Friday, February 09, 2007

pick your fights

Scripture likens the life in God and the Christian, or Christ-following life in this world, to be a fight. Paul calls Timothy, and really the rest of us with him to fight the good fight of faith. And other passages make it clear that this is part of our identity and posture as God's people in Christ, in this world. Not at all the Crusader kind of faith that actually kills enemies. But the faith bringing God's revolution of love and truth through the kingdom of God come, in Jesus.

I find much of life involving all kinds of struggles. And at times, battles. Battles in a mostly inward sense. Along many fronts. Sometimes they seem to hit us from no where. Other times they are just now here, part of what we're working through for a season in our lives. They can be concerning issues of contending for the faith, together and in this world (without being contentious). And they can be on moral issues, personal, that can spill over into the lives of others. Jesus did not give us, in the model "Our Father" prayer, the line, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil", for no reason at all.

We need to pick our fights. To know, in love, when to cease and desist (just avoid it). To maybe engage a matter in a more subtle, indirect way, over time, that in the end, can be much more helpful, both for those we're trying to help, as well as ourselves. And we need to know what can throw us for a loop. What we can do, or not do, to avoid that. Some fights are just completely unnecessary.

Take, for example, David's tryst with Bathsheba. He went where his eyes shouldn't have gone. He gave in and fulfilled his lust. And the battles that occurred after that, really went on for years and years. God in his grace forgave a repentant David. But the aftermath ended up disastrous, surely, for a number of David's children. And probably beyond.

We're in a fight. In a struggle. To love God and live in his truth, in the community of his people in mission to the world. Let's stay in the good fight. Let's devote ourselves, our strength and our all, to the good fight of faith and love, as we seek to follow Jesus together. We need to fight hard and get out of wrong battles. Do what's necessary. But go on to the good fight of faith God has for us, together, in Christ.

How about you? What would you add here from your thoughts or experience?

4 comments:

L.L. Barkat said...

I find that the Enemy has a good tactic... get those Christians involved in skirmishes, especially in their families and congregations. When we are fighting the "wrong fights," as you say, what energy have we left over for the "right" ones?

So, I pray for peace in my own relationships, I pray for wisdom and grace.

andre said...

Ted

David didn't fight where it mattered most. He knew how to wage war on the battlefield but on that particular occasion, he failed to do it in his heart. It's sobering....he probably thought of himself as a proven warrior and successful king.

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Great and important point.

I think it's important for us to be aware of this. In all kinds of ways we can be tripped up there. Thanks!

Ted Gossard said...

Andre, Good words. When we're not working at fulfilling God's calling in our life, we're in dangerous territory. Oftentimes, though I always look forward to and like vacations, I am glad to get back into the grind, when it's all said and done. I'm getting better. But it's easy for me to drift from the routine that helps me, in God, each day.

Though I do think I'm learning to enjoy and get more benefit out of such rest stops.