This post was written in the midst of our world experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. Though it discusses topics specific to this time, its insights and scriptures can be appreciated at any time.
I have always hated fighting. I don’t like to watch fighting as a sport on television, hear about it on the news, witness it in real life, or even consider the possibility of it in a relationship.
Running from the fight is my go-to response and this has often contributed to my fear of rejection due to pain from past abuse.
Running from challenges and from fighting spiritually is not only selfish, but it has also kept me from growing in my faith. Over time I have learned from the Bible how to fight spiritually rather than running away from God and others.
He would not let go of God, becoming dependent upon him and his blessings to overcome his sins and the struggles he had experienced.
 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.  After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.  So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”  The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered.  Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”Genesis 32:22-28 NIV
He did not let go of God until he moved God to gain his blessing.
As seen with Jacob, fighting spiritually takes a willingness to see our weakness, face our fears, focus on God, and then look for opportunities to connect with others.
See our weakness
Several years ago I realized that my marriage had become dead and distant, I was hardened and bitter. I needed to fight spiritually by telling God my feelings of hurt, sadness, and fear and how I felt helpless to change it.
I have always struggled to be a clear communicator; so in my marriage, I settled for just letting my wife do most of the talking.
By ignoring my personal weaknesses in an attempt to appear strong and maintain peace, I had grown more unbelieving and more resistant to communicate.
Finally, I made a decision to start fighting spiritually by sharing about my weakness in communicating.
I asked God to help me be honest with my wife and talk daily about my feelings and our relationship instead of just situations or circumstances.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
This scripture gave me hope that if I was honest about my weakness with God, He would give me strength. I gained confidence that I could have difficult conversations and resolve arguments because God would give me the power to overcome.
Our marriage has grown closer as we have been able to have conversations that can be difficult but also rewarding.
- Are you aware of the weaknesses that you have in building relationships? What are the weaknesses that you need God’s help with?
- Have you made a decision to pray and be honest with God about these weaknesses?
- Who are your friends that you will share these with so they can help you in relying on God to fight spiritually?
Face our fears
Recently fears of contracting the coronavirus have been affecting many of us. As we hear of people who have died from this virus along with the speculation of increasing cases, we can be overwhelmed, troubled, and exhausted.
I spent the first several weeks of sheltering in place feeling positive, but I also realized I was starting to feel afraid and needed to face my fears so that I could gain spiritual strength and fight to keep my faith growing.
 When we arrived in Macedonia there was no rest for us; outside, trouble was on every hand and all around us; within us, our hearts were full of dread and fear.  Then God who cheers those who are discouraged refreshed us by the arrival of Titus.2 Corinthians 7:5-6 TLB
The Christians in Macedonia were experiencing troubles, and they were also facing fears in their own hearts. God encouraged them by bringing Titus to help their faith be strong and to let them know they would not be fighting alone.
I’m so grateful for the spiritual friendships that God has brought into my life to help my faith when I’m fighting through troubles. Not having to fight alone is comforting and helps me persevere.
- What are fears that you have that you are avoiding or acting like you are not afraid of?
- How long have you ignored these fears?
- Who are friends that you can talk to about these fears to face them with God?
Focus on God
We have had the incredible opportunity to foster-adopt both of our amazing daughters. Although I am forever grateful for the opportunity, it was not an easy process. We went through months of parenting classes, first aid courses, paperwork, and interviews, followed by years of waiting.
The process brought out fears I had buried about being rejected through my own childhood, and I was starting to fear that my wife and I would be rejected as parents.
I had to learn to fight spiritually by focusing on God and giving my fears to God in prayer rather than giving in to them and giving up.
 When I needed the Lord, I looked for Him; I called out to Him, and He heard me and responded. He came and rescued me from everything that made me so afraid.Psalm 34:4 Voice
The Bible teaches us that when we look to God for help and tell him what makes us afraid, he hears our prayers and responds to us. God will fight for our freedom from fears and our rescue when we learn to fight spiritually through prayer.
- What are the challenges you are experiencing that you are tempted to give up on?
- Where are places where you can pray and call out to God about these challenges?
- Who is someone that you can pray with to encourage you and support you?
Look for opportunities
When my oldest daughter was in high school, she started doing bible studies with her friends to learn about how to build a relationship with God. She felt discouraged by her learning disabilities and fearful about her future but was focusing on herself rather than focusing on God.
I could see her struggle, and I felt for her but didn’t see how I could help. I learned that I could fight for her spiritually by looking for opportunities to relate and share my own weaknesses, fears, and challenges to turn to God.
We were able to talk and pray together while I was able to teach her how to fight spiritually. Eventually, she learned to use her artistic talents to find ways to express her feelings and fears to God.
What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.
And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.2 Corinthians 1:3-4 TLB
God comforts us and strengthens us when we turn to him and fight spiritually. He also gives us opportunities to share that spiritual help with others.
When you turn to God with whatever difficulties, weaknesses, and fears you may have, God can help you know how to comfort others in the same areas as he is comforting you.
- What is an experience when you were comforted by God during a difficult situation that you can tell someone about to give them hope from God?
- Who is someone that you can spend time with to support them during a challenging situation they are experiencing now?
- What Scriptures can you share with others to encourage them to fight spiritually?