Do you ever have those weeks when you’re short-fused, and you pick fights too readily with your spouse, your brother, or someone at work who just bugs the heck out of you? Can you feel the frustration, annoyance, and anger bubbling up and coming out of your mouth, while, even as it’s happening, you know you should be exercising more self-restraint, more love, and more patience?
But what about those fights worth fighting? What if we could channel all of our energy into life’s bigger and better fights?
“Hey, yo, Adrian!” My Italian roots come out in my love for the Rocky series. Six Rocky movies provide us a chance to root for the underdog in the fight(s) of a lifetime. And now we have a new underdog to cheer for in Creed. We watch as Donny/Adonis Creed, an unknown in the boxing world, fights his way to respect in the ring while Rocky fights for his life against cancer.
In boxing movies, there’s always a big fight to gear up for, the deck is always hopelessly stacked against our protagonist, and sacrifice is a requirement. But often more important than the matchups in the ring are the characters’ figurative battles. What do they let go of, and what is worth fighting for? Donnie Creed, who didn’t want to be associated with his heavyweight champion father, eventually decided he could give up the internal struggle about his identity and his name in order to go forward as a boxer. When priorities are decided and determination is set, fighters can channel their strength, courage, and perseverance toward the big fights.
What are some things worth fighting for? These are some that come up for me. How about for you?
- A closer walk with God
- A great marriage
- Strong kids in my church and my community
What are some things worth fighting against? How about these?
- Guilt and self-condemnation
Good fights can appear unachievable and too drawn-out for normal life. They are meant for other people, not us. They don’t belong in our daily planners. (Monday, June 5th: clean the garage, finish presentation for boss, get groceries, take dog to vet at 4 p.m. … oh yeah, and don’t forget to fight for a better marriage and attack apathy in my community.) But there are ways we can identify and fight the worthy fights in our lives.
- Ask God to show us how we’re “winning battles but losing the war.” In other words, where are we spending too much of our energy, time, emotion, and work? And where would God redirect our energy instead? This can be done on a daily basis to counteract the common tendencies of either exerting too much control (“I have a schedule; I have a task list; I know best exactly what I need to do today.”) or the tendency to allow our routines to control us without a second thought (“Hmm, well, it’s Tuesday, so I guess I’ll do all my normal Tuesday stuff.”). God has specific plans and instructions for us to complete at specific times. God’s fights are typically not the things we would think to put on a daily to-do list. But God will alert us if we seek to do His will. Ask God the following questions each morning, expecting and waiting for specific responses: “God, how can I connect with you today? What specifically can I do today for renewal and strength? What can I do today for the missions you have given me? How can I fight worthy fights today, and let the rest go?”
- Ask God to equip us for the fight. A good fight involves self-sacrifice, dedication, self-acceptance and forgiveness when we fail, perseverance, transformation, discernment, conviction, strength, and more self-confidence than we are capable of mustering on our own. A good fight also involves having the right people in our corner (more on this in Part II: Who’s in Your Corner?). God will give us the strength and the tools we need to fight the good fights. “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” Psalm 18:32
Fight the good fight of the faith!