Worth Fighting Over

by Andy Wood on February 13, 2015

in Ability, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Freedom, Protecting Your Investment

Wrestling

Imagine going to the mailbox and getting a letter – a personal letter – from a famous person.  Not a politician or media darling, but someone who is supremely respected in spiritual circles.  Let’s say for the sake of illustration that it’s a hand-written letter from Billy Graham.

And since I’m making all this up, let’s say you’ve never met Dr. Graham, and are a little surprised he knows you exist, much less knows your address.  But there you are and there in the mailbox is his letter.

After some preliminaries, some kind greetings, Dr. Graham gets around to his reason for writing.  “I want you to know, [insert your name here], that I’ve been struggling lately.”  (Oh… step back… Let’s assume this isn’t a fund raising trick.  Now on with the story…)

Instantly your concern and attention gravitates to these words.  Egads, he’s getting personal! Why is he struggling?  Why is he telling me he’s struggling?  What does his struggle have to do with me?

“This has been going on for some time…”

Wow, this is serious.

“And I’ve been battling this with everything I have.”

He’s not kidding around.

“And the struggle is over you.”

What?  Go back to that last part. You haven’t even met! He can’t be serious.  Can he?  The first and only time he has ever communicated with you, he says he’s in a fight over you?

Now rewind a few years, and that’s exactly what a group of Christians in the town of Colossae read in a letter from the most famous spiritual leader of their day – a man named Paul.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself… (Colossians 2:1-2).

Scenario #2 – you run into someone you respect very highly, but haven’t seen in a long time…

“Hey!” they say.  “How are you?  I’ve really had you on my mind lately, and I’ve been praying for you.”

What a nice thing to say.

“Thanks!” you reply.

“Yeah, it’s been a real struggle.”

Awesome.  Thanks for praying… I think.

Would could possibly make somebody’s prayer for you turn into a throwdown with the devil?  Especially somebody you’ve never even met before?  Whatever it was, this is no idle, casual issue.  Something so endangered these people that, in spite of the great things that were happening in their midst, (and it was pretty awesome), they were in grave danger.

You may be too.

Discouragement

“I am praying that their hearts may be encouraged,” Paul says.  And he was struggling against something to do so.

That something is discouragement, and Paul knew the danger of what he was up against.

So do I. I’ve seen it.  I’ve lived it.  I’ve been sucker-punched because of it.  Discouragement makes fools of us all, if we let it.

Discouragement is about more than just dumpy feelings, although the feelings can certainly be there.  Just as Paul prayed for encouragement of the whole heart – mind, will, and emotions – discouragement is a whole-heart issue as well.  That’s why it’s so hard to pin down.  People try to deal with discouragement by feeling better, but they never address the faulty beliefs that lead to the discouragement.  Or they try to re-educate their minds with encouraging truth, but don’t address the choices they have made to give up.

Regardless of how it may appear in your life, discouragement isn’t a spiritual headache – it’s cancer and it will destroy you.

Division

Paul said something to them about their hearts being knit together in love.  And he mentioned it as having already happened.

So what’s the problem?  Why the struggle?

Because of how easy it is for that to all come unraveled.  One experience of somebody feeling slighted, one (or more than one) expression of fear of change, and here we go. He said. She said.  They said.  We said.  The preacher said…

I quit. You throw a fit. I pout. You shout.

Unity is the one enduring prayer of Jesus that extended to people in this generation, and it remains our most elusive quality and experience.   And the reason He prayed for unity is that He knew that all he has to do to defeat us is to divide us.

My point in all this is that fights are worth fighting over.  The fellowship and relationship are far more important than the issues.  And your enemy isn’t some irritating church member or bush-league preacher.  If something is attacking the unity of the fellowship, this is struggle-worthy – not to be right, but to be united.

Distraction

Paul prayed – struggled in prayer – that they would have a full assurance of understanding.  This kind of assurance is relational, not factual.  They aren’t confident in themselves as the carriers of the knowledge, but in Christ, the object of their knowledge.  Assurance comes from knowing Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

So why was this such a struggle?  Because a little bit of knowledge makes half-idiots out of us all. (Definition of “sophomore” – literally “half-wit” or “wise moron”.)

Paul said the true knowledge is personal because it’s focused on Jesus.  And he knew that all the enemy has to do is turn your attention to some other form of knowledge, and you’re dead meat.

And so he struggled.  He went to war on their behalf.  Because if their focus didn’t remain on Jesus, there were plenty of people hovering around who would turn it on some area of factoid knowledge (starting with useless theology).

The Message Behind the Message

The message behind the message is clear.  Don’t get discouraged.  Don’t get divided.  Don’t get distracted.  And if you do, it isn’t just a problem – it’s war.

And if you encounter somebody else who is discouraged, divided, or distracted, what does that suggest you need to do about it?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando February 14, 2015 at 7:42 am

Amen, Andy! Amen!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..I Love Lucy

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