“I got in a fight today, Mom,” he said. “I hit him. I didn’t have a choice. I tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. I blocked the first punch and told him to stop, but I could tell he wasn’t going to. He struck again and hit me in the side of the head. That’s when I hit back. I knocked him as hard as I could.” “Well, what happened—did he stop?” I asked. “He kept holding his head and groaning. Coach saw what happened. He ran over and got him and took him to the office.” “Are you hurt?” “My finger is messed up from where I blocked the first punch. I couldn’t play my bass in jazz band very well, but other than that I’m okay.”
Not the kind of after-school conversation I was expecting.
My son isn’t aggressive in any sense of the word. He is mild-mannered and laid back and calm. He does what he’s supposed to. He is tall and thin and unassuming. He is nice and clean-cut and in-control. He’s not a fighter.
Until he needs to be.
And when he needs to be, I feel sorry for the person on the other side. Mild-mannered, laid-back, and calm turns intense. What he’s supposed to do gives way to whatever the situation requires. Tall and thin and unassuming reveals a hidden, muscular core of strength. Nice and clean-cut and in-control becomes fury. He is a fighter; he will stand his ground.
This situation is a parallel of our spiritual experience in so many ways. Satan comes in. He strikes. We try to use our words at first, try to block his blows, but he doesn’t stop. He strikes again, hitting harder in places more vulnerable, attacking in areas he knows will do the most damage. And we are left with two choices: keep talking, keep blocking or stand our ground and fight back.
Talking and blocking are defensive actions. They are ways we try to keep ourselves safe from injury. They are responses; they are reactions. They don’t engage in the assault; they cower in it. Talking and blocking sustain more personal damage. They are passive. Standing and fighting are offensive actions. They are ways to stop the attack. They are initiations; they are instigations. They are active combat; they are involved. Standing and fighting inflict wounds. They are aggressive.
As long as my son talked and blocked, he continued to be hit and injured. But when he decided to stand his ground and fight, the aggressor withdrew. Interestingly, the damage he received from trying to thwart the blows was greater than the damage he sustained from inflicting them.
We are in a fight. The days of talking and blocking are over. It’s time to stand our ground and fight. Mild-mannered, laid-back, and calm needs to turn intense. What we're expected to do should give way to whatever the situation requires. What appears unassuming should reveal a hidden, muscular core of strength. Nice, sweet, I'm-just-trying-to-do-my-best needs to become fury. Satan will relentlessly strike as long as we take it. He will beat us down and the injuries we sustain from our attempts to block him will hamper our abilities and keep us from operating in our callings. But when we fight back, when we become aggressive and offensive, he will be the one hurting and hampered; he will be the one unable to operate.
How do we stand our ground? How do we fight? We beat his lies with our belt of truth. We block his evil with our breastplate of righteousness. We don’t run away scared or cower in fear when things get difficult; we stand in our shoes of peace, knowing God is with us. We bash his face of doubt and insecurity with our shield of faith. We protect our minds by putting on the helmet of our salvation, assured we are forgiven and redeemed through Christ’s blood. We slice through his schemes with God’s word—the sword of the Spirit—which is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts straight to the heart of the matter.
Be encouraged today. God is with you. He is your refuge and your strength. He is your shelter and strong tower. He goes before you and sets His angels to keep watch over you. You can fight, not in your own might, but in His. Satan does not have the right to put his hands on you; you belong to God. You don’t have to be beaten down and afraid and wounded. You are not a victim. You are a victor. Decide to stand your ground and fight. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world, and He will fight for you.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s evil schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV)