Should I Fight or be Still?
by Debbie Holloway
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently. Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! (Psalms 119:4)
Do you often find yourself confused, unsure of how to best live according to God’s will? This is a struggle for me. Should I speak or stay silent? Will this action offend or edify? Is this a time for action or inaction? Should I fight? Or should I stay still?
Though every situation is different and every person unique, the Bible paints both stillness and action as pleasing to the LORD, depending on the variables at hand.
One example is when the Israelites were fleeing from Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The LORD had fought for them in Egypt by displaying horrors and miracles through Aaron and Moses. Finally their oppressors relented and the Israelites were free – but not for long. Pharaoh changed his mind, and Exodus tells the account of their suspenseful chase after the newly freed slaves. “What have you done to us?” the people cried to Moses (Exodus 14:11). They knew there was nothing they could do to protect themselves from the mighty King of Egypt.
But then God made his will known through Moses. No, the Israelites would not be able to defeat Pharaoh.
But the LORD did not ask them to.
“The LORD will fight for you,” Moses proclaimed. “You need only to be still.”
But there are other times, are there not? Times when we have the choice to stretch out our hands to either right or wrong, and there is no in-between. Paul writes to Timothy,
“But you, man of God…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:11-12).
Sometimes we must fight. And make no mistake; this is not a direct call to fist-fights or military service. It is a direct command to use the Ephesians 6:10. We must fight to keep righteousness in our own lives, refusing choices which lead to sin and death. We must fight for love, which means making really hard choices and overcoming our natural selfish inclinations. We must fight for endurance, keeping promises, covenants, and our integrity in a way worthy of Christ Jesus.
Sometimes God calls us to fight, and sometimes he tells us to be still. How can we decipher it?
Sometimes it will be hard. But from these passages, I would risk saying that God knows when we are facing a foe that’s too big for us. Sometimes we ache and long to fight, but we know the battle is beyond us, out of our hands. It is those times we must remember that God is a God of the weak, the poor, and the broken. The LORD will fight for you. You need only to be still.
Other times we can and must fight. When we are faced with injustice, and we have some measure of control, we must fight for the small ones. When we are faced with personal crises, we must fight for our children, parents, marriages, relationships, churches – not against them. We must use every weapon in our spiritual arsenals to build the Kingdom of God and protect it from the ever-watchful forces of darkness. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance. Fight the good fight.
Intersecting Faith and Life: What are you struggling with now in your life, or your walk with the LORD? Spend some time in prayer to see whether God wants you to fight, or lay down your weapons and give the battle to him.