I went to high school with this kid named Evan. The best way I can describe him is that he hated everything good, and loved everything bad.
School? He hated it. Marijuana? He had many arguments for why it was awesome. Arguing? He never let an opportunity get past him. God? Evan hated him with a passion.
Evan also knew that I loved God, and every time we were in the same room, he would seek me out and put forth his best effort to prove to me why God did not exist.
I fought right back with my best arguments and verses and prepared speeches. I prayed for him and asked the Holy Spirit to give me the words to speak. But no matter what I said, Evan was a brick wall. Nothing got through to him. We fought in circles, and neither of us would budge.
I believe that God may some day open Evan’s heart, and maybe on that day, Evan will remember something that I said, but I believe that when I was fighting with my best arguments, Satan was blocking the truth from reaching him.
It was around that time that I realized God does not need me to fight for him. I am not his best warrior. I am not going to win a “war” by arguing someone to death.
No, it is no good for me to fight God’s battles.
God needs me to love. He needs me to be his hands and feet and eyes and heart. God needs me to loved steadfastly, unconditionally, with everything that I am.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
God’s greatest command for me is to love. Love. Love. Love.
I remember when Peter tried to fight for Jesus. It was the night when Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane after Judas betrayed him with a kiss.
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matthew 26:47-54
Jesus wouldn’t let Peter fight for him. That was not what he came to do. The Pharisees came with Roman guards who came with swords and clubs, but Jesus responded with love.
But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. Luke 22:51
Jesus did not need Peter to fight for him, and he did not want Peter to fight for him. He could have called thousands of angels to rescue him, but he did not. Jesus, who conquered sin and death, and saved the entirety of mankind, did not need Peter to fight for him.
I struggle with when to be bold in my faith and speak up, and when I should step down and let God work in hearts that are not ready. I cannot fight anyone toward Jesus, and many times, fighting is what pushes people away from knowing God. My opinions on homosexuality, the next presidential candidate, and even things that I am more passionate about, like abortion — though I do believe we should strive to uphold goodness, it is not my place to judge because of these issues, and it is not my place to fight against them. It is my place to love in spite of what I believe about them.
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Titus 3:9
There will always be people like Evan who are looking for a fight, and there will always be people who are watching every argument and every action. You may have an expectation of yourself to have all of the answers, but God’s expectation for you is much simpler: love steadfastly, unconditionally, and with everything that you are.