…Not without a Fight
There is a battle you are not fighting—don’t give up, don’t be afraid, don’t back down.
With my stomach in a knot, I remember dreading the final school bell each day. It meant I’d have to cross the street where he would be waiting. I really don’t know why he targeted me but he’d chest bump me, get in my face, and threaten me. It terrified me. I felt like running but didn’t because that would make me look wimpy to my friends.
Looking back at that situation, I wish I had confronted that bully instead of just passively taking his abuse or pretending it didn’t hurt when it really did. I felt like a coward. Every day over 160,000 students stay home from school to avoid being bullied.
You’re being bullied a lot more than you realize. Ephesians 6 tells us that when we see possible bullies among our peers, or even authorities like a verbally abusive coach or corrupt cop, we’re watching the wrong channel. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Dark powers of evil forces. Spiritual bullies. The devil himself. These are your real enemies.
So on what level are you struggling against the dark powers of evil in your life right now? Is it intense? Do you just have to get up an hour early or head to the bedroom an hour earlier to spend some quality time tuning into the Commander-in-Chief of the Lord’s army? Is your struggle constant—dropping bombs and firing flaming arrows so that your spirit looks like the 4th of July sky filled with never ceasing fireworks? Is your struggle here and there? Or maybe, life is pretty good and the biggest problem really isn’t some spooky spirit world but your Netflix account didn’t renew or your phone is acting up or you need to file your taxes?
“Take your stand against the devil’s schemes … so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground” (Ephesians 6:11,13).
Now is the day of evil. You will stand. But you must not run from the fight. You must not shrink with fear. You must not be deceived the the enemy’s lie that there’s nothing dangerous going on. You must not be distracted by the enemy’s diversion that your biggest problems are out there when they’re really in here. You must fight!
Every man is a warrior, but the choice to fight is his own. I backed down from a bully, and it made him stronger. And me weaker. I’ll never do that again.
God doesn’t ask you to win. That’s Jesus’ job. God doesn’t ask you to conquer Satan. That’s Jesus’ job. God doesn’t ask you to save people. That’s Jesus’ job. God asks you to fight. To get in the arena with the lions of your fears and to fight. To step into the fires of uncertainty and insecurity and to fight. To stare evil in the face and when it roars like the devil himself and to “put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand” (Ephesians 6:11).
Isaiah 59:17 tells us about God’s very own gear he uses for the battle against evil. “He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.” Do you see Jesus in those words of prophecy? The righteousness of his character protecting his heart, refusing to give up or give in. His helmet of salvation had wooden thorns before it had golden spires; there is no resurrection without a crucifixion and he did both for salvation. His garments were ripped and stripped, then new garments wrapped him tightly to be buried in the tomb where his death destroyed death and Satan. The Father’s zeal had had enough, and raised him from the tomb as a wounded hero. He won the victory for us. It is ours! But not without a fight.
A man had a recurring nightmare. He’d be chased by a pack of lions, baring their fangs, roaring, and eager to pounce. He’d run, and while running his dream would end. After years of this recurring nightmare he saw a therapist who told him next time to ask the lions who they were and what their purpose was. In his next dream he did that.
He stood, scared, while the lions came near. He didn’t move. They came closer and stopped. “Who are you and what do you want?”
Their leader replied, “We are your courage. Why do you keep running from us?”
There is a fight God wants you to fight. It may be your greatest fear, but if you are willing to stand strong it will become your greatest courage. There is a battle you are not fighting—don’t give up, don’t be afraid, don’t back down. God hasn’t given up. God isn’t afraid. God won’t back down. Fight the good fight. And victory will be yours.