It is Time for the Fighter to Awaken in You

Tattooed man praying

Picture in your mind an elementary school bully. The one who tease you in front of your
friends, spreads embarrassing rumors, and steals things you had no plans of
giving up. I came across a bully like that as a kid.Boy with head down

To counteract it, I played my heart out on the football field. I wanted to prove
that I could play football like the best of them, even though I had never
played. I eventually upgraded my glasses into contact lenses so I’d look much
cooler. And I formed alliances so that I’d have one or two other friends if the
bully came to try to embarrass me again. We united under a common frustration of
being bullied.

Now imagine that bully is a tiny, non-sentient virus. That bully is making its
way around the world, indiscriminately causing people to cough, get a heightened
fever and sometimes die.

That bully caused your neighbor to lose his job. Your child to miss out on her
16th birthday party she’s been planning for two years. That vacation that was
going to fill your sails again. Your kid’s graduation ceremony.

Or maybe, if you’re not that fortunate like my friends in Rwanda, you are not
able to work, not collecting any magical government relief funds, and not able
to put rice and beans on the table. Your kids are starving — to death. You are
hopeless and unable to work. Your neighbor committed suicide, and your friend is
getting hooked on alcohol.

Wherever you find yourself in 2020, you’ve probably felt the effects of one
bully you can’t see – the coronavirus. Then there is another bully you can’t
see – Satan. The Destroyer.

If you’re like me, you were waiting for this nightmare to just pass over, like
other sicknesses eventually did. But this pandemic is not giving up so easily.
Jobs are not coming back so quickly. The stock market is doing well, but who
knows that it isn’t gearing up for another crash. Protesters seem to have
unlimited time to plead their cause, while rioters are taking advantage of the
situations.

I don’t care which side of the political fence you’re on. I love the variety of
skin colors God made smiles and handshakes. I know a lot of people are angry,
and sometimes I get angry too.

But the first thing that matters is this: do you know Jesus? You might get to
meet your Creator sooner than you think. You must decide: were your 575
megapixel eyes (yes, you read that right), your hands that can learn to play the
piano, hammer in a nail, or massage someone’s back created for a purpose? What
about your mind, which deciphers a colossal amount of sensory input every second
then takes action on that?

Close up of eyeOr perhaps these incredible inventions that you were
freely given were just a colossal, glorious accident that happened over an
unfathomable amount of time?

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and
Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

— Romans 1:20, NKJV

Without excuse! All the scientific journals from all the world’s evolutionary
scientists are not enough to cover you and grant you favor from God if you
denied Him on this earth. You must make up your mind, because you are without
excuse if you deny God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that
God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

— Romans 10:9, NKJV

Those who are already with Christ, thanks for bearing with me on that. Because
this next part is for you. I want you to fight more. But first, find the right
battle to fight.

Matthew 24:12 speaks to the End Times, and says:

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

If you have looked at the news after March 2020, you will see clear lawlessness,
and an “increase of wickedness”.

It is not mine to say if these are the End Times. Maybe they are, maybe life on
earth will go on for another 1,800 years without seeing Christ’s return. So how
do we live today?

Jesus’ fighting started with the Word of God and prayer. He fought Satan’s
temptations by quoting scripture He had memorized. He soothed his deeply grieved
soul through communion with His Father, in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane
(Matthew 26:36-46). His disciples could not keep watch with Christ for even an
hour before sleeping. They chose what was comfortable — sleep — over going to
battle in the prayer room. I have literally done the same, sleeping past an
alarm when I had committed to praying early morning with a friend over his
addiction to pornography.

Christ’s fight didn’t end there. Soldiers coming to arrest Jesus? Quick, draw a
sword and cut off a soldier’s right ear. Let’s rally and FIGHT and keep our
King Jesus from being taken!

This was not the time for a physical battle. Jesus surprisingly said, “No more
of this” and touched the soldier’s ear and healed him. He made right what His
disciples did without His permission; healing and surrendering to the plans of
His Father.

There was a time for fighting (David fought plenty for the LORD and His people),
but there was also a time for going with the flow, so to speak. Through
communion with God in prayer, Christ knew how to act.

Well then, what action can we take? The disciplines to learn are as follows:

Prayer

Man praying standing upDo not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of
God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds
through Christ Jesus.

— Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV

If prayer is not a consistent part of your day, start small. You don’t become a prayer
warrior in one day. Try praying for 2 minutes before or after something you already
do by habit, such as stretching in the morning. Get into a rhythm of doing that,
and see where your new habit takes you from there.

Self-control

Proverbs 25:28, 2 Timothy 1:7

Mean with Ice CreamThere was a time a few months ago where it seemed I could not stop eating ice
cream. I steadily consumed news that stressed me out, watched TV shows because
there seemed to be not much else to do, and softened on my exercise routine
because the gym was suddenly closed.

That was fine for April of 2020, but not for August of 2020. I am a leader of
six children. Now is the time to fight back: lose the weight I had gained, firm
up the muscles I have let get flabby, make exercise that is fun to me a part of
my daily routine (biking, tennis, and occasional running). I do this so that I
can continue to lead God’s people (my children) and positively influence those
around me.

Generosity

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help
the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is
more blessed to give than to receive.’

— Acts 20:35, ESV

Man working to move coffee bagKey words here: working hard, help the weak, give. We have found some incredible
opportunities to give, and guess what? We have gotten more physical blessing to
fill any gaps we had created. Giving doesn’t always work that way, it can cost
more than we expected to give. But in light of hard work, saving and stewarding
the physical blessings God gives, there has been plenty for my family and other
families to eat and be sheltered from some of the storm.

Think about what you have extra of. Time? A computer you aren’t using? Money?
Find ways to joyfully tithe and give in excess, and see how God showers
blessings of joy, peace and yes – perhaps even physical blessings back to you.

Outreach

In the past 3 years, I have had one neighbor commit suicide, one neighbor die
from cancer leaving his family with high-school age children, one neighbor
family divorce, and another neighbor flounder with adult relationships. Several
neighbors do not know the hope of Jesus. So it is right for me to hole up in my
house binge watching TV shows while my neighbors go without hope?

No, it is not. LORD, please forgive me. LORD, please give me opportunities to
share the hope and joy I have in You. LORD, please let my fire not be subtly
snuffed out by entertainment and ice cream.

LORD, awaken my heart to see as You do. Awaken my heart to be free from idolatry
and slavery to that which You would not have me be slave to.

Love, Understood by Action

Woman who cooked a mealIn my mind, love is most visibly and powerfully painted on someone’s life when there is action behind it.
Giving of my time, energy, money in ways that most likely
will never return to me.

Start tiny, make it a persistent habit of giving. Give a dinner to someone
tired, give your time one evening to someone lonely, give some money to a group
like Open Doors and Christian Aid Ministries, where a meager \$30 can feed a
family for a month. Pretty incredible returns considering \$30 feeds just two
Americans for one night of food delivery!

I’m not saying food delivery is bad. I am saying that opportunity to bless those
around you in the name of Jesus is all around you. And you may be surprised at
the eternal fruit it produces.

Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make
friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an
eternal home.

— Luke 16:9, NLT

Are you up for the challenge? I’d love to hear ideas and stories in the comments
below of how you or your friends are putting love into action for others in
2020!

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

— 2 Corinthians 10:4, NIV

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