If someone asked you if you are a “fighter”, how would you answer them? Well, first, it would depend on how you interpret “fighting.” It could be all the way from “Yeah, man, I love a good fight. Let me at ‘em” to “Nobody tells me what to do or how to think. I’ll debate anyone into the ground” to “Dude, I hate conflict. Whether it’s my wife, boss, or a buddy, I avoid tension.”
Yes, the word “fighting” can have all those connotations, but there’s a spiritual and emotional fighting that becomes necessary to live and grow and mature as a follower of Christ. If a man has no fight in him, he will likely not grow, and can easily fall. Why? Because the enemy is going to fight you, whether you fight him or not. And a man who just takes punch after punch and doesn’t even raise his arms will eventually get KOed.
In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul tells us clearly that we are in a fight. He tells us to put on our spiritual armor that God has handed us. He also tells us that our enemy is not one another, but the powers of darkness. Paul doesn’t say IF we will have a struggle, or IF the day of evil will come, or IF the flaming arrows of the evil one will fly, but WHEN they come. Considering this, here’s three thoughts:
1–Before we can successfully fight spiritually, we have to stop fighting physically. If you find yourself wasting a lot of time and energy fighting your wife, your kids, your boss, your church, your friends, etc., you have to start by laying down the battle against flesh and blood. Not saying you shouldn’t ever disagree or argue or have a bad day with communication. That’s different and is going to happen, because you’re breathing. I’m talking about the attitude some guys get of “me against the world” and looking for a conflict with the humans around you. If your life mode is “my battle IS against flesh and blood, by golly,” then there’s not much point in hearing about your spiritual armor. It’s a matter of time before your knockout punch is delivered.
2–Before we can mount a successful defense against the enemy and move forward offensively for the Kingdom, we must learn to “stand our ground.” To “stand firm.” This is not, I repeat not, just maintaining neutral ground. Standing against an attack is also holding your ground. Not being pushed back and not being knocked down. Standing. The question is how? Here’s rule #1 on standing–You can’t stand alone! You might make it a while, but a single soldier does not make an army; it’s a POW who hasn’t been captured yet. You must get other warriors into your life to help you stand and those whom you also help to stand. Back to back when the battle is fierce. And to stand and move forward, when it’s time to advance.
3–When we have laid down our battle with the world of flesh, when we have gathered our brothers to stand with, then You receive the armor of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, together with the Word of God, and carry the Gospel forward to the hearts of men. The real and only purpose for all this fighting and standing is furthering the Gospel. It’s what this war is all about. And the incredibly cool news is the Gospel has already won; it’s only a matter of how many will receive it. Which is why we fight on!
Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit. Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. –Ephesians 6:10-18 CEV