"I am off to pick a fight." is one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies... ‘Braveheart’... not to be confused with Brave-Bird.
Braveheart is the story of William Wallace of Scotland fighting for the FRREEEDOMM against the oppressive rule of England.
In one dramatic scene from the movie Braveheart the Scots who were greatly outnumbered by the English are about to do battle. The well-armed, well-trained English did not take this rag-tag Scottish army seriously. But then after declaring... “I am off to PICK A FIGHT.” rides William Wallace (Mel Gibson) on his horse to mess with the peace negotiations between the Scots and England.
I won’t get into the details, but Wallace taunts and mocks the English until... yes THERE WAS A FIGHT… and the Scots win!
The significant message of this movie is a call to do what is right no matter the cost, even the cost of maybe their lives.
Of course as modern-day Christians we are not called to look for a fight, but we should NEVER be afraid to FIGHT for God's Truth. We answer to God, not to man. Some may cry out... No, no, not the Crusades again… I attend church most every week, and I am a good person, and I bruise easily.
Please no Crusades 2024 unless they resemble the Billy Graham Crusades. Billy Graham was a terrific evangelist, and his crusades did not end up in any bloodshed.
Others will say... "Jesus was about love." That's the Jesus we like... The one about love. We don't associate with Christians who speak out against icky stuff like abortion, Planned Parenthood, gay marriage, LGBTQ rights, and the claims that there are more genders than Baskin Robbins has flavors of ice cream (31).
Then the media beats their drum a secular/pagan outrage with stories about the dangerous bigoted 'religious right'. They guilt many for wanting to build a wall, owning a gun, or just being white. Why should I feel guilty that my parents were white?
Then every election year like lemmings we are pressured to run full speed off either a Republican or Democrat/Socialist cliff following our political allegiances before considering God's Truth.
We are afraid of the fight (or ill-prepared for a fight).. afraid to stand for our FAITH. If we are political, pro-Israel, or against Sharia Law lest we be labeled as Islamophobic white patriarchal evangelicals. Please I am not one of THOSE Christians. I am a good person, who never makes waves. I am like Jesus who is about love.. remember?
All this pressure to conform and fear of a fight with our society railing against traditional Christian values melts many into doing their best Piglet 'the pacifist' of Winnie the Pooh fame.. as we fret and worry stammering “Oh d-dear, oh d-dear!!."
But let's slow down and consider a couple examples from our Bibles.
There was David who leveled the giant Goliath and cut off his head for daring to mock God. There were no peace negotiations with the enemy of God, and there was a victory for David empowered by God's Spirit standing up against this 'puny/giant' Pagan.
And the best example is Jesus the Son of God.
To summarize the example of Jesus, and how this should set with his church.
If the world hates you, know that it has hated Jesus before it hated you. If you are of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but Jesus chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19
present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2
... seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
Most likely we are not called to a literal bloody nose-like fight/crusade, and certainly NOT the church version of ANTIFA.. but we must NEVER EVER back down from living and teaching God's truth. NOT AFRAID OF A FIGHT, or maybe even PICK ONE.
Important Note: This is NOT an endorsement of the so-called peaceful protests of 2020. All this misguided SJW angst-turned-rage mob (even in the church) is not of God. So put down that brick... AND instead, be ready and willing to Pick a Fight for and/or Serve THOSE IN NEED and the LOST? What good is our faith if it is only about our own well-being?
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
May God bless each of us today as we pursue and defend God’s truth. May God smile at, and bless our sincere efforts to serve Him and others, and lovingly correct us when we fall, and may God bless us and use us in ways that are BEYOND OUR DREAMS.
Jeff (bruise like a peach) Larson
Note: With all our fights for God's Truth, let's calm down the internal fights in the church. We should stand for God's word to be honored in the church, and while there are differences in the body... The cry of "heretic" is overused to describe those we differ with. Making secondary issues into primary issues is SIN.
Even those of us who are not big Joel Osteen fans have to admit we desire what Joel writes in his best seller... 'Your Best Life Now'. Living a life that reaches its full potential, I mean, who does not desire to be successful, fit, prosperous, lacking for nothing, and maybe with a smidge of power. To have, and lack for nothing while unleashing the inner you. LOOK OUT WORLD!
But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
At face value, there is nothing wrong with living life to your full potential. Being disciplined, hard-working, and resourceful are all admirable attributes. In fact, they are Godly attributes, aren't they?... But maybe this is putting the personal success cart before the Kingdom of God horse. Where in living 'Your Best Life Now' do I fit the seeking God's Kingdom FIRST part?
My point in writing this is NOT just a slam directed at a Joel Osteen mantra but also little ol' Christians like me who live a more traditional Christian theology. Do I, do I... Seek God first?
It is very much like the Lord's Prayer Matthew 6:5-15 where Jesus starts with... "Our Father who is in Heaven, great is your name. YOUR kingdom come, YOUR will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." All this Jesus prays before getting to the ME portion of the Lord's Prayer... "give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our debts as we forgive others, and lead us not into temptation."
I love Matthew 6:33 as it tweaks the focus of my day to seek God's kingdom first. To worship, love, and serve Him throughout my day. I even want to live my best life now but this must start with His Kingdom and His people.
To love God with all my heart soul and mind and others as myself. Living my best life now where my faith produces works (James 2:14-26 ) of service.
So my prayer is for His people to seek His kingdom first. May God bless and lead each of you on this life journey.
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson