Becoming a Christian means putting up your dukes! We are called to walk in the footsteps of the following famous fighters:
- When Mary told Gabriel, “be it done according to your word” (Luke 1:38), she knew she was in for a fight. She wondered if even Joseph would stand by her. Well, he did and their struggle eventually forced them into Egypt as refugees. After Jesus was born, a man named Simeon told Mary, “a sword will pierce even your own soul” (Luke 2:35), but she stayed in the fight. She also knew the son she bore was in for a fight that would involve scattering the proud, dethroning rulers and exalting the humble (see Luke 1:51-52).
- When John the Baptist confronted Herod Antipas for unlawfully marrying his own brother’s wife, he proved he had a faith that fights.
- When Jesus told prominent civic and religious leaders in Jerusalem, “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44), he was putting up His spiritual dukes. They fought back too. When He drove the moneychangers and merchants out of the Gentile court of the Jerusalem temple with a whip, His fighting faith was clear to all.
- When Peter heard a rooster crow for the third time, he regretted that his faith had been too weak to fight. Forgiven, he was restored to fighting form and his preaching pulled no punches. Soon after Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter brazenly preached to those who had preferred Barabbas to Jesus, “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.” (Act 3:14-15). Peter was thrown in jail but thousands believed and were added to the church. A ferocious fight was coming for them too.
- A fighting faith got Stephen called on the carpet before the Sanhedrin where he told his judges they had “uncircumcised hearts” (Acts 7:51). Those were fighting words to them. He may have lost that round but he sure won the fight.
- Paul called on believers to don God’s armor for battle, not to show it off in public parades but “to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). God’s armor (truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the word of God and prayer) are essential for the good fight. Later, Paul summed up his own life in ministry as a “good fight” and Timothy understood that following in Paul’s footsteps would pull him into a lifelong battle too. If needed, Paul could write feisty letters as well.
- In the book of Revelation, John envisioned a beast making war on the saints (13:7). In fact, the language of war pervades John’s vision until Satan is bound and Jesus emerges victorious forever. In the end, “the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (21:7-8). The point of the entire vision revealed to John was to encourage believers to endure faithfully to the end and receive the “crown of life.” (2:10).
You mean Christianity can get me criticized, misunderstood, beat up, hated, dragged into court, fined, driven from home, forced out of my job and even killed? Yes!
Nevertheless (I love that word), we stand and fight. After all, the battle belongs to the Lord!