Tuesday, September 1, 2015
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When our children were young, my wife and I toured the Civil War Battlefield at Gettysburg. And then, years later, we visited it again and Chad, one of our team members, was with us. My wife and Chad are both from "the South", so my wife enjoyed this trip to Gettysburg more than the previous one, because you've got two Confederates versus one Yank there. I was outnumbered. We had a pretty memorable time retracing the battle across those hills and those fields where a lot of our nation's future was decided.
Now, we didn't reenact any of the battles, I'm glad to say. But we did stand there thoughtfully on some pretty unexceptional pieces of ground that contained the battles on those three violent days in 1863: Little Round Top, Culp's Hill, Devil's Den, the Wheatfield. It was amazing to realize that so much was riding on the combat choices made by the commanding officers. Some of their judgments have brought them praise over the years, and others have brought criticism. Of course we've got perfect hindsight now on the battles. But it's obvious that some of the choices that decided the battles were about which ground to fight for. Some thought the ground that didn't matter much was worth fighting for. Others fought for ground that turned out to be very worth the fight.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Fighting the Right Battles."
It's a military fact that choosing the right battleground and avoiding the ground that doesn't matter can determine the outcome of the battle. And that's not just military battles. Choosing which battles to fight may determine how well you fare on the battlefield you're on right now.
Listen to our word for today from the Word of God, 2 Samuel 5:18. David is facing the Philistines. And now it says this: "Now the Philistines had come and spread out, and David inquired of the Lord, 'Shall I go out and attack the Philistines? Will You hand them over to me?' The Lord answered him, 'Go, for I will surely hand the Philistines over to you.'"
They came another time. Verse 22, "Once more the Philistines came and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, 'Do not go straight up.'" Now, what we're looking at here is a major secret of David's success. He checked with the Lord to see if this was a battle God wanted him to fight. That's a good idea for you and me too.
Parenting, for example. Parents are people who really need this kind of discernment. Because of our concern for our kids, we have a tendency to fight every battle. We try to get everything right in their life. The problem is we lose our ability to decide which ground is worth the battle and which ground isn't. An effective parent doesn't start fighting over every issue that comes along. You've got to let some of them go, and you save your ammunition for the battles that really count.
As a mom or dad, it's smart to follow David's victory plan; check with the Lord to see if He wants you to fight that particular battle. Parents who are constantly trying to fix their kids make their kids immune to that. When you make every issue a major battle, their ears, their hearts turn hard; they're closed when you're trying to address a real issue. So choose your battleground. Not all the ground is strategic ground worth fighting for.
This battlefield discernment can make the difference with a husband or wife, too. You know, deal with the issues that really matter. Those are the ones you can confront