In our Christian walk, we all have to fight to hold onto the promises of God. We can’t just show up and expect things to happen for us.
There may be a challenge in your life that you’ve been avoiding. Today, I want to challenge you to “get in the fight,” even though it may be difficult. Today is the day to stop avoiding it, put aside hesitation, complacency, and fear–deal with it.
Today we read from Luke 22, when Jesus prayed before entering into the biggest battle of His life.
Fight - a confrontation between opposing individuals or groups in which each attempts to harm or gain power over the other.
Spiritual Identity: Savior, Deliverer
Deliverers walk into bad situations on behalf of others.
Bible Character: Jesus
1. Fight to voluntarily confront, not avoid pain on behalf of others. We are most like Jesus when we fight through pain on behalf of others.
2. Fight to pray through discomfort.
Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Luke 22:39-46
If you’ve ever been in agony over something before, be encouraged that Jesus understands this feeling. His response was to pray more and not to run away.
In the garden before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus voluntarily agrees to enter into a fight as our Deliverer. He is afraid and expresses his dislike of the situation, yet He agrees to move forward according to the Father’s will. If you’ve ever been in agony over something before, be encouraged that Jesus understands this feeling. His response was to pray more and not to run away.
Personalize what you hear and read today: what is your battle? What is it that God has been challenging you to do, that you will start doing today (Reading your Bible, praying, spending alone time with God)? Is there a bad habit or sin that is gnawing at you? Whatever your personal struggle is, today is the day to confront it once and for all.
We had a guest join us today to talk about fighting, physical and spiritual battles. World Champion Fighter, Cristiane Cyborg Justino from Brazil, has won multiple championships in Mixed Martial Arts.
Cris shared that she first got into fighting in college. As a child experiencing divorce and alcoholism in her home, she began training to play all kinds of sports and found that she felt great in doing so and was able to forget about the problems at home. She achieved scholarships and eventually went to her university to play handball. A teacher there encouraged her to get into fighting. At first she had no interest, but when she finally agreed to train on a trial basis, she realized that she was a competitor and was ready to fight. She had a new outlet for her anger and experienced success; this success compelled her to continue on in fighting.
Even with all the success she’s had, Cris still feels fear when she is about to fight. But she has to remember that she has trained every day and she is ready. When discouraging thoughts come into her mind, she goes to a quiet place to pray and to feel God’s presence, remembering He is always with her.
In her training, sometimes she hits seemingly impossible obstacles, such as losing thirty pounds to qualify for her class weight. This requires a lot of discipline in training, clean eating, and teamwork, but above all, she prays, because nothing is impossible with God. She knows that if He wants to give her the opportunity, He will prepare her for it.
Several years ago, Cris was caught using steroids and had the penalty of having to take a year off. This was a huge challenge and learning experience in her life. She lost her friends and her income source and she was alone. In this place, she realized she had been putting the championship belt above God – and now she realizes all these earthly things can be taken off, but God is above it all, and she just wants her eyes on Him. Even now, she continues to deal with people making rude and negative comments toward her online, but Cris believes that to respond to this negativity in a negative way would not properly represent her Christianity. Instead, her goal is to “love the haters” and appreciate the challenge that they bring to her life every day – a challenge to work harder, train better, and love her enemies.
Think about the personal application of Cris’ fighter experience in your own life. You may never fight for a belt, but there is something that you worship, and God wants nothing before Him. He wants to be first!
Maybe today you need to make a decision to give your life to Christ, even though you don’t know how to live for Him. Maybe you gave your life to Christ already, but you still have lots of little voices in your head and sin that you hold onto – and it’s time to die to yourself so that Christ can live through you. Maybe you need to start serving or giving, or confront someone with a difficult conversation. Maybe you have a lukewarm attitude toward God and He is asking for more of your heart. Remembering though, in the end, Jesus does the fighting – it’s His strength and the might of his power and we surrender to it.
I am going to fight in prayer for ________________.
I affirm that I am __________________.
I reject the lie that I am ________________.
I will not let go or stop praying until You ________________.