War. Fight. Abortion. Murder.
These are words that immediately trigger emotional thoughts and responses, and right now in Christianity, we are hearing a lot of words like these. They are the sorts of words that conjure up strong emotions and make people want to take up spiritual arms and fight. But how do we fight these battles?
Monday night, I was speaking at Bethany Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey. The worship team that night was singing the song “Surrounded (Fight My Battles),” and it got me thinking about how I fight both the battles raging outward and inward. How I fight the battles around me can be summed up in three words: integrity, generosity and humility. I want all my outward actions to be built on these principles, which are built on the three commands of Jesus Christ.
- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37).
- “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39b).
- “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).
It can be challenging to love others when emotions run high in the outward battles of our lives, but our best war-room strategy is to remain rooted and grounded in our love for God. The decision to follow Christ’s command to love Him first with all our heart, soul, mind and strength directly impacts our integrity and effectiveness. It determines how we live the rest of our life and how we will be known to everyone we encounter. I want Mikel French to be known as a man of integrity—integrity with God and, as a result, integrity with people. This has opened doors for me “that no one can shut” (Rev. 3:8b) and made me victorious in Him.
Christ’s second commandment—to love your neighbor as yourself—is overwhelmingly known as generosity. Most of us are generous with ourselves, and we should be. We are generous with forgiveness toward ourselves. We are generous with compassion toward ourselves. We are generous with our money toward ourselves. But Christ asks that we be as generous with our neighbors as we are generous to ourselves. The world wants and needs to see a spirit of generous forgiveness, love and provision from the people who love “God, who gives to all men liberally and without criticism” (James 1:5b). I have seen generosity turn victims into victors in battle over and over again in my life and ministry.
The third commandment deals with humility. God wants us to walk humbly before each other and before Him. As a matter of fact, our humility and love for our brothers and sisters reveal our love and humility for God. When we submit to Him, it brings our life into alignment with His will, plan and purposes and allows us to become part of His divine, unfailing battle strategy.
I believe we who are Christians must stand up publicly, even in a time when we are told by some in society that they don’t want to hear from the church. They don’t want to hear from the Bible, and they think believers have nothing valid to say. But there are real issues in the world, and we followers of Christ must speak out, as we are the only ones who hold the truth of God’s love and Word in our hearts. However, it is crucial that we do not speak out until we’ve shut the door and been in the closet of prayer. Do not speak out until you have determined to make the love of God the bedrock of a life of integrity, to love your neighbor generously and to approach God and others with humility. When you do this, you allow room for the Holy Spirit to move mightily through you to break chains, shatter falsehoods and reveal truth to the hearts of men and women.
These three commandments are also the secret to fighting—and winning—the internal battles in your own life. When you choose to love the Lord your God above all else, He is able to speak His truth directly to your heart. Jesus says in Matthew 6:6, “But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Think of your heart as the closet of your life; it is the place where you and God can face the truth together and where He can speak directly to you about what you are facing. The rhema words He shares with you in these moments will make you an overcomer.
I believe 2019 is a year of radical obedience, which begins with a radical seed of faith. Allow your faith to bear the fruit of integrity, generosity and humility in your life, and watch God clear the field of battle that stretches out before you.
I pray that you have a marvelous new month. If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are beautiful. I see Jesus in you. Have an awesome week!