I was born a fighter.
From my earliest moments, I made my presence known and turned my parents’ world upside down. I was strong-willed. I was loud. I was bold. I was a force to be reckoned with.
And I still am all those things…but as a result of walking with Jesus for many years, He has softened those hard edges, redeemed the ugly and replaced it with grace and beauty, and healed so many of my broken places.
I don’t have victory one hundred percent of the time, obviously, but I do walk as one who knows that I am deeply loved and completely forgiven by the magnificent One who rescued me.
Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes. I was once told that I talk about Jesus too much. Well, I can’t talk about Him enough. He is everything to me. He is the very breath that I breathe and He has totally and completely captured my heart, soul, and mind.
I am a sinner saved by radical, earth-shattering grace. I will never get over that extraordinary truth for the rest of my days on this earth or on into eternity.
Last night, I watched a YouTube video of Beth’s Moore’s talk at Passion 2014 earlier this year. She quoted I Timothy 6:12, which encourages us to “fight the good fight of faith.”
Beth taught that in the original Greek, the word good also means “beautiful.”
Fight the beautiful fight of faith.
The words beautiful and fight don’t really go together, do they? What is beautiful about a battle and a struggle?
It can only be a beautiful fight because it leads you deeper into the heart of the Beautiful One Himself, Jesus.
Is your life is hard right now? Are there things that Jesus has allowed that you do not understand? Are you left feeling confused, sad, discouraged, angry, hurt? Because after all, He could have stopped it, couldn’t He?
You, my friend, have a fight on your hands.
What are you going to do? How are you going to fight? Will you choose the ugly fight or the beautiful fight?
The ugly fight looks like this: You will complain to anyone within the sound of your voice at the unjust treatment you are receiving. You will live with a heaviness of heart as you contemplate how unfair God is being to you. You will constantly rehearse the problem in your mind. You will look at the lives of others who are in a seemingly happy season and allow envy and jealousy to darken your heart. You will seek escape from your reality through books, TV, movies, or games. You will host a lavish pity party for yourself every night. You might stop going to church. Your Bible will remain unopened and begin collecting dust. You hold onto unforgiveness like a drowning person would cling to a life preserver. You grow very angry with God because you choose to believe the insidious and evil lies of the enemy that your God doesn’t care and has abandoned you.
How? Because you are fighting against Jesus rather than fighting alongside Him.
I have fought the ugly fight plenty of times. It never ends well. Trust me on this. Don’t start down that path. It can only end in defeat and misery and tremendous damage can be done.
On the other hand, the beautiful fight looks like this: Life gets hard. You do not retreat. You do not surrender. You do not live in denial. You determine at the outset that you will face this trial head on and you will walk straight through the middle of it until you reach the other side. You are undaunted and determined.
Yet, you are hurting. And that is normal. Never once does Jesus ask you to bury your feelings and pretend they don’t exist. He invites you to share them—no matter how ugly—with Him. He can take it. He cares. He listens. He understands. (After all, He endured everything we did and more when He walked this earth. He knows.).
So, wrestle it out with Him. Take off the mask, lose the platitudes and the pretty prayers and get real.
If this seems irreverent to you, begin to read the Psalms and you will see David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, openly expresses every emotion to his God. David was a man of tremendous passion. He never held anything back and we don’t have to either.
You have to put those emotions somewhere. So give them to your Savior, who can bear the full weight of them all. This is a process and one that you might have to keep going back to. That’s okay. This is how you drain the poison that, if allowed to fester, will destroy you.
This is where the beautiful fight really begins: Despite your feelings, you decide to walk in faith. Hebrews 11:1 declares faith to be “perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.” You make the decision to place the truth of God’s Word over what you see and what you feel. You choose forgiveness toward those who have hurt you, knowing that Jesus will deal with them on your behalf. You trust His loving heart and His kind intention, no matter what happens. You embrace gratitude and in so doing, realize that there is beauty and light and joy to be found even on the darkest of days. You refuse to give in to fear and self-pity. You will continue to do good and minister to others. You trade your weakness for His strength. You step into your God-given role as more than a conqueror. You accept His gift of peace to quiet your troubled heart. You open His Word and you cling to His promises. Every single time you get knocked down, you get back up. You develop an eternal perspective rather than a temporal one, knowing that you cannot yet see the big picture of God’s grand redemptive plan. You take comfort in the knowledge that His ways are not your ways…but His ways are good and right and perfect. You keep a running dialogue with Jesus, who is with you always. When the enemy comes at you with his lies, you silence him by speaking God’s promises over your situation…thus making you his worst nightmare.
You are taking your place alongside Jesus and watching as He fights on your behalf.
The result of this beautiful fight? Light and love triumph.
When the season passes, you will still be standing. You will have grown in intimacy with Jesus because you have experienced Him in ways you never have before. You will be transformed into His likeness. You will have seen firsthand how He gives beauty for ashes and is able to redeem even the worst situation for His glory.
And in His eyes, you will be a beautiful warrior.
The choice is yours. Make the right one. You will never regret it.