Skip to main content

I have not yet begun to fight!

If fear is cultivated it will become stronger, if faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery. 
(John Paul Jones)

These words were spoken by an American naval Captain who lived in the 1700's - words that remain as true today as they were when they were spoken. A lot of things attempt to create a culture of fear around each of us today - wars, rumors of wars, deadly viruses, and unprecedented disasters caused by outlandish weather fronts. We could grow quite weary trying to fight off the fear, but rather than weary ourselves by attempting to fight it off, let's work to cultivate faith instead. The more we cultivate our faith - or allow Christ to cultivate it within us - the less fearful things will intimidate us!

‘You’re my servant, serving on my side. I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’ Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. (Isaiah 41:10)

If we are 'serving on his side' then we have nothing to fear. He won't allow us to fall, nor will he allow panic to consume us. Do you know what panic really is? It is a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons. Maybe this is why God reminds us not to panic - because he knows how well 'fear' is reproduced. It can become rampant in a split second and do you know what panic does? It paralyzes people. Rather than escaping what causes you the greatest amount of fear, you are held in place attempting to deal with it.

Look at the three promises here - he'll give us strength, help us, and hold us steady because he has a firm grip on us. Have you ever heard someone tell another person to 'get a grip' in a moment where panic is taking hold? It is because they have lost their hold on things - they cannot 'grip' because they let go of something that gave them footing. The good news is that God not only gives us footing - he holds us there when our grip is slipping! Maybe what we need to recall when fear begins to create a moment or two of panic are these three promises.

As Jones said, cultivate faith and fear will have no inroad. He was probably made most famous for his words, "I have not yet begun to fight!" - words he did not take lightly, nor did he fail to live by them each and every day. Wouldn't it be great if we faced our worst fears with that same attitude? To look them squarely in the eye and proclaim firmly that we have not yet begun to fight? If you are like me, you might be a bit of a scrapper, but you don't like the longer battles. 

Take heart in knowing this - God is right there alongside in the scraps and the battles - so we have no need to fear. Build up your faith - he'll give you strength when you need it. Stand in your faith - he'll help in ways we didn't even realize we needed help. Overcome by your faith because he is holding you steady when all else seems to be wavering around you! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,