(This is Part 3 of our devotional series, “Fighting Dirty”.)
Good morning, peeps!
“I’m not teaching you to start a fight, but you better finish it.”
My pops spoke those words to me when I told him of a conflict I was having in high school. This was one of the few conversations we had about anything and I only did it because I wanted to make sure we were cool. I would get in trouble for random stuff and I wasn’t taking my chances with this. Nothing would be worse than getting into a brawl at school only to come home to a whuppin’ because I got into one. That would be so messed up. So, I brought it to him because I was looking for his permission to fight. While he couldn’t encourage me to just go in swinging, he did tell me to defend myself… and I’d better win or I’d get a whuppin’ when I got home. Geez.
Thank God for therapy.
The kids in my household were not raised to be passive or aggressive. We were raised to be observant. This kept us out of a lot of trouble. By sitting back and watching things unfold, you knew when to fight and how to fight. There are times you just walk away because honestly, the last bag of hot Cheetos ain’t really worth a scuffle. Not for real. And when it came down to actually defending yourself, you knew whether to fight with your fists, your words, or your actions. And once you knew, you did it. We didn’t back down from nothing.
“I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” – Romans 7:21-24
(I promise you, I love how God speaks. I thought when He prompted me to do this devotional series, all we would be talking about is the war within our members – the daily tussle with our flesh. I mean, look at our base scripture. Apparently, He wants to talk about all kinds of stuff.)
“Why do you think you ain’t gotta do nuthin’, Deone?” — God.
…and that is exactly what He spoke into my heart – jacked up grammar and all. (Don’t tell me God can’t speak in a ‘now’ language, as lazy as it can be.) This was the response to my “God, I surrender this fight to You. I’m stepping back.” prayer this morning and I’ll be honest with you, I think I caught an attitude. I could use a bit more sensitivity and LOVE right now, God. He had to say it that way. I hate to admit it, but if He had come to me with (cue the cherubs singing), “My child. You still have to do something.”, I would have went back to sleep. He knows when it’s time to sit back and observe and when it’s time to fight, and His response was a call to arms. Oh, I know what you’re thinking… “The battle is not yours, it’s the Lord’s.” Uh huh. “Turn it over to Jesus.” Mmhmm. Yep. Stop It.
You have to do something.
We love to quote all of the accounts in the Bible where God showed up and showed out. The Old Testament is full of ‘em. Um, Gideon and the 300, the standoffs between Moses and Pharaoh, David and Goliath – especially, David and Goliath. Let’s park right there. Do you know how David won that fight? Through the strength of the Lord. Hold up! Wait a second! I already know you’re thinking, “See, I told you! The battle was the Lord’s!” It was…but it was fought through David. And in order for it to be fought through David, DAVID HAD TO BE THERE.
You have to show up.
Let me help you real quick with the word ‘surrender’. Surrender is not the same as forfeit. When we don’t even show up for the battle, that’s what we do – we forfeit. When you say “I surrender all”, know what that means. It doesn’t mean you plant a stake in the front yard with a white scrap of fabric on it, grab a lawn chair, and sit your butt down. Um, no. Surrendering to Jesus means you are surrendering to His direction and more often than not, His direction is SHOW UP. How was David victorious? He showed up. He was there. He may not have started the fight – he sure didn’t go there to fight – but he sho-nuff finished it. With God. And none of that would’ve happened if he hadn’t showed up.
We lose so many battles because we don’t even step onto the battlefield. No wonder we feel defeated all of the time.
This just popped into my head. I told you I have the attention span of a gnat. Squirrel!! My pastor loves to say that 90% of life is just showing up. And there it is. You have to step onto that battlefield. Whether it’s through prayer, prayer then action, prayer, fasting then action – whatever the combination – you have to show up. You want to be victorious? Show up! Have you ever gone to defend someone in a fight and they weren’t even there themselves? I have and it sucks. The next conversation we had, I said “The least you could’ve done was show up. I was there to fight for you.” You want God to fight for you? He will. He will be there. Where will you be? Have a great day.