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Posts Tagged ‘fight’

trumoet

The people of Israel had been through hell and high water – literally.  They had been slaves in Egypt specially delivered right through the sea.  Finally, after forty years of stubborn, rebellious, complaining wandering in the desert, Joshua led them into the land God had promised.

In Joshua chapter 5, we find Joshua circumcising the sons of the Israelite slaves.  Mom and Dad didn’t make it out of the desert, but their children did.  The kids had been born on the way and had never been circumcised in accordance with God’s law.  Just afterward they eat their last provision of manna and remember the Passover and God’s deliverance and mercy.  Their new leader, Joshua, understands the order of importance when it comes to victory.  First, his men must be physically and spiritually obedient and prepared, then they must listen to the Word of the Lord.  Only after all of that is done do they begin to take what God has promised in victory.  It is not until they are physically healed and spiritually prepared that someone important shows up.  Joshua 5:14 tells us that the commander of the Lord’s Army comes and speaks to him about how to conquer the people living in the land God was giving to them.

Up until the point they arrive at the town of Jericho, all the people in the land have been in fear knowing what God had done for the Israelites in marching them through the sea.  Rahab the prostitute had even said as much to the spies Joshua had sent (Joshua 2:9).

They were afraid, but it did not cause them to obey God or befriend God’s people.  Instead, it caused them to shut themselves up inside the walls of their city.  The people of Jericho had resolved that Israel would not be their master.  No one could come in to their community and no one could go out to make peace or otherwise.  “Thus were they infatuated and their hearts hardened to their own destruction – the miserable case and character of all those that strengthen themselves against the Almighty.” ~ Matthew Henry

Those silly walls, as strong and mighty as they were, were no match for the Commander of God’s Army.  Those walls were destined to fall flat despite how fortified and exclusive they were built to be.

The angel gives some rather bizarre instructions for this first military conquest in the promised land.  He tells God’s people to take the ark of the covenant (symbolizing His presence), march around the city, and blow trumpets continually every day for seven days.  The seventh day they were to march around seven times blowing the trumpets and then shout.  That is what would make the walls of Jericho fall down.

There were several reasons why this was going to work and several reasons why God chose to do it this way.  It was going to work, firstly, because it was God’s sovereign will, but, from a practical standpoint, the blowing of the trumpets from outside the walls of this closed city served to intimidate those therein.  By doing so, God’s people were declaring war.

 “They proclaimed war with the Cannanites and so struck a terror upon them; for by terrors upon their spirits, they were to be conquered and subdued.  Thus God’s ministers, by the solemn declarations of his wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, must blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in the holy mountain, that the sinners in Zion may be afraid.  They are God’s heralds to denounce war against all those that go on still in their trespasses, but say, ‘We shall have peace, though we go on.’ “ ~Matthew Henry

The trumpets themselves were least impressive.  God loves to use the foolish things to shame the strong.  Good news for me!

Another reason this worked, from an earthly standpoint, is that, while they may have feared firstly, after seven days of this ridiculous, noisy parade and no attack, the insiders doubtless began to think it was all a laughable show.

“Thus they cried peace and safety, that the destruction might be the more terrible when it came.  Wicked men think God in jest when he is preparing for their judgement; but they will be convinced of their mistake when it is too late…The wall fell down flat, and probably killed abundance of people…That which they trusted to for defense proved their destruction…they became an easy prey to the sword of Israel, and saw to how little purpose it was to shut their gates against a people that had the Lord on the head of them.” ~Matthew Henry

We all know how the story ends.  The walls fall down flat at the shout of God’s people and Jericho is the city chosen to serve as an example to their enemies and an encouragement for the further conquests in taking over the promised land.

There were some practical and spiritual reasons why God chose to have his people conquer the city of Jericho in this way.

It made God’s glory known because only he can be credited with victory when a walled-in city falls at a shout.  This parading around also served to honor his ark as well as his priests who were carrying it and sounding the trumpets.

There is not too far any of us can get in spiritual victory apart from the presence of God going with us.  That’s why Jesus said, “…Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

Furthermore, this was meant to test the faith, patience, and obedience of God’s people.  Wonder what they were thinking.  Wonder how they felt when they had to march around thirteen times.  Thirteen trips around this city with nothing but a promise and their dull and meager instruments.  Yet, the purpose of this slow going-round served to test as well as encourage them heartily when victory came.  This was only the first battle.  Many were to follow.  This was for them to look back on and remember how strong and wise their God really was.  He keeps his promises.

