Learn to Fight: God Likes a Good Fight

God likes a good fight. That God is not opposed to fighting should be readily understood by all who believe Scripture is the very word of God, as he has in the past called his people to war, acting as his agent of justice and wrath. In the New Testament he calls his people to war even more frequently, but on a spiritual level. We wage war against blasphemous ideology and idolatrous thought. We fight against our own sin, for the cause of Christ and the good of the church with the weapons of Scripture, prayer and love. In fact the whole of the Christian life is likened to a fight. To be clear, I don't think God likes fighting, but that he does like a good fight. One for truth, to protect others, and grant freedom to the oppressed. Fighting is necessary in our fallen world. When we fight in the ways God commands we are following the example of our Savior who delivered us from evil. "Men who follow Jesus Christ, the Dragon Slayer, must themselves become lesser dragon slayers. The Christian life is in no way pacifistic. The peace that will be ushered in by our Prince will be a peace purchased with blood." (Douglas Wilson, Future Men) However, we should be clear that while God calls his people to fight, he is the one who matches up opponents, puts together the "fight card," and gives us the proper strategy. I feel the need to say that because many of those who will quickly "amen" my first paragraph are not skilled fighters as much as they are bullies who are looking for any opportunity to "throw down." These are people who like fighting more than what they are supposed to be fighting for. They are like Satan, walking around looking for someone to devour. They do not represent the character of a good professional fighter, nor that of a good soldier, and certainly not the person of Jesus.

My wife and I are working to make sure all of our children know how to fight. Yes, physically as well as spiritually. This is important to us because we believe our children must be willing and able to defend themselves and others. Some kids are willing, but unable - and they get a beating. Others may be able, but lack courage. We want our kids to have both the will and the skill. I cannot trust their peers, or even adults, to step in to stop a fight, and there may be times when there is simply no one else around to help. On top of this, we are convinced that justice requires someone to step up and into the mix in order to protect the innocent. But, learning to fight well requires much more than knowing how to strike, kick, and roll. It begins with character development. To fight well our kids will need to have a clear understanding of right and wrong, while learning discipline and respect. They need to know what is worth fighting for, as well as when they need to simply walk away. Why must we fight? When must we fight? How should we fight? All of this is important, and it's why we started our kids a few years ago in an old-school form of martial arts that emphasizes courtesy, respect, self-control, and justice. From there they are branching out and learning other disciplines.

Christians, God calls us to fight an intense spiritual battle. The book of Jude was written to remind the church to fight against false gods and gospels that seek to lure us away from the truth. To fight well demands that we are armed with more than weapons, but also with godly character. You will be confronted with the need to fight external and internal dangers. Much of your fighting will be against your own sin. I hope you will fight well; not with a triumphalist attitude that glories in giving another a beat-down and celebrates your own strength, but with an attitude of humble dependency on God for the strength only he can provide. But remember this; God does not call you to fight alone. You will only fight well when you train and fight together, as the church.

For more on "learning to fight" check out our sermon series through the book of Jude this fall at Redeemer Fellowship.