How to Pick a Fight
One of my wedding gifts (10 years or so ago) looked like a super cool ashtray. When I opened it, I remember twisting my head to the side and wondering what we would do with an ashtray. We could take up smoking or exchange it.
Next day, I located the store on the gift box and asked the store clerk if the gift was an ashtray. She scanned the item and informed me it was a cuff-link holder. She didn’t seem pleased with me. Perhaps it was because I was wearing jeans and tennis shoes or perhaps it was because I had asked an insulting question. Not sure, but I decided to peruse the store in my tennis for other possible options. Once I realized that the cuff-link holder was one of the least expensive items in this couture boutique, I decided the ashtray could double as a soap dish and went home with it.
Apparently, the store clerk wasn’t finished. A few days later, my husband received a phone call from his old buddy. Turns out, his buddy’s wife worked at that store in another state and received a “courtesy” phone call from the Dallas location to inform her that a cuff-link holder would not be the optimal gift purchase for our family in the future.
After getting over my disbelief, my heart raced with anger. Thems were fight’n words!
“Who does this?” So, naturally I began plotting a counterattack. I brainstormed the most effective way to have her little couture pants fired. A letter? A phone call to her manager? I was frothing for the last word.
But was she worth a fight?
Aren’t there times in life when it is actually smarter, even stronger, to lay down arms? Like when a husband says no; do I keep pushing back? Or when a boyfriend leaves; do we persist by hanging on? Or when a mean girl at the office starts a passive aggressive gossip war; how do we know when to walk away and when to engage life’s battles?
David knew. There were definitive times when he ran to his battle line (1 Sam 17:48). His bully, Goliath, cursed David and God, and David met him head on with his own fight’n words like, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…” (1 Sam 17:45). David didn’t cross into combat to show that he was the marvelous Avenger. No, he stood up to Goliath with nothing more than an anointed mouth and a rock. He defended God’s honor by putting the smack down on Goliath. So romantic!
Turns out, there were other times in David’s life, when he opted not to fight. A few years later, David had the “pleasure” of working for a man, Nabal, [whose name literally means “Fool” in Hebrew]. Nabal insulted David publically. He scoffed, “Who is David?…” basically calling him a royal nobody (1 Sam 25:10). David was livid to be insulted by a man he served, so he responded in kind and announced he would kill Nabal’s entire household in revenge. (And David had the chops to make good on his threat.) Fortunately, a wise woman intervened.
Ironically, the woman was Nabal’s wife, Abigail. She wielded her femininity and persuaded David to let this one go. Abigail reminded David that he was the future king of Israel and that Nabal was not worth tarnishing his royal hands (1 Sam 25:31). David listened to her counsel and backed down. He was strong enough to take Nabal out, but smart enough to disarm. How romantic!
So, how do we pick our battles?
One of the most understated weapons of warfare is the wisdom to know if and when to fight. We start by asking ourselves: Would I be engaging for God’s glory or my own? There is certainly a “season for war and a season for peace,” a time to gird up and other times when it’s smarter, stronger, and … more spiritual to actually lay down arms (Ecc 3:8).
It wasn’t my battle to lash back at Ms. Couture Store Clerk. I had to lay that lesser battle down. On the other hand, it is one of my battles to sound the alarm for racial segregation loitering in the church. It’s also worth my energy to challenge women and myself toward purity. If we don’t, then Satan can take us out, which is why Shabby Chic Ministries recently spoke out against the “mommy pornography” book blowing up the New York Times best seller list. The “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy and upcoming feature film are fifty different shades of evil. It is not of our God; pornography opens the gateway to lust and fear, so do not download it out of curiosity; do not laugh it off. Flee it! That’s worth a feminine call to arms.
For those who are facing the choice whether to pick up or lay down arms in any realm of your life, ask God for wisdom. Some things are worth stepping up or speaking out for His Kingdom and other battles are distractions. Imagine the difference like a line with self-glory on one side and God’s glory on the other.
Which one are we fighting for?
We don’t have to defend ourselves, because Jesus proved His worth and ours at the cross. He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). In Him, we are complete with absolutely nothing left to prove (James 1:2-5).
That frees us from the approval of people or the need to be right or justified. We are being formed into the image of Christ, so we are free to take up arms for His glory, and we are also free to disarm from defending our own name… to the Nabals or store clerks of life.
Are you free?
Pray with me…
Father, we ask for the wisdom to know when to rise up and rebel against injustice in our world and the sin in our own hearts. We also ask for the discernment of Abigail to see which battles are not worth our fight because they are not for Your glory. Teach us this line, Jesus. Help us see the difference between proving self and proving Your glory. And then use our femininity to uniquely influence those around us to know when to run to their Kingdom battle lines and when to lay their weapons down…
To talk to God a bit more through music, take a listen to “White Flag” by Chris Tomlin.
For more on a David and Abigail’s story or knowing when to engage the battle of life, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the DVD teaching or check out Wielding Femininity to the Glory of God study with music CD or download the digital study from iTunes, Nook, or Kindle, or Sony.