Big Guys, Little Punch
I’ve never been one to stand by and watch bullies get a pass. My greatest weapon has always been my mouth, and more recently my pen. There have been times, however that brute force seemed the most appropriate course of action. In the 7th grade, while living on the island of Crete, some friends and I were playing touch football outside of the community rec. facility. For some reason a very large boy appeared and took the football. No one moved, he was the resident bully. New to the island I wasn’t going to let him disrupt our game. I approached him and said, “give me the ball.” He just stood there and smiled. Knowing that talking would not resolve the situation, I drew my fist back, and with all my might, I struck him in the stomach. Nothing happed. He just stood there, for what seemed to be an enternity. Then he raised his fist and cold cocked me along side of the head. It knocked me out, and he left with the ball.
Fighting rarely solves anything, unless the Lord is fighting for you. This past Sunday I spoke about Joshua’s admonition to the people of Israel not to mix with the people of the land. He knew full well that marrying the Canaanites would lead the people to worship other gods. They would chose carved rock instead of the God who created the rock. They would eventually forget that God had fought for them and won, all for a pretty face.
God has fought for you. The battle is never easy. In fact some times it is down right painful. Yet, in it all God is fighting for us. Jesus has already overcome the world, and so can we. But we first have to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. That sounds like a cliche, but it’s not. When our thoughts and imaginations focus on the world, we are in a world of hurt. The world’s answer to life’s hardest questions is dictated by selfish desires and will always lead us down the wide path toward destruction.
What does it mean for God to fight for us? This is what Jesus told Peter, “ “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers,” Luke 22:31,32. Our battle is not physical, but spiritual, and for the most part that is the realm in which God battles on our behalf. Yet, the spiritual battle pours out into the physical. Depression, sickness, relational conflict, all are tied to our spiritual lives in some way. In it all, what Satan is after is our faith. If only he could get us to curse God and die. That is why Jesus told Peter that he would pray that he would not lose faith.
Once we overcome, through the power of the Spirit, we have an obligation to strengthen our brothers and sisters, who are facing the same struggles. We stand as we focus on Jesus and lean on the community of believers. Are you standing against the bully in your own strength? He’ll knock you out every time. Let the Lord fight for you, stand firm, encourage the brothers. I’m just saying.