him, you don’t need to say a word, for Him to speak on your behalf. He watches over all those who are faithful to Him, and protects the way of the righteous. (Proverbs 2:8)
And if He is your defender, you just need to be still, and know He is God. That is all.
By letting God, be God. Okay, so I think it a little funny that Peter drew his sword, and tried to defend Jesus… because well that is like trying to defend God. And Jesus wasn’t even like Thanks Peter for trying to defend me. No, Jesus doesn’t sugar coat things, at all. He tells Peter to put his sword away. This isn’t how we fight battles. Jesus had to go to the cross, in order to rise from the dead. It had to happen. Jesus tells Peter that too. This had to happen to fulfill scripture.
But I want to defend Peter for a second too. Later on in Acts Peter is in prison with some of the other apostles, because the Sadducees were jealous. Scripture doesn’t say if they were praying, or singing, but it does say that an angel of the Lord opens the door and let them out, telling them to go stand in the temple and tell people about this life. And as Peter was standing before the Sanhedrin he tells them We must obey God, rather than man. And that is what had gotten him in prison in the first place. Obedience, and boldness, and in response, God was God.
God will be God.
God will never lead you to do something that is against His nature. He will never lead you to do something that isn’t good, pure, lovely, and glorifying to Him.
He is your defender, you just need to be still, and know He is God. That is all. You don’t need to fight your battles when the One that stands victorious protects the ones who He calls righteous.
So I titled this “Fight Like A…”, because of that famous quote “Fight like a girl.” Did it catch your attention? But in truth, I don’t want you to fight like a girl. I want you to fight like a righteous child of God who knows who their Father is. He is the One who doesn’t need a defender. He just desires those who are faithful, who know He is God. Those who know Who fights their battles.
He is the One who gives life… to the full.