“Who Am I Fighting?”

1/31/18 – Pastor Brian’s Blog

After this Sunday, there are those who are looking forward to the talk about football ending.  Longing for the end of those Sunday afternoons, Sunday nights, Monday nights and Thursday nights sitting around the TV watching the NFL.  They cannot wait to have a reprieve from football at least for a few months.  Maybe you are one of those people that are just tired of hearing about the Super Bowl, tired of watching multimillion dollar players kneeling at the national anthem because they don’t like what our country has become.  Maybe your team is not even in the Super Bowl, so you will not even watch the game. Or maybe, you are a Patriots hater and will only watch the game if for no other reason than to see them lose!

But no matter how you feel about the Super Bowl, at the end of the game there will be one team ready to sing the chorus of this #1 song from 1977…

We are the champions, my friends,

And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.

We are the champions.

We are the champions.

No time for losers

‘Cause we are the champions of the world.

There is little doubt that the players from both teams have trained hard to make it to this game.  They have practiced, they have made sacrifices, they have watched video tape, they have studied and prepared so that they probably know their enemy as well as they know themselves.  They do all this so that at the end of this fight, this game on Sunday, they can lift the Lombardi trophy and say, “We are the champions, my friends.”

As Christians we too are in a fight, and it is far more than just a game.  We are in a fight for our lives and it is imperative that we too know our opponent.  If we are not willing to make sacrifices and make church a priority, if we are not willing to watch video tape (read & study the Bible), if we are not willing to apply what the coach (God) tells us, then we have allowed ourselves to become vulnerable.

Our fight is not against that person that cut us off on the highway, our fight is not against that person that got the promotion over us, our fight is not against our spouse who wants to leave us, or the child who does not want to be with us.  Our fight is against an opponent that wants to kill us… For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world. Ephesians 6:12

The Apostle Paul knew what it was like to be in a fight.  Paul had many people that disliked him, people that wanted to do him harm.  He had people that he thought were his friends that would turn on him.  He had people that made plans to kill him and he had people that would follow him from city to city to preach a false gospel.  But through it all, Paul never lost focus on who his real enemy was: Satan.

Paul never lost sight of the fact that when people attacked him or told lies about him, he understood that this physical attacker was not the real opponent.  The real opponent was the “huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.”

On Sunday, it will be obvious who the opponent is. For the Patriots, it is the Eagles and for the Eagles, it is the Patriots.  For us, often it is not that obvious.  We will tend to get upset with that person we know, we may fight the circumstances we can see, but when we do that, often our attention is moved from the deeper, spiritual dimension of the problem.  And when that happens, we end up fighting against the wrong thing.

When you are attacked, mistreated, taken advantage of, when lies are said about you, Jesus tells us don’t go after the person, but pray for them… But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44

Often the person we see as our opponent is really a person who is in bondage to sin.  Instead of retaliating against them, instead of trying to get even with them, instead of running around the countryside trying to defend yourself, you should immediately and sincerely pray for them.  Pray that God would intercede and release them from the power and influence of your real enemy, “the evil rulers of the unseen world.”

The Patriots and Eagles are very aware of their opponent.  They know who they are fighting, and they are prepared to go onto the field and beat their opponent.  As Christians we would be wise to do the same.  Know your opponent, the devil; know that there is spiritual warfare going on all around you.  This fight is real and potentially destructive to the people that we care about the most.

If we know our enemy, it will protect us from becoming bitter, from being unforgiving, from lashing out at the wrong people.  Remember, our hope of winning this battle is not by attacking, but by putting our hope in the reality that Christ died, so that we would be victors… You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

In Sunday’s game, we can only guess who will win.  As Christians, when we allow Christ to fight our battles, then we are the ones that can sing… “We are the champions of the world!”