For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. ~2 Corinthians 10:4.
Go to any bar on a Saturday night and you'll find a guy regaling his buddies about the time he kicked somebody's butt, or at least thought about it. Whether the butt-kicking ever ensued is beside the point. The idea of putting someone in his place is all that matters. It's enticing to think that by my mere thought of hurting you, I can summon powers within to destroy you if needed. These tales are more than just mere puffery. These stories express a strong, genuine inward desire to put down the bad guy. But,
Who is our enemy?
Before I peg the blame squarely on guys for telling outrageous would-be fight stories, I have to 'fess up. I, myself, just yesterday told a story about a time when I got into a tussle of my own. And then I caught myself. I realized in telling that story I was just trying to make myself look tough. But, in reality, my strength comes from the Lord. (Psalm 28:7). In reality, my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26). In reality, my fight is not with people. And in reality, I kick the real culprit's butt every single day.
See, I had fallen for a trick of the enemy by relying on my own strength to 'resolve' a dispute, rather than God's strength. The enemy would have us fight flesh, when the real culprits are the principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world and the spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12). You can't fight spirit with flesh. Even if we were to knock out that combative guy physically, we couldn't knock out the spiritual influences driving that situation in our own strength. But, in Christ, we can.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. ~ 1 John 4:4.
In the beginning, God gave mankind dominion over all the earth.
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. ~Genesis 1:26.
We still have dominion today. In the Gospel accounts, Jesus told his disciples:
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. ~ Luke 10:19.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. ~Mark 16:17-18.
In what is now known as the "Great Commission," Jesus said:
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. ~Matthew 28:16-20.
We have authority over the enemy. If you feel like you've been pushed around and you're fighting the urge to fight people - Stop! Look. And Listen to that still, small voice. Go on a reconnaissance mission with God and check out where the real enemy is hiding. I'm not advocating that you look over your shoulder at every turn, but when flare-ups do occur (or even before they do), check in with God about how you can be praying for that situation. One of my personal favorite prayers is "let every hidden thing be revealed."
For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. ~Mark 4:22.
This is what I call a "dangerous prayer," because God alone knows what will come to light. It's not always pretty, but I'd rather deal and heal than ignore it and hurt.
The next time you find yourself at a bar or hanging out among friends and someone launches into a fight story, tell them a victorious tale about how our fight is not with people and lavish them with testimonies of how, through prayer, you and God overcame the works of the enemy. Tell them how what the enemy intended for evil, God has turned around for good. (Genesis 50:20). That, my friends, is not mere puffery. That's a real victory!
And they overcame him (the enemy) by the by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony. ~Revelation 12:11.
Go in the strength of the Lord today! (Psalm 71:16).