We All Fight

By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Charlyn Valencia
By Chad Golden
By Bruce Riley
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Jennifer Durrett
By Penny Jones
By Amy Owen
By Jill Asibelua
By Madi McGraw
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Jeremy Varnell
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Alban Snider
By Sissy Mathew
By Oscar Camacho, Jr
By Shannon Pugh
By Al Palamara
By Don Robb
By Mike Pope
By Melanie Mechsner
By Kyla Mikusek
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Jeremiah Betron
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Shannon Lewis
By Chase Studdard
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Amy Aupperlee
By Tiffany Stein
By Barry Jones
By Erin Hargrave
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Jason Stein
By Nat Pugh
By Sarah Kemper
By Dana Myers
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Lindsey Sobolik
By Scott McClellan
By Andy McQuitty
By Pete Hyndman
By Kevin Dial
By Jason Roszhart
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith

A couple weeks ago, the world said goodbye to a fighter. Now, make no mistake, I am a theater-loving, violence-eschewing, girly-girl who thinks boxing is decidedly NOT cute. The blood, the sweat, the brain damage — ew. Why? Someone must tell me WHY. But because I have always admired athletes in general (as an otherworldly species set apart from my own), how could I not give credit where credit is due? The Greatest WAS great. Could I not aspire to be like him in some way?

But if you stop to look at anyone for even the briefest second, you realize that we are all fighters. The three-year-old with a crayon and an agenda, the third-grader with his first chapter book and furrowed brow, the college student who throws off his covers, who dashes into the hallway, who makes the 8 a.m. class. The bully who faces off with a teacher and the teacher, arms crossed, heart-rate up, about to deal a decisive blow. What have you been fighting today?

But we forget we are in a fight. For some reason, it’s hard to behold. And I do mean the supernatural fight Paul talks about in Ephesians, “not against flesh and blood but against the rulers of this dark world”, but also the fight for joy, the fight for peace, the fight for meaning. Walking with God is not an accident. It is a decisive, tactical maneuver of the will. Ask, seek, and knock. Push, push, push. Punch, punch, punching our way through.

I think, recently, I’ve been operating under the falsity that walking with Jesus should come naturally and organically through my every day, like flowers “opening to the sun above.” That if he and his Spirit are real and if they dwell with me, it’s sort of up to them to manifest themselves in my life and that, once I sense their intervention and counsel, I will be able to latch on and go with them to the heights. But I think the truth is closer to what A. W. Tozer says: “We have been snared in the coils of a spurious logic which insists that if we have found Him, we need no more seek Him.”

And all too frequently, I do not seek him. In fact, the very opposite is true. Not only am I NOT fighting to find Him, but I am fighting AGAINST finding him. I fight faithfulness, endurance, trust. I resist the callings of my better nature.

Why? Why do I do this? I think because I forget it’s a fight. I forget to see the ring, the ropes, the gloves. I forget my default setting = automatic God-resistance. I’m either fighting for or against him. Fighting to see the world as he sees it, or blatantly fighting his agenda. There don’t seem to be any ring-side seats. I think if I was more aware of this, I would redirect my aggression more often.

Gosh, all this violent talk. Feels a little out-of-character for my delicate, mannerly self, and it’s a lot to remember on any given Wednesday. But when all it takes is a bout of whining from my five-year-old to plunge me into gloom and bitterness, I realize something has gone very wrong. I’m knocked out before I knew what hit me.

Muhammad Ali himself saw similar reality in boxing: “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses — behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

A private fight must be had, and won to some extent, long before we dance under our lights. So let us fight. Fight to FIND — to seek God, to obey, to accept — with a defiant wholeheartedness that latches onto His promise in Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

If you’d like, this prayer might be a way to start your fight today:

Lord Jesus, I fight you, I know.
Fight reality, fight endurance, fight faithfulness, fight contentment, fight trust, fight rest.
Instead of fighting you, help me to FIND you.
To dwell with you.
To remember that this, that You, are the only place worth being.
Help me to struggle into Now, into what is, into You Are.

Amen.

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