Get In The Fight

by Jun 26, 2018

It’s like Jesus’ disciples weren’t even in the fight. In Mark 9 they were arguing about which one of them was the greatest, and Jesus tells them that he doesn’t value greatness the way they do. He says that whoever humbles himself and serves is actually the greatest. Then John interrupts him, tells him that they saw some random dude performing miracles in Jesus’ name, but they stopped him because he wasn’t one of them. He wasn’t one of the 12, this elite group, so they told him to stop doing good work for Jesus. These guys were filled with pride. It’s like they weren’t even fighting it!

But then, Jesus tells them to fight. Starting in Mark 9:42, Jesus says to them: “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall away  —  it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and go to hell, the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to fall away, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to fall away, gouge it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” He’s teaching his disciples that to follow him, they’re going to need to make some major life changes. They’re going to have to get some things out of their lives that God hates. They may even have to get things out of their lives that lead to them doing something that God hates. Jesus says it’s actually better to lose a part of our body and not continue to sin, rather than keep our body intact and keep on sinning. Because Jesus says that the person that keeps on sinning, who doesn’t fight sin, actually isn’t Jesus’ follower. And that means that they don’t have the forgiveness the God offers through Jesus. They only have the consequences that their sin deserves. So Jesus is saying fight sin. Don’t stop fighting sin. Part of following Jesus is that we are people now who are IN the fight against sin.

Are you fighting the sin in your life? Are you fighting your unbelief? Are you fighting the ways you worship things instead of worshipping God? There are loads of reasons why we don’t fight. Maybe you haven’t been fighting your sin because…

…you’ve been ignorant about the fact that you needed to. You’ve never realized how big of a deal this is to God. How much your sin offends him and goes against the purpose you were created for. You never knew that Jesus had to die that terrible death on the cross because of your sin. So you just didn’t know it was offensive to God. 

…you’ve been lazy. Fighting sin is really hard. It wasn’t easy for James Franco to cut off his hand in 128 Hours, but it saved his life. It’s easier to give in to sin than to fight it, so maybe you’ve been lazy. 

…you have FOMO (fear of missing out). Everyone else is enjoying this stuff, I don’t want to be left out! Yeah if I watch that show it’s going to tempt me to lust and I’ll probably sin but if I don’t watch it, then I won’t be able to talk to my friends about it. I’ll be that awkward one who is out of the cultural zeitgeist. 

…you’re hiding it, burying it so that no one knows about it. Maybe you love your reputation more than you hate your sin, and you haven’t been fighting it because you don’t want people to know that you have anything to fight. Maybe you’ve never read Proverbs 28: “The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.” 

…you just don’t have a plan. You don’t know how or what it would even look like to start to battle and fight against some of the ugliness and brokenness in your life. 

…you’re not able to fight. You don’t have that new, transformed heart, and you don’t have God’s Spirit, so you’re fighting sin is like pushing a massive boulder up a mountain, just to have it come crashing down every time you think you’re at the top. It’s just hopeless, because your heart hasn’t been changed. 

Wherever you are or aren’t in your fight against sin, there is really good news for all of us. Look at what God promises in Ezekiel 36: “I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.” God promised to take our sinful hearts of stone, change them, and give us new hearts. Soft hearts. Hearts that can fight sin. This is God’s way to enter the fight. Maybe that’s your next step with God today: to admit that you can’t fight the sin and brokenness in your life on your own, and you trust his way for healing, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Maybe you’ve already done that, but you know you haven’t been fighting your sin. Here are some ways you can get in the fight:

The Bible – God said that we are sanctified, made holy, through His Word. So literally by reading, meditation on, memorizing, studying, and loving God’s Word, we fight sin and we win.

Prayer – The way we fight is to confess our brokenness to God and repent of it. We can’t do that without prayer. By praying, we’re actively telling God that we are dependent on him and asking him for help. We cannot fight sin without prayer.

Community – Fighting sin must be done in community; by followers of Jesus reading the Bible together, praying together, forgiving each other and pointing each other to the forgiveness we have in Jesus. Sin is a burden that we are carrying on our journey, and Galatians says that we should carry each other’s burdens.

Serving – Serving God is actually a way to fight sin. Because by serving God, we build healthy rhythms into our lives that help kick sin out. In Ephesians 4, Paul tells the thief to stop stealing, but instead to work with his hands doing an honest job so that he’ll get an income and be able to share it with people in need. By serving, they are battling against their sin.

God has given us so many things to fight sin with. We have them. Jesus himself has already ultimately defeated our sin on the cross, and now he’s told us to fight it through faith, confession, and repentance. 

So let’s fight! Let’s battle! Let’s win! Let’s enjoy God together!