Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Craig Groeschel's new book, Fight: Winning the Battles that Matter Most (Zondervan, 2013).
Do you know how powerful you really are as a man? You may sometimes feel weak in the face of life’s demands and pressures, but God has created you in His image, placing the powerful heart of warrior within you. You’ve been made to fight for what’s right.
It’s only when you take on the battles that God wants you to fight – about issues that have eternal value – that you can truly come alive as a man. Here’s how you can fight and win the battles that matter most:
Join the spiritual war around you. A war between the good and evil sides of the spiritual realm is taking place around you constantly. If you don’t actively engage in spiritual battles, you’ll be especially vulnerable to evil attacks that can harm you and negatively impact every part of your life. Don’t settle for sitting on the sidelines of fights when God wants you to be on the front lines, helping to overcome evil with good. Rather than focusing on your weaknesses, focus on God, who stands ready to empower you to be strong in every battle you face. Pray for the courage and help you need to fight spiritual battles every day. As you do, expect God to transform you into a stronger man who becomes more like Jesus Christ every day.
Fight for causes that are greater than yourself. God is looking for men who are willing to join His redemptive work in this fallen world, and God hopes that you’ll be one of them. Look beyond the immediate concerns of your own life and take advantage of the opportunities God has given you to fight for causes that have more far-reaching significance, such as: integrity, courage, justice, compassion, and spiritual truth.
Put your God-given strengths to use in the world. Don’t waste the gifts that God has given you to use in serving Him and loving the people around you. Pray for the wisdom to discern the best specific ways you can put your gifts into action to make the world a better place.
Fight against three dangerous attitudes. Lust says, “I want it.” Entitlement says, “I deserve it.” Pride says, “I can handle it.” But these three attitudes are spiritually dangerous, because they can trick you into trading the power God has given you for temptations that can lead you to sin and weaken yourself. Fight against those attitudes by humbly admitting the reality of your human vulnerabilities and weaknesses and relying on God’s strength in every situation. Fight lust by wanting God more than anything lesser. Fight entitlement by keeping in mind that the only thing you truly deserve as a sinner is death, but God has graciously given you life and blessings that you don’t deserve because of Jesus’ death on the Cross for your sins. Fight pride by recognizing that you can’t really handle any situation without God’s help.
Choose to be led by the Holy Spirit rather than your emotions. Your emotions are unreliable because they reflect only a limited perspective on your life and they’re constantly changing according to your circumstances. But you can always rely on the Holy Spirit to give you reliable guidance that reflects God’s complete and unchanging wisdom. So refuse to base your daily decisions on emotions (such as anger, pride, anxiety, and sorrow). Instead, ask the Holy Spirit to meet you where you are and give you the wisdom you need in every situation.
Watch out for small compromises that can lead to big destruction. Whenever you face the temptation to make a small moral compromise, remember that doing so sets you heading in the wrong direction in life, making it easier to gradually move farther away from God until you find yourself sinning in bigger ways that can destroy you. So avoid small compromises as often as you can, and after you make a mistake, correct your course as soon as possible by confessing your sin, repenting of it, and receiving God’s forgiveness and help to overcome the sin.
Choose your battles wisely. Rather than depleting your energy and time fighting battles that don’t have eternal value (such as seeing how well you can play a sport or how fast you can rise up the corporate ladder), focus most of your strength on leading the people around you into righteousness. Don’t settle for being strong at what doesn’t last and weak at what does last. Fight for what matters most.
Put on the full armor of God. Prepare yourself well to fight evil with good by putting on: the helmet of salvation (deriving confidence from the fact that your relationship with Jesus makes you right with God), the breastplate of righteousness (relying on the power of Jesus’ righteousness at work within you), shield of faith (believing what God says about who you are), and the belt of truth (standing boldly on God’s truth to resist the lies in this fallen world). Stand on the gospel of peace (relying on God’s redemptive power working through your life as you serve) and wield the sword of the Spirit (using the Bible’s truths as weapons to fight for good purposes by applying them to your life).
Learn from your mistakes and failures. Don’t let get stuck in regret, guilt, shame, anger, self-pity, or despair after you experience failure or make a mistake. Instead, learn from what you’ve gone through by repenting of your wrong decisions, seeking God’s guidance for the future, and moving forward while trusting God each step of the way. Keep in mind that no matter how badly you may have failed in the past, God still wants to work through your life to accomplish good purposes in the world.
Surrender your life to God every day. Make a daily habit of surrendering your own plans to God, inviting God to use your life each day to accomplish His plans for you (which are greater than what you could imagine on your own). As God shows you which battles He wants you to fight, do so in the confidence that God will use your life in ways that will powerfully impact the world.
Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv, a pace-setting multi-campus church, and creator of the popular and free YouVersion Bible App. He is the author of several books, including Soul Detox, Weird, The Christian Atheist and It. Craig, his wife, Amy, and their six children live in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the new Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. Visit her website at: whitneyhopler.naiwe.com.
Publication date: November 7, 2013