The Good Fight

fist-fight

I love a good fight… always have.  I learned a long time ago that a good fight is where you give everything you have and a bad fight is anything less.  I remember my first schoolyard scuffle as I defended my little brother from a neighborhood bully.  I walked away with a bloody nose, but you should’ve seen the other guy.

In all seriousness, there is something intriguing about two people in a struggle.  One wins and one loses with a lesson to be learned from either outcome.  The Bible is full illustrations: Jacob and the Angel, David and Goliath, David and Saul, Paul and Europe.  The Bible gives us a common theme: “triumph for the underdog.”  With God what is weak is always made strong.  Really, that is the story of the scripture.

I’ve always considered myself an underdog.  I never got picked first to be on any team.  Never naturally excelled academically.  Was always the short guy.  Never the most athletic, smartest, best-looking, etc…. you get the picture.  However, regardless of my own inabilities God has called me to make a difference in the world by fighting the good fight in spite of my inadequacies and he’s called you to do the same.

The victory of following Jesus comes with struggle.  Sometimes it’s hard because we tend to make life all about us.  Emptying oneself of personal ambition so that one may adapt a missional posture can be painful.  It’s a fight with self: a struggle against the man in the mirror.  It’s a spiritual battle.  It’s not about inflicting physical violence.  It’s about fighting to advance the kingdom within, because if we’re not careful the world will beat the mission of God right out of us.

This translates to the kingdom because when we misplace the mission we misplace God himself.  I’ve been in ministry long enough now that it’s easy to identify those who do it for the right reasons and those who do it for other reasons.  Let’s be honest, some people do the right thing for the wrong reason; it’s a real temptation.  I’ve met young leaders who are full of themselves and older leaders who have given up on the mission and vice versa.  The person who does nothing to defend the weak, nothing to lift up the needy, never feeds the hungry, clothes the poor, or aids the widow and orphan… you should recognize that person is NOT on mission with God.

I’ve actually watched leaders destroy the mission of the church in the name of entertainment labeled discipleship.  When this happens the mission becomes a smokescreen, a cover-up, a ruse.  Someone recently said to me about the mission of a particular local church: “It ran its course.”  I ask how does identifying needs in a community and implementing organized efforts to help people “run its course”… How does mission go out of style?

It happens when people stop fighting for mission and crawl out of the missional arena.  I’ve never seen a day where more people want to sit on the sidelines.  In doing so they build their own kingdom, increase their own income, promote their own people, buy a big house on a big hill and call it a life.  They do these things at the expense of the mission.  They get stronger with no regard to the underdog.  They miss the call to downward mobility.  They disengage the Missio Dei.

Remember, the things we typically equate with greatness is not what makes us great in God’s eyes: talent, wealth, good-looks, etc.  What makes us great in God’s eyes is a willingness to become weak: to admit that we don’t have it all figured out.  In fighting the good fight we discover that there is honor in defending the weak from being overcome by the strong.  There is great power discovered in our frailty when we submit to God.  And the reason God uses weakness is so that when victory is attained, he gets all the glory.

You ask, how do I get in the fight?  Actively make a commitment, don’t passively let the kingdom pass you by.  Do something every day to advance the mission of God in the world.  Buy someone a meal who can’t afford it.  Become friends with a widow or a single mom.  Become an advocate for orphans around the world and never stop talking about it.  There are so many ways to make a difference.  As you do these things offer people the hope of Jesus.  Let the kingdom emerge from within.  Fight for it, because the world will never stop beating it out of you.

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