God is in the business of tearing down walls.  So many times we find ourselves building them up, though.  The weapons he gives have divine power to destroy strongholds.  Jesus himself came to tear down the dividing wall of hostility and make one man out of two.  He came to bring unity between God and man as well as man and man.  He came to demolish strongholds.

Pray. Fast. Repeat.  God will take care of the walls.  They will fall when he is obeyed and honored by his people.

“The God of heaven easily can, and certainly will, break down all the opposing power of his and his church’s enemies…Thus, shall Satan’s kingdom fall, nor shall any prosper that harden themselves against God.” ~Matthew Henry

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gloves

Preteen + preteen + peacemaker AKA tattletale + one year old = it’s spring but if we dare open our windows someone may call the law.  And I might need them to.

After much begging, pleading, and coercing from tomboy mom, I think my girls have finally chosen a sport they want to practice.  My girls – especially the older two – seem to have adopted a new way of life.  It is hard to describe, but if it had a name it might be called, “Four Girl Fight Club.”

Apparently they have come to believe that the only solution to their ridiculously difficult life is to fight with one another over everything.  Sometimes, the decibels are so high in this compound that it takes a conversation with a hard of hearing mom, a machine washing clothes, a screaming baby, a running lawn mower, a phone alarm ringing to remind me that today’s the last day to pay that bill before I have a 32 thousand dollar late fee, and the noise of a 25 year-old refrigerator to successfully ignore the bouts of unmitigated rage.

Oops.  Did I say ignore?  I mean avoid.  Er.  Um.  No.  I mean, I would never ignore or avoid my own children.  That’s ridiculous.  Clearly I’m busy with all the above mentioned, conveniently noisy tasks.  I would really prefer to be ringside.  Who doesn’t love a good fight, right?  That’s why, even being the free range parent that I am, I always make sure I rush in to see the good parts.  Anytime I am in the middle of 17 other things and I hear someone getting pummelled with pretend accusations, I run right in!

Yesterday was one of those days.

By the time I came to see what was the matter, one fighter was already crying and drawing an emo self-portrait complete with tears and monster sister hovering over her in the sketch, and the other was smugly smarting off about her rightness in the matter.

Now.  I always like to get the facts straight from both sides before I go trying to sub out for the referee, but, with all the commotion I didn’t hear that phone alarm and it just so happened that the ref’s paycheck was the bill I forgot to pay.  So, unfortunately, I had to jump right in quick before someone lost a tooth, or, in my case, their own flippin’ mind.

“What on the earth is going on in here, girls?!”

“Addie made an app and she made rules for the game she created but she isn’t following HER OWN RULES that SHE made!”

“That’s not true!  I made it so I am allowed to make the rules!!”

When I got down to the bottom of it all, it seems that my very technically inclined daughter made up a game and made a rule for her fellow gamers that she was not following herself.  This reality ignited the call to use every justice bone in my other daughter’s body.

“You can’t do that!!!  You can’t just change the rules for yourself!  You can’t just make other people follow them and not follow them yourself!”

“I made it!!!  I am the owner!  I can do whatever I want!”

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!” said the referee.

“Ok.  Let’s see here.  You are both right – in a way.  Addie is right that if she created it, as the administrator she is ABLE to do things in whatever fashion she chooses.  If she sets it up with an exception for herself, she can because she owns and created the game.  However, as a matter of good business and fairness, Mia is right.  No one likes leaders who expect others to follow the rules that they made but do not follow the rules themselves.  That’s why everyone gets mad at the government.  They have the authority to make the rules and laws because we have entrusted it to them – given it to them – but they are so unjust that they apply them to everyone but themselves.  They also change the rules whenever it is personally advantageous.  That is called injustice.  We do not want to be unjust to others.

So, I understand why everyone is upset but, while both of you are right, you are also both wrong. Think about your other two sisters, girls.  Maylee is upset.  Sonny is screaming.  You are scaring them.  I understand why you both feel justified, but the truth is that neither of you are.  Look how you’re treating each other.  This is not acceptable.

Next time, listen to each other.  Stop yelling over top of one another to get your ideas heard by the person you clearly disagree with.  Talk about it.  Don’t get upset when someone challenges your decisions.  Instead, answer them.  Know why you’re doing something and be able to explain it clearly when asked.  If you are the one asking, don’t be condescending.  When you have a different perspective, respect for the authority goes a long way – especially if you are older than they are.  Lastly, never forget to consider others who hear your disagreements.  Namely – your sisters.  But the windows are open for goodness sake! Everything we do affects other people.  Remember that.

