Fighting The Wrong Battle
First of all, please do not forget that our Documentary Premier/Fundraiser is coming up on Friday May 21 at 7:00pm at Murray Hill Theatre. This is our first fundraising event in over a year, and we are hoping to get as many people there as possible.
Today's "Theology Thursday" blog post about fighting the wrong battles came to mind this past Tuesday night as I was watching Sophie and Elijah's soccer game. I watched Sophie get into the middle of everything a couple of times and Elijah almost scored a goal, though when we told him that he almost scored he clearly had no idea what we were referring to.
The point is, these games are very fun and not very competitive at all, and I love watching them play. Of course, this is the Pre-k/Kindergarten league so they should not be competitive. But as I sat there watching, I realized that in just a couple of years, they are going to play sports just like I did growing up. It is going to get competitive and be more about winning than anything else.
This is not an "anti-competition" blog at all. In fact, I love to watch and play sports, I will annoy even the calmest of people to win at Scattegories, and I like the idea of comparing work that I do with others which can be both a positive and a negative. The problem is how easily we can become all-consumed by things that, in the long run, do not matter.
As humans, we are essentially born on a battlefield. As followers of Christ, our battle is between our sinful nature and our desire to follow Jesus. For those of you who are not Christians, the battle is for your eternity. This is the only war worth joining and therefore the only battles worth fighting.
However, as sinners, we have been convinced to fight "pseudo battles" here on earth. As people who were born with a true calling and a true purpose, we often put our passion and our time into other things that mean nothing rather than into the things that mean everything. We are born to fight, but our biggest problem seems to be choosing the right battle to join. Let me explain:
- Sports. We can so easily convince ourselves that the "fake battles" that are fought on college campuses every Saturday in the fall, on little league fields all throughout the year, and wherever else we play and watch games give our lives purpose. But It's Not True! If the purpose of my life is to be a really good athlete, then I have truly lived one of the saddest lives possible. If I am teaching my children that the battle they should fight every day is the one that helps them become better athletes, I am leading them into a life that does not matter, and a life with no real purpose.
- Money. There is a battle to get more and more money so that we can get more and more stuff and then retire so that we can spend more and more of our time doing nothing to then want nothing more but to have something to do. We go into battle every single day just thinking how we can acquire wealth so that we can be happy. We move up the ladder however we can, putting ourselves first, and trying to make sure we get what we deserve. But the true battle is not for money, it is for eternity. I wonder how many souls have been lost because we got so caught up in fighting for every cent and every promotion that we forget the people who sit next to us, who manage us, and who are managed by us need Jesus. When are we going to fight for them?
- Academics. Just like sports, academics is one of the quickest and easiest ways to join the wrong battle. I can admit that there have been times that I focused on the academic lives of our kids in Haiti more than their spiritual lives. But think about what we teach our children. They wake up early to go to school for 7 hours just to come home and focus on school again. We push them to do their best, unless their best is not good enough, in which case we push them to do more. So our kids fight every single day to get into the right college, to take the right AP tests, to make the "Gifted" program, and to do everything they possibly can for the academic lives and futures. How sad is it when we teach our kids that their purpose in life is their grades, it's no wonder that such a high percentage of high school church attenders stop going to church in college...
Maybe the greatest lie satan and our sinful nature have ever told us is that our battlefield is here on earth. Whether it be the ball field, our place of work, our school, or anything in between, we have been conditioned to fight the wrong battles at the expense of eternity. We have been deceived into believing that who won the UF-UGA is more important than whether or not our best friend knows Jesus. We have been deceived into believing that it is more important for our son or daughter to be a great ballplayer than a great winner of souls.
Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
My challenge for myself and for anyone else reading this is to join the right battle!
Let's stop pouring our lives into the battles that mean absolutely nothing and turn to the GOD who saved us. Let's please stop teaching our children that the school, the baseball field, the office, or the football stadium is more important than the ground at the foot of the cross. Let's figure out how to spend more time there and less time on things that don't matter.