Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fightin’ To Win! By Janey Goude

My children fight—all four of them! 

The winner of a sibling skirmish is declared when one convinces the others they are wrong. Back and forth they dispute, each declaration louder than the last. An onlooker would conclude the most deafening debater wins. 

Unfortunately, I have to admit these juvenile arguments are modeled after adult examples. I like to be right! Too often I have to pull myself away from a quarrel and sheepishly apologize for trying to prove my point. 

What about when someone’s life is at stake? Surely then I should prove I’m right. As Christians we’re charged with the Great Commission: to make disciples of all the nations. If someone doesn’t believe in Christ, eternity is worth fighting for. Recently, John 1:45-49 made me rethink my reason for fighting.

When Jesus invites Philip to follow Him, he doesn’t need any convincing. He’s ready to go. In fact, he wants to take someone along! Excitedly, Philip goes to Nathaniel to tell him the Good News. But Nathaniel is a hard sell.

“Can anything good come from [Nazareth]?” he scoffs.

Nathaniel under the tree by J.J. Tissot
Nathaniel’s response would have simultaneously deflated my sails and lit my fire. I would have been ready to defend Jesus’ honor. I just shared with my friend that I met the One about whom the prophets and Moses wrote. Moses – you know, the guy who carved the Ten Commandments in stone after being face-to-face with God on the mountain! I met the Messiah, for goodness’ sake!

But, Philip is cool. He doesn’t argue with Nathaniel. He simply says, “Come and see.” 

A brilliant comeback really. Who can turn down a challenge? 

At this point, if I were Philip I’d be looking forward to Jesus calling out Nathaniel for disrespecting Him and His hometown of Nazareth. But, I would have been disappointed.

When Jesus sees Nathaniel, He doesn’t condemn him for his judgmental attitude. He doesn’t criticize him for doubting. He has nothing negative to say at all. He looks at Nathaniel and compliments him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”

When Nathaniel asks Jesus how He knew, Jesus answer convinces Nathaniel that He is the Christ. Just a compliment, a question and an answer. No argument.

I would have debated Nathaniel and perhaps prevented him from ever getting to Jesus. When I weighed my actions against Philip’s, I realized I wouldn’t have been fighting for Jesus’ honor at all; I would have been arguing to prove I was right about Jesus being the Son of God. 

I get caught up in wanting to be right and forget that Jesus can stand on His own merits. My only responsibility is to tell others about Jesus and to show them Jesus’ love through my actions. It’s Jesus’ job to convince them of the Truth. What a relief!

Janey Goude and her husband of twenty years homeschool their four children, ranging from elementary school to high school. She enjoys exploring God’s open doors in writing, editing, and collaboration. Read her blog at Community Advance.

 1000 Gifts--So thankful that I don't need to defend God but simply share Him with others.

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  1. Janey,

    Wonderful devotion. I too have to think about my motivation and if the path I'm taking is the best one, especially as it relates to unbelievers. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Mari,
      Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts. Glad I'm not alone!

  2. Hi neighbor from Ann's...Oh I have known this too...when we have to be right...we lose love. great post. blessings~

    1. Excellent perspective, ells. I'd rather love than be right. Thanks!

  3. Replies
    1. Appreciate your comment, Denise! Thanks.

  4. I raised four and I can still hear a few arguments! Ha! Great post - very thought provoking.

    1. Thanks, Kathleen. Occasionally I think about how quiet it will be when they're gone, and that makes me sad. Good to know I'll still be able to hear them!

  5. My father used to say, "Convince a man against his will, he's of the same opinion still."

    I've found that saying to be esepcially true in areas of faith. Logical deductive reasoning can be a wonderful tool for explaining and defending the good news to someone who wants to believe but has questions. They are completely worthless in engaging someone who simply wants to debate, or has no agreed uopon basis for discussion.

    You might enjoy my recent discussion of this topic in a post,

    Thanks and God bless!

  6. Joe,

    I've heard that sentiment - I think from my grandfather!

    Thanks for the link to the other discussion. Good food for thought. I just left a comment.

  7. Wonderful post, my friend! You are such an inspiration! Luv ya!

  8. Janey, thanks for sharing your devotion. It is nice to be reminded that it is not up to us to convince people to accept Jesus, all we can do is share the gospel with them and He does the rest of the work. We are just the sowers who sow the seeds and water them. Jesus is the harvester.
    Deborah H. Bateman-Author

    1. Beautifully said Deborah. Thanks for sharing.


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