And in that four girl fight club, I believe the Lord truly showed up with wisdom like unto Solomon’s for me.  My own heart was revealed as fighter number five and my own foolishness was found out.  Like the mechanic always says, they only know what you teach ’em.  God did none other than prove Himself faithful once again.

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stuck

God is leading.  God is leading his people very specifically.  He has delivered them from the the heavy hand of an unjust master and he has taken them into the wilderness.  With a cloud by day and a fire by night, God has been ever so faithful to get them where they need to be.  He further cares for them by speaking very clearly the way in which they must go to his prophet, Moses.  Now, they have come to a place where the wilderness is behind them, rocky treachery is beside them, and the Red Sea is in front of them.  Apart from God’s direct orders on where to go, the cloud, the fire, there would have been little reason to believe this could possibly be the right way.  It was long, it was foreign, and it did not make logical sense.

So, here Moses is instructed to encamp in front of the Red Sea.  God does not just tell Moses where to go.  He tells him why to go there.

For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. ~Exodus 14:3-4

God is about to take his people through the Red Sea.  He is about to show his power and sovereignty through both mercy and wrath.  As his people walk through the sea, their enemies will be destroyed, both at the very same time by the mighty hand of God.

So God says, “Hey, Moses!  Guess what?  Once I get you guys to a place where you have no where else to go, your enemies are coming for you.  I’m gonna make them as hardened and foolish in their pursuit as they have ever been.  Even more so!  Then, I’m gonna show them who I am.  But don’t worry!  I’m gonna get glory and they’re gonna know I am God once and for all .  Now, go this crazy, unexpected, entrapping way and stay there until they come for you.  Trust me.  This is for you and me and my glory.”

Talk about being used!  These people were about to be the very means by which their numerous, strong, relentless enemies were proven wrong once and for all.  They were the means by which God chose to get his glory.  That is so awesome!!! Still, when you’re up against a wall…well, a sea, with the most powerful army of the known world in pursuit,  it is hard not to freak out in fear.

It really shouldn’t have been that hard to trust God.  I mean, these punks had just watched a deliverer come for them.  They’d just seen ten disastrous plagues strike Egypt.  They just exited their homes freely and had just been handed all the gold and silver of Egypt.  They had been given their own personal cloud.  They’d been given their own personal fire.  They had a prophet telling them exactly where to go and what to do.  They were told beforehand that they would be pursued because God was hardening the hearts of their enemies.  So, seeing that army approach should not have been the least bit surprising.  Nor should it have been disheartening or terrifying in any way.  But, these are sheep and sheep are not that smart.

Still, God did exactly as he said he would do.  How gracious of him to tell Moses first so he might understand the purpose of this very peculiar path they were being led on.  They go and they camp out by the water…and…wait.

In the meantime, just like God said he would, Pharaoh got a hankering to follow.  His reason?  After all those painful plagues and even after losing his very own son, his reason is this:

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” ~Exodus 14:5

The enemy loses his best slaves when God’s people become free.  All Pharaoh cares about is himself.  Serve me!  Be a slave to me!  Fear me!  Obey me! Sound familiar?  All Satan cares about is our slavery to him.  The enemy loses his best slaves when God’s people become free. Matthew Henry says this: “Pharaoh’s pursuit of Israel, in which, while he gratifies his own malice and revenge, he is furthering the accomplishment of God’s counsels concerning him…thus what may be easily justified is easily condemned, by putting false colors upon it…it vexed him that Israel had their liberty, that he had lost the profit of their labors, and the pleasure of chastising them. It is meat and drink to proud persecutors to trample upon the saints of the Most High, and say to their souls, bow down that we may go over; and therefore it vexes them to have their hands tied. Note, the liberty of God’s people is a heavy grievance to their enemies.”

  Free or not, God’s people feel a lot like sitting ducks.  When Pharaoh’s army approaches they see them coming and the text says, “they feared greatly.”  They cried out to God.  They mock their own deliverance.  They question their personal, prepared his entire life for this very thing prophet, Moses.  They even wish to go back and be slaves.  This is all quite absurd, really.  These dudes had it all!  God could have done nothing more miraculous, nothing more tender, nothing more amazing than that which he was already doing for them.  Yet, they cower in blinding fear and disbelief.  Again, Henry notes, “As the Egyptians were angry with themselves for the best deed they ever did, so the Israelites were angry with God for the greatest kindness that was ever done them; so gross are the absurdities of unbelief.” 

