Monday, December 8, 2014

Pick Your Battles - Martin Wiles

God told Jehoshaphat; But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD's victory.  II Chronicles 20:17 NLT

A preacher’s son and an earring. I wondered how they’d mesh. 

“Dad, can I get my ear pierced?” My son was small when the request came. Earrings for men and boys were stylish. I had no particular convictions about him having one other than the fact I wondered how my church members would respond. I decided to avoid the battle with my son and chance one with others who might disagree with my decision. I carted him off to the local mall, found an ear piercing pagoda, and let them poke a hole in his ear. No one made a big deal about it—other than my parents, and life was good. 

Before long, however, he decided he didn’t want it anymore, and that was the end of it. Knowing my son’s tendency to change his mind about things, his decision didn’t surprise me. There were several reasons I could have suggested to him for not having an earring, but I chose not to fight that particular battle.

One of Israel’s kings was also able to avoid a battle. Life is filled with continuous battles, so how do I know which ones to fight and which ones to avoid? I choose to fight the battles of morality. What God declares as right—not necessarily someone’s opinion, is worth skirmishing over. Whether a young boy should wear an earring was a matter of opinion for me. I was more concerned about teaching him right from wrong in the big issues of life. A hole in his body was far less significant than an addiction that could ravage it.  

I also choose to fight the battle to love. God says love him with all my heart and others as myself. Loving God and others requires time, attention, inconveniences, sacrifices, and learning. Communication is difficult, and loving those unlike me can be challenging, but they are the right battles to engage in. 

Opportunities to do battle will come repeatedly. Choose them carefully?

Prayer: Father, give us wisdom to choose the battles that uphold Your honor and defend Your principles. 

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