“‘Do not be afraid or discouraged….For the battle is not yours, but God’s….You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you….Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged….the LORD will be with you’” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17, NIV).
Immediately I felt the Lord speak to my heart about a few of the “battles” I am trying to fight. They are His—not mine!
What are the wrong battles to fight?
It’s easy to engage in the wrong battles and neglect the ones we are intended to fight. Here are a few of the battles that may distract us:
- battling what someone else thinks about us
- battling to fix or control someone else’s personal struggle
- battling for successful results (when it is God who brings the increase)
- battling to make things work out the way we think they should
What happens when we fight the wrong battles?
We learn an incredible lesson from the prophet, Haggai. He writes to the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. after a 48-year exile in Babylon. The Jews had allowed opposition from surrounding enemies to distract them from their purpose of rebuilding the temple that lay destroyed. Haggai told them:
“Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it….You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house’” (Haggai 1:5-6,9, NIV).
For fifteen years, they allowed the battles with their enemies to bring discouragement and apathy.
- Fighting the wrong battles caused them to lose the right focus, and they became self-focused.
- Fighting the wrong battles caused them to be nonproductive. The harder they worked for themselves, the more futile their efforts were.
- Fighting the wrong battles caused them to neglect the right battle.
What battles should we fight?
1. Fight the good fight of faith
The Apostle Paul told Timothy to “fight the good fight of the faith.” And He told him how to fight it: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:11,12, NIV).
We actively fight the good fight of faith by pursuing those things listed in this verse. When this is the priority in our lives, we find the fulfillment a close relationship with God brings.
2. Fight unhealthy thoughts
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does….We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NIV).
Our enemy is at work planting doubts and temptations; these unhealthy thoughts lead to unhealthy behaviors. But the good news is that we don’t have to allow negative thoughts to remain and affect our behavior. As we pursue God, He gives us discernment and the power to bring every thought under obedience of Christ.
3. Fight apathy and laziness
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, NIV).
We can’t give up! We must keep our eyes on Christ and follow His lead in doing good. He will bring deliverance for every battle in His time!
4. Fight in prayer for others
“[Epaphras] is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Colossians 4:12, NIV).
Many battles are spiritual (Ephesians 6:12). When we wrestle in prayer for others, we are much less likely to wrestle with them in our words, attitudes, or actions. While verbal or emotional wrestling produces wounded relationships, prayer gives God the opportunity fight the battle and bring the best solution.
When we experience emotional and spiritual fatigue, we should take a look at the battles we are fighting. The good fight of faith strengthens us and never leaves us battle-weary. Let’s take our positions, stand firm, and see what the Lord can do!