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I’m a Lover AND a Fighter

I’m a Lover AND a Fighter

Guest Post from Patrick McCrary

The other day I saw a guy wearing a retro-looking screen print t-shirt that read, “I’m a lover, not a fighter.”  I’ve never liked that statement. Not only does it assume a black and white distinction between the two, but our culture often views the fighter as some sort of violent neanderthal, and the lover as refined and enlightened. In reality, true love doesn’t come without a fight. Love behooves a fight. It is not always a physical struggle, love also brings with it emotional and spiritual struggles.

We were made to love, but we were also made for war.  In Ephesians 6, Paul writes:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (ESV)

In the next few verses Paul goes on to detail each piece of the Armor of God and nowhere in it does he mention a windbreaker, flip flops, shorts, or a ball cap. He doesn’t because this is serious business. He talks about the tools of war because he is preparing us for spiritual and emotional warfare. My wife, Tiffany, and I experience this first hand as we tried for years, without success, to get pregnant. Those years felt like eons and they were extremely taxing on us individually and on our marriage. Every single day was a fight to hold on to our dream of having children, to keep communication open between us, and to resist the Devil’s lie that we weren’t good enough to be parents. But we never gave up hope, we clung to Jesus, and to each other. We put on the armor daily. And in October of 2016 our son, Hudson, was born. We fought for our marriage and our family.

Now that God has entrusted me with a family it is my duty to protect their physical wellbeing. I go to great lengths to train, hone my skills and be physically capable of doing so. We have a detailed home defense plan in place. I maintain situational awareness out in public with my family – I’m the sheepdog watching over my flock on the lookout for the wolf. I want to be like Jesus in Revelation 5 where he is described as both a lion and a lamb. I want to be tender and gentle with my family yet fully capable of ferociously ending a threat should the occasion arise.

Jesus is our perfect example of what it means to fight physically and spiritually.  His very birth was an outright declaration of war against sin and death.  In Matthew chapter 21 he was righteously enraged when the people turned the temple into a marketplace. He endured physical torture and took upon himself our sin on the cross and three days later he emerged victorious and sits at the right hand of the Father. The Gospel calls us to die to ourselves, to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. This flies in the face of everything that our inherent depravity wants us to do. Our sin-nature wants the lazy, easy way out.

As a dad and husband, I have absolutely no reservations or fear in physically protecting my family from man or beast. But, it’s also my duty to fight for my family emotionally and spiritually. The idea that love and conflict are mutually exclusive is destroying our society. This is why nearly half of marriages end in divorce, and why over a quarter of children in the US live in an absent father household. Our culture perpetuates the ideas that love comes easy, and struggles aren’t worth the headache. Don’t believe the lie. Choose to be a lover who fights tooth and nail for what is good, and true and beautiful. Anything worth loving is worth fighting for.

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