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God Wants To Teach Us to Fight

What a paradoxical world we live in. The fight between conservatives and liberals plays out on TVs every day. We see school shootings and synagogue shootings, 297 in America this year (that’s almost one a day!) while violent crime has fallen over the last two decades.  On a global scale, we…
By Seth Barnes

What a paradoxical world we live in. The fight between conservatives and liberals plays out on TVs every day. We see school shootings and synagogue shootings, 297 in America this year (that’s almost one a day!) while violent crime has fallen over the last two decades. 

On a global scale, we are living in the most peaceful times in the history of the world. Violence has declined as democracy and literacy have increased.

Yet fear in America seems to be prevalent. People are eaten up with angst. We lock our doors and worry about our kids. 

If you are a Christian, what does Jesus expect of you when it comes to fighting? He said some apparently contradictory things. He began his ministry by saying, “I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” (Matt. 5:39)

And then he appears to give another perspective toward the end of his ministry. As he was preparing his disciples for his death, he said, “If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Swords are for fighting. So whatever his intention was, it’s safe to say that Jesus doesn’t expect us to be lapdogs.

The Old Testament is full of conflict. Apparently kings annually marched off to war in the springtime (2 Sam. 11:1). And while Jesus gave us a new covenant, we also see that God gave his people principles about fighting.

Throughout the Bible, we see God’s children fighting evil. Eph. 6 shows us that we are to resist evil and fight a spiritual battle.

God uses evil to train his people. In Judges 3:1-4 we see that a generation arose with no battle experience. And God used evil people to train them.

“These are the nations that God left there, using them to test the Israelites who had no experience in the Canaanite wars. He did it to train the descendants of Israel, the ones who had no battle experience, in the art of war. He left the five Philistine tyrants… They were there to test Israel and see whether they would obey God’s commands.” 

Traditionally men especially have had the role of protecting the family. But these days we neuter our men and ask our women to do the fighting. We turn men into couch potatoes content to watch others fight on TV.

And while violence may be declining, the need to fight to establish the kingdom is greater than ever. Jesus expects us to come against injustice and evil and fight it. We’re told in James that true religion is “caring for widows and orphans in their distress.”

It’s a paradox that so many would feel a passion for justice, but lack the courage to fight for it. The 4 million women caught in the sex trade are like widows in distress. UNICEF estimates there are 153 million orphans in the world. Who will practice true religion and fight for them?

And in your neighborhood, people are in desperate need of help. The family in America has never been in worse shape. More than 20 million children are growing up in a family without a father. 57% of African-American children are growing up in homes without a father. Who will fight for them?

We need to learn to fight for righteous causes. As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Too many of us have slid into a passive place. We need to recover the capacity to fight for what is right.

Where is evil impacting those you love? How has God trained you to fight it? Isn’t it time that you recognized that you are his response to a world in pain? He is waiting for you to fight for his children. Will you?

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