What must Moses have been thinking?  Like how dense are you people, right?  Can you not see God working here?  Do you not see that cloud?  The fire? Hello.  Anybody in there?   But Moses knows just what to say.  Here is peace in the storm of irrational fear, blasphemous anxiety, and ungodly unbelief:

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” ~Exodus 14:13-14

Be silent.  Be silent!!!  Irrational fear, be silent!  Blasphemous anxiety, be silent!   Ungodly unbelief, be silent!  Those things do not come from God.  They come from Satan.  We must command them silent if we expect God’s deliverance.

When God is leading our lives, we will doubtless go to places we never could have imagined and take detours we never would have expected.  All the while, God faithfully gives us all the information we truly need.  Usually it is simply this: This is for my glory.  You are the very means I am using to make myself known.  Be it in mercy or in wrath, I will be known as the One, True God.  So, Go.  Wait.  Trust.  I am fighting for you.  Silence your fear, stand firm, and watch as I walk you through the impossible.

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I recently attended two sporting events back to back.  Saturday night I spectated my first live MMA fight and Sunday morning I ran the Pittsburgh (half) marathon.  

As a newbie to the one and a veteran to the other, knowing I have a whole summer full of triathlons, drag races, tumbling with tots, and (hopefully) a whole slew of other sports to spectate stretching in front of me, I couldn’t  help but consider the athlete’s heart for a moment.  

What I’ve found true of athletes of every sport and every caliber is that we all start with the very same thing: drive.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that everything we do in life starts with drive; motivation; desire.  Some are naturally driven and others become inspired by the efforts and accomplishments of others.  I guess it’s usually a little of both.  Sometimes losing drives us to train harder and other times winning drives us to stay in it.  

What happens if losing removes our drive, though?  What if winning gets old and the trophies begin to lose their luster?  What do we do when the ones who inspire us cease to play the game?  Where do we start when drive and motivation are somehow absent?  How do we obtain this central force if we’ve not got it? 

For me, my love of the sport(s) has always been more than enough to motivate me to do any number of ridiculous things at 5 a.m.  When you love the sport, winning and losing makes no difference.  Ok, well, it makes some difference.  But it’s really about playing.  When you love the sport, motivational leaders and people who inspire are just that and nothing more.  Their encouragement and ability can be helpful, but the lack thereof is not detrimental to failure or success.  

Nevertheless, even when you love the sport, there are times when drive disappears, motivation slows, and desire wanes.  Where’s the aisle at Walmart for that?  Right.  

Sometimes we just need a break.  Sometimes we need a change.  Sometimes we find something better.  But sometimes we simply need to recognize our condition and remind ourselves why we want to play.  We need to remember the field we grew up in and take a few deep breaths of the hot summer air.  We’ve got to close our eyes, pretend we’re six years old, and think about what it felt like to catch that first fly ball.  Or, if you’re me, close your eyes, pretend you’re seventeen, and remember when the God of all Creation chose me when he was picking up teams.  

Life is not about winning or losing.  Chances are we’re gonna do a whole lot of both.  It’s not about depending on the efforts of the elite to carry us.  And it’s definitely not about giving up when we fail to find our focus for a few fading moments.  No.  I see life like a passionate, amateur athlete sees her sport.  Win, lose, or draw, it is about the sheer benefit of getting to play – not because I always love the standings in my life, but because I love the Giver of it.   

Put me in coach.  I’m ready to play…today.  

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Lessons for the week:

1. How to take a punch.  

2. How not to get hit.  

Even if you’re not into boxing, these are good life lessons to consider.  Evasion trumps Excedrin every time in my book, so I tend to favor the latter.  None the less, we practiced both last week.  

Two things stand out in my mind from our training sessions.  One is the kidney shot that felt like the end of my life, and the other is the sobering instruction on combination punches.  

“Don’t get hit with the first punch.  Because it’s not gonna be just one…the second, third, and fourth are coming right behind it.  If you get hit with a three or four punch combination, you’re done.  Even getting hit with a few hay-makers spread throughout the duration of the fight is better than getting hit consecutively.  Successive punches are the most devastating.  You will fall.”

Before the words even finished leaving Coach’s mouth, the concept was resonating in my heart with a vengeance.  If there’s one lesson I’ve learned the hard way it is that it does not matter how strong you are – if you take one blow after another without recovery time – be it in life or in the ring – you are going down hard eventually.  No one can stand strong forever under that kind of attack.  

I read Job for the better part of last year.  I studied his life in depth.  I desperately wanted to understand the reaction of a godly man to consecutive, devastating, combination blows to his life.  If there was ever a right reaction, Job’s was probably as close as it comes.  And I guess what it came down to in the end was the revelation of his utter inability to change or control anything – despite his diligence; despite his discipline; despite his strength; despite his goodness; despite his work; despite his earnestness; despite his prayers – despite all he had done right.   It all came down to dependence upon that which he could not see, hear, or, for quite a time, even find at all.  That’s one way to eliminate a God complex now isn’t it?  Right.

Perhaps boxing is the same.  I can’t say for sure.  I’ve never been bloody and beaten inside the ring yet.  But I have in life.  So, perhaps, in the end, when you’re spent but still with several rounds to go, perhaps that’s when you learn to depend on someone outside yourself.  Maybe that’s when all the voices stop, all the second guessing subsides, all the questions cease to matter, and you finally begin to truly hear the only one who’s really in your corner anyway.  Maybe that’s when real trust is born.

Ideally, don’t get hit with the first punch.  Practically, train by taking some I-feel-like-I-just-got-hit-by-a-truck taps from your trainer.  Realistically, learn who is really in your corner and how to trust him even when life’s devastating combinations have made you blind, deaf, and dumb to everything you thought you knew.  Perhaps that is where he is truly found.  

Though he slay me, I will hope in him;
    yet I will argue my ways to his face. ~Job 13:15

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Just so that everyone is clear about what sin actually is, Paul makes a list for the Galatians in chapter 5.  Herein, he also lists the fruits of the Spirit.  Again, this is not so much intended to be a list of dos and don’ts (although it is), rather, a plumb-line to gauge where we really are in regards to Christ.  

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. ~Galatians 5:16-24

Little wonder why Paul begins and ends with sexual sin.  Think about that for a moment.  Really let it sink in and consider the implications.  

Four of the actions listed are related to the 7th commandment.  You shall not commit adultery.  We are so severely inclined to do so that Paul wanted to ensure that we could not miss this in regards to our spiritual health.  He wanted Christians to understand that our very salvation hangs in the balance of the choices we make about our sexuality – not just in deed, but most certainly in word and thought as well.  He isn’t just pointing at homosexuality or fornicators here like so many Christians seem to do.  He’s pointing at each and every one of us enjoined in holy matrimony as well.  Surely, nowhere are men and women more impure than inside our own minds.  This warning is sobering, heavy news for the culture in which we live. The sexually impure will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Paul didn’t stutter.  Hear him.    

Two of the actions listed (idolatry and witchcraft) are related to the 1st and 2nd commandments.  Clearly, one cannot worship God if he is actively worshiping something else – namely self, Satan, or stuff.  Again, quite sobering news for we who live in this self-serving, indulgent generation of surplus.  The idolatrous will not inherit the kingdom of God.  

The rest of Paul’s list has to do with offense given to others by us (save drunkenness which is primarily against oneself but can and does certainly lead to offense against others as well.)  We who claim to love God cannot hate our brothers.  Hate-filled abusers will not inherit the kingdom of God.  

These are fearful, sobering warnings.  Oh, how we need the Lord who saves and keeps us to enable us to heed them!

 Matthew Henry writes, “It is not enough to cease to do evil, but we must learn to do well.”  

Paul gives us the alternative to these actions.  We are not simply to avoid sin.  We are to exhibit spiritual fruit in its place.  The question is not “Why?” or “What?”  The question is, “How?” How do we love like Jesus?  How do we have peace in strife?  How do we do good when we are altogether bad?  How do we offer kindness when we are angry?  How

As pleasant and beautiful as they are, these actions and attitudes are neither automatic nor blissfully easy.  Paul tells us to live by the Spirit; walk by the Spirit.  These are his instructions.  It isn’t do and don’t; it’s live and walk.  The only way we can live and walk in the Spirit is by daily death to ourselves.  It is a bloody war complete with compound casualties and corporate crucifixion.  Therefore, the answer is only through Christ.  We cannot do these things apart from him.  We cannot do anything apart from him.  Nor can we stop sinning.  

Live by the Spirit.  Walk by the Spirit.  These are Paul’s instructions regarding proper human behavior, complete with his referral to Our Counselor.  But doing it Paul’s way takes faith, prayer, and a whole lot of full on fighting with a side of blood, sweat, and tears.  Without the Spirit of God we will fail despite any future victories in morality.  With the Spirit of God we will succeed despite any past failures in morality.  

The proof is in the pudding.  Let us consider which list characterizes the gist of our lives and run to our Savior.

 

 

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Midway through week three of learning to box, I’m starting to look a little less like a moron and a little more like a fighter.  Truth be told, I’ve always been a fighter.

“You keep working.  I’m just gonna watch.”

Coach watches while I shadow box.  I hate when he watches.  As if it’s not enough that I’m make-upless with bed head braids, sweating in places I didn’t know I had pores.  Now, I’m punching out a solo performance for the one person who can correct and critique my every wrong move.

“I don’t know if I’m doing this right.”

Now, this is the point where, if I were the coach I’d say something like, “Of course you’re not doing it right, Einstein.  If you were, you wouldn’t need me now would you?”  No such harshness from Mr. Cindric today, though.  

“Don’t worry about that.  It shouldn’t matter to you whether I’m here or not.  It shouldn’t matter if this room is full of people or empty.  Focus.  Keep working.  I have to see what we need to work on.”

“Why does it matter?  I want to not care who’s watching.”  

Must be vanity, I think to myself.  I try to focus on my jabs and lift the weight of his stare off of my vain conscience.  We begin to spar.

“Don’t tire yourself out swingin’.  You’re way too aggressive.”

I try to suspend my disbelief long enough to catch my breath and stammer a half-hearted protest.

You told me to be aggressive!”

“Yes.  But you’ve got wild aggression; reckless aggression.  You gotta get rid of that.  I want to see controlled aggression.  Only take the good shots.  If you have a shot, always take it.  But keep doin’ what you’re doin’ and you won’t last one round.  I can see you’re tired.  I’m waiting.  When you’re spent, I’m gonna blast you.”

He’s right.  I’m wildly aggressive.  I have a way about me that says, “Try me.  I don’t care if I lose.  I’ll die trying to pay the debts my mouth daily makes.”  Yes, I’m the five foot three inch white girl who, when asked by the six foot fight-a-day biggest bully in school if I was afraid of her, stood up in her face and said, “No! I’m not afraid of you.”  Yeah, I got punched.  

It is, I believe the heart of a fighter – a fighter, that is, who is about to be stomped.  Because it takes more than unbridled passion to win.  It takes skill, agility, balance, timing, and precision.

Don’t get me wrong.  Fighters must possess passion.  It’s just that that passion must, like Coach said, be under control.

He tells me not to be so predictable.  “When your opponent expects you to move one way, move another and take ’em out.  Never stand still; always keep moving.  Be a puzzle.  Stay in it.  Don’t ever show me that you’re tired.  Never hunch to catch your breath.  Draw from the sun.  Lift your head.  Keep your hands up.  Don’t advertise your weakness ’cause the second you do, I’m comin’ for you.”

Meanwhile, the dental hygienist in me is just wondering how many days until my two front teeth turn grey from those last two hits I failed to block.  

We cool down and stretch and he continues to offer his wisdom.  “Always wear the white belt.”  He proceeds to instruct me on humility.

I review the session like a ticker tape and hear the voice of God drawing me towards a repentance I’d not understood before.  The charges?  Vanity.  Reckless, wild aggression.  Unbridled passion.  Self-inflicted fatigue and fall out.  Careless lack of self-protection.  Pride and arrogance.  

Always wear the white belt.  I’m half-tempted to tattoo those words on the back of my aching, over-punching hand.  Then again, I’m thinking that might fall under the reckless carelessness I’m trying to put away here.  *Sigh*

What a God I serve!  So willing to stutter and coo at a should-be-grown-up infantile child like me through the aspects of life I can most easily relate to.  

 All this time I’ve been fighting battles in his name.  Right battles!  But with the wrong attitude.  I’m pretty sure he created me to be a fighter.  If nothing else, my track record will prove that much; confrontation is a pill I swallow without a chaser.  No doubt he’s groomed me my entire life to be his full out, no holds barred, freedom fighter.  He’s just now teaching me how I might learn to be a fair one.  I will succeed when I learn to lift my head and only ever draw my tired breath from the Son.

 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. ~1 Timothy 6:12

 

 

 

 

 

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