Archives For Faith

Learning How To Fight

March 13, 2019

At 34-years-old, I’m learning how to fight.

Growing up, fighting was something I avoided. And some of the fights that I did get into, I lost … big time.

I was a pretty healthy kid apart from bad allergies. While writing this, I’m laughing to myself as I realize that. So, being healthy enough, I could’ve fought. I simply did not know how too and the many times I did end up in a fight for some reason or another, I would end up getting hurt.

The pain was not only physical but emotional and I vowed to never, ever fight again. It was an agreement from boyhood that I didn’t realize would have a substantial affect on my life.

I made that agreement out of fear of getting hurt, and out of fear of the worst that could come out of it. But, what I would find out, is that fear of fighting, and fear period, would mutate into a toxic mindset that was neither Godly or healthy, an idea that life should be easier and without struggle or conflict.

So, I avoided at all costs. And oh did it cost!

During my adult years, I have yet to raise a fist for a physical fight. Hopefully nothing in my life comes to that. But, I do see the Lord trying to teach me how to fight spiritually, a fight that is required of all of us, a fight that I’m no longer going to be allowed to avoid.

In order to learn to fight, I had to deal with the issue of fear, the fear that drove social anxiety, the fear that guided how I would treat myself and others, the fear that said that I would live a certain way in order to keep from what I considered stressful situations:

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.”

I did in fact repent of the time I let fear lead. Now, I’m learning to trust the Lord with anything and everything that brings about concerns and anxiety.

There’s simply no room for fear or timidity.

My wife also suggested that I invite the Lord into what is going on — work, bills, creative endeavors, even our marriage. That has actually made a HUGE difference in our lives.

Paul in his letter to Timothy encouraged him to fight the good fight of faith.

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

In the pretext just before you get to 1 Timothy 6:12, we’re warned of “the love of money” being the root of all evil. We’re also told that those desiring to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and it leads them into “foolish and harmful lusts,” which drown men into destruction and perdition (to be ruined, loss).

As believers, a lot of our fighting is not only an involvement to stay connected to the Lord and His Word, but, to also fight against ourselves and our selfishness and desires that are not of God.

More and more, I realize now that to fight is to remain in God through prayer and through the reading of His Word. And, daily, I fight that it all remains not about me but about Christ and the life He’s called me too.

And thereby trusting God even in the daily battles — the battle to pick up the phone and take care of bill collectors and school loan debtors, the battle to keep and save marriage, the battle to say no to the next shiny new device and yes to godliness with contentment (1 Timothy 6:6), the battle against self-preservation and self-comfort but for self-control and to saying yes to dying to self daily.

While on my journey to try and write a post each day for the whole month of March, the Lord led me to actually write this one article titled “The Boy and His Backpack.”

It is basically a story of my experience of shedding the bad habit of isolating myself and learning to trust God with the nakedness of going to family gatherings and social situations WITHOUT my backpack.

Most people who see me know that I have my backpack with me at all times … filled with books, a sketchbook, a journal, pens, pencils and the list goes on.

But, I’m so, so incredibly grateful for my wife Rachel for helping me walk away from such a habit and help me … her and the Lord … worked to help me unravel the roots from what was essentially social anxiety.

2 Timothy 1:7 says this:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

This scripture I’ve had in my heart and mind ever since boyhood. I’m glad the Lord got to me first before the enemy, Satan, ever could!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I love books, blogs, articles and a collection of resources and items that help me to tackle a variety of topics and issues.

A ton of my books and commentaries are either with my wife and I or they are packed in storage. Come to think of it, I need to check my storage and see if I can get those books out. But, I digress!

I tend to use them for my Bible study and for research purposes and for expanding my understanding and knowledge on specific things.

But, a couple of weeks ago, I felt a conviction over what was going on with me. I was making a habit out of checking articles, commentaries, blogs, books and other items before even checking my Bible.

I became a bit obsessive with reading and researching that I totally missed the point of Bible study — the opportunity to connect with the Lord and align my heart and mind and body with His will and His purpose for my life, not load up with a kind of intellectual acumen suited for myself.

I’m an advocate of using resources with your Bible properly. There are a ton of really good, Biblical and honest material out there written and created by Christians who are genuinely trying to stay truthful, accurate and relatable. And I enjoy using them. But, then there’s relying on them solely.

In other words, reading about the Bible rather than actually reading the Bible.

So, in an effort to handle this, I’ve decided to focus more on actual Bible studying with the scripture first. For far too long I was studying backwards — — material then the scripture, rather than scripture and then material.

Interestingly enough, something has happened because I have adjusted the way I study the Word of God.

I actually find myself reading verse after verse after verse, then whole chapters, then whole sections of a book till I actually finish the book. Curiosity, of course, get’s the best of me, and I decide to really dig in to sections of the scriptures that peak my interest … areas of study that I’m led to by the Holy Spirit and led too because of questions arising from my heart.

Instead of seeking just resources, actually going to the source, seeking God and His son Jesus, has made the difference. And I’m learning more and more on the daily how that process of Christian growth and spiritual discipline looks.

If We Lived In Truth!

February 7, 2019
Photo by Dil on Unsplash

Jesus said this in John 8:32 (NKJV):

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Imagine, living in the TRUTH. Imagine, believing that TRUTH is NOT relative … but absolute!

I mean, that when you look in the mirror, you see what you see, and you deal with the reality of what you see.

That you choose not to run away from the person that God made … you are a boy, God expects your growth to manhood. You are a girl, God expects your growth to womanhood. And not the way the world defines it … but by the maturity that can only come from a walk with God and a steady focus on His Word.

I mean, that you trust the Lord with the life you have, the job you have, the money you got, the skin you wear, the voice you have, the body you’re dealt with and the history that you have.

I mean, that you refuse to hide under the shadow of conservative or liberal politics and policies and choose to abide under the shadow of the almighty (Psalm 91:1-2), you deny yourself of the luxury of staying silent, you look beyond your envy, your prejudice, your status, your politics, your opinions, your analysis … and you risk all to speak truth to power in the Lord and in faith to the point that you are suffering in and for Christ … for purpose far greater than yourself.

Living in Truth would and should shatter your fake-ness, turn your world upside down and make you live the most real life you’ve ever lived — where you’re free and free indeed (vs. 36)!

If we all REALLY lived in TRUTH, in CHRIST, we couldn’t possibly stay the same.