Monday, October 22, 2012

What is The Relentless Fight?

"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you..." - 1 Corinthians 15:1 (ESV)

You've just failed. You're discouraged and feeling guilt and shame wash over you.

As you begin to retrace your steps, you realize (so obviously) how you made the same mistakes and wound up back in the same cesspool of your same besetting sin. So frustrating!

So you resolve to fight... "Yeah, I'm gonna fight. Fight this sin. Fight it HARDER. More accountability, more Scripture, more prayer, more books and sermons and seminars and conferences. More discipline! I'm just too weak, right? Need to be sober-minded, need to be more vigilant, need more boundaries or protection or something."

Let me say this as gently as I can: You're fighting the wrong battle, Christian.

All that guilt, all that shame, all that anger and frustration is motivating you to fight your sin harder. And sure, fighting sin is good, but it is SECONDARY. If you expend your energies fighting your sin, you will wear yourself out. You will lose energy and motivation long before you see your sin dead at your feet. It's immensely difficult to pick the sword back up and run into battle when your guilt and shame and discouragement are so overwhelming.

Here's the primary battle: Fighting to remember the Gospel. 

That is FIRST. That's the most important fight. That's the only one that really matters in the end. The fight to remember the gospel: That's the larger war. Fighting the sin? Heck, that's just the little battle skirmishes here and there. They come, they go. But remembering the GOSPEL is the crucial victory that will turn the tide.

Here's what it practically looks like: Let your guilt DRIVE you to the cross to receive the forgiveness that comes through Christ's blood (Ephesians 1:7). Let your shame DRIVE you to the cross to receive the cleansing and washing that comes through Christ's blood (1 John 1:7, Revelation 7:14). Run back to the HUGE promises that are found in Scripture about your new identity (2 Corinthians 5:17), about your adoption by grace as a son (Ephesians 1:5), about how God WILL bring about your sanctification (Philippians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:24), and about how God's grace super-abounds greater than your sin (Romans 5:20). Repeat these truths back to yourself. Scream them out loud!! Claim them with defiance. Call a brother or sister and beg them to preach the gospel of salvation for sinners to your sinful heart! Pray that God restores to you the joy of your salvation! (Psalm 51:12) Fight this battle relentlessly, with endurance and passion and everything in you. Fight like heaven.

So what is The Relentless Fight? It's the never-ending, hardcore, raging battle for REMEMBERING THE GOSPEL. Once the gospel has been secured, the encouragement and endurance and motivation to keep fighting will return to you, but this time with all the POWER and JOY of the Cross fueling it. It's primarily a fight to believe the gospel. Not to fight the sin. That's why the motto and anthem of The Relentless Fight is: Remember the Gospel, Keep Fighting.

Remember the Gospel brothers and sisters,
The Relentless Fight

Monday, October 15, 2012

You Are A Champion In Christ

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV)

Have you seen the Old Spice commercials on YouTube for their new Champion deodorant and body wash? They're pretty funny. so make sure to check out the video below if you haven't seen them yet.

In the commercials, a puny little guy listens to the deodorant speak to him encouragements and truths about himself. As he listens and repeats these he actually BECOMES what he is speaking. And he grows a beard by the end of swimming a lap. It's hilarious.

But there's a larger spiritual lesson that Old Spice is picturing here very well: We tend to believe what we listen to.

And if we listen to the Scriptures, they will have a profound effect on how we live our lives. In fact, as we listen and repeat God's truth, we will actually BECOME what we are speaking - not because hearing and speaking it has any power - but because what God says IS TRUE, and if we line ourselves up with that truth and live in the truth, it will work! (There's nothing magical about "speaking things into existence", the Bible is not The Secret, c'mon...)

So here's an example:
You're hanging out in your dorm doing some studies late at night, and you're stressing about a few items due that week. Traditionally this has been a difficult time for you, because you're tempted to go to [insert favorite idol here: food, video games, porn, cutting, Facebook, alcohol] as your stress-reliever and comforter. Satan starts telling you that it's no use resisting this temptation, because you're a failure anyway, you're an addict, you're a slave to your sin, and you my-as-well just have a little fun. How do you respond? Speak the truth of God's Word, like Romans 6:6 "We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin." You are NOT a slave to sin! You are FREE! As you repeat these truths, you are re-energized in your fight against sin, and call a friend to pray with you....
So here's the application: plug your headphones into the Bible, and start repeating back the truth you're hearing. Renew your mind as Paul says in Romans 12:2. Believe what God says, that "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37), believe that God has set aside our record of debts and taken care of it through the Cross (Colossians 2:14), and believe that God has equipped you with everything you need to fight your sin and live in godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Listen and speak and believe God's truth... and then you will live it.

We are the champions,
The Relentless Fight

PS: The Old Spice ad can be viewed on YouTube below. Enjoy.

T-shirts are Here!

Great news! Just received The Relentless Fight t-shirts.

Want one? Here's how to get it:
  1. Fill out the order form. And if you would, please take a minute to give your feedback on two simple questions about the blog. Click: T-shirt Order Form Link
  2. Cost is $13. We'll figure out the best way to get you your shirt and for you to make payment. Low-tech :) 
If there's a ton of interest and we run out of shirts, then we'll make a second round order!

Wearing the reminder,
The Relentless Fight

Monday, October 1, 2012

Punch Satan in the Face

But He answered, "It is written..." - Matthew 4:4

How do you fight temptation? It seems to come to us when we're weakest. Sure, we talk a good game when we're feeling strong. But when that temptation comes? Same failure. Again.

Jesus gives us a great example in Matthew 4, when Satan comes to Him with three temptations as He's fasting in the wilderness. How does Jesus respond? Three times He says, "It is written" and quotes specific Scripture that counteracts the lie with God's truth. Eventually Satan leaves Him.

Very simply, let's take a lesson from Jesus for when we face temptation. There's two parts to this strategy:

  1. Figure out what your specific temptation is. It's not always clear, so think about it and write it down. Maybe ask a friend to help you see what it is. 
  2. Research what specific Scripture speaks to that temptation (search on or ask a godly friend who knows the Bible). Think about it. Write those Scriptures down. Memorize them.
As you're thinking through your temptations and your Scriptures, you can pair them up to look like this:

So next time you're tempted? Punch Satan in the face. Quote specific Scripture and make him run. To quote E.V. Hill, "hit 'em!!".

Keep Punching,
The Relentless Fight