By: Steve Wilmot
What is your first thought when you hear the word God? It’s likely you thought things like Father, Friend, caring, love, forgiving, holy, awesome, mighty, or the like. But I’ll wager not one of you thought “warrior.” (Me neither, by the way.)
Surprisingly, the Bible is full of references to God as a warrior — both by declaration and by deed.
Repeatedly throughout Scripture, we find this little six-word sentence: “The Lord will fight for you.”
I recently read from a devotional by Craig Groeschel that we must be warriors ourselves. Here is what he wrote: “Let’s say we’re standing on an empty football field, just you and me. We’re on the 20-yard line. I throw you the ball and say, ‘Run this into the end zone.’ In no time at all, you’re spiking the ball and doing the Heisman. Easy, right?
“We were just a couple of guys horsing around, but now let’s mix it up a little. Let’s add 60,000 screaming fans and nine more guys (maybe some friends from your work). And let’s say we’re facing… a defensive lineup of NFL All-Stars. The game’s changed, hasn’t it?
This time, if I can even get the ball to you at the 20-yard line, you’ll be lucky to make it through this without any broken bones — let alone actually reaching the end zone! There’s opposition. There’s someone trying to stop you. A bunch of huge someones.
“Make no mistake: You are in a fight. Every day, you’re getting stared down by your enemy. And his mission statement, his entire life’s purpose, can be summed up in three words: Steal. Kill. Destroy (John 10:10).
“1 Peter 5:8 warns you: ‘Watch your back, man! You’ve got a vicious enemy: the devil. Don’t underestimate this guy.
He’s like a lion, out stalking you. He wants to tear your flesh, to devour you whole’ (Groeschel’s Paraphrased Version).
“Get that in your head: A rabid lion is hunting you. To eat you! Oh, you’re in a fight, all right.” Not only is God a warrior who fights for us, he “trains [your] hands for battle; [your] arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great” (Psalm 18.34-35).
Groeschel is right. You are in a fight. But you are not in it alone. The Lord fights for you, but you must enter the fray rather than hide your head under the ground or sit back thinking God will do everything himself.
Nehemiah 4.14 lays out a perfect battle plan for you to follow. “After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.’”
Nehemiah makes it perfectly clear that we are to fight for our family — our spouse and our children. And he’s laid out the perfect strategy.
First, we need to look things over. Evaluate your battleground. Ask God to alert you to what is happening around you.
Ask him to open your eyes so you don’t miss the things you’ve been missing. “God, where is the enemy attacking my son? What issues are tempting my daughter? What is the enemy trying to do to destroy our marriage?”
Next, we need to stand up and speak. Tell your son and daughter what the Word of God says about the things they are facing. Tell them that God is watching and that he’ll help them make the right decision.
Assure them he will give them strength to overcome temptation and negative emotions. Pledge your help as they go through whatever it is.
Let them know that you are praying for wisdom and courage and resolve to stand up against their enemy daily.
Third, we need to not be afraid. Not afraid of the enemy. Not afraid of what reaction you may get from your family.
Not afraid to take a stand for Christ even in an anti-God culture like we have today. Not afraid to get involved spiritually in the lives of your kids and spouse. Not afraid to discipline. Not afraid to say, “I love you.”
Finally, we need to remember the Lord, who is great and awesome. In my own spiritual journey, I’ve discovered that the times when I am most defeated and overcome with fear and guilt and depression is when I forget who God is.
I worry about the future, forgetting that God is already there and has made a path for me. I start to believe that I will never be free of “that” sin that keeps beating me up, forgetting that God has made a way out of that addiction and gives me the strength to say no to it and yes to him every single time.
Regarding our families, teach them the character of God. Teach them his promises. Show them what the consequences of disobedience are and the rewards of obedience. Pray that in the moment of decision, they will remember the Lord.
If you choose not to fight the darkness, you and your family will be overcome by darkness. So, fight!
Steve Wilmot is a former Edgerton, Ohio area pastor who now seeks “to still bear fruit in old age” through writing. He is the author of seven books designed to assist believers to make steady progress on their spiritual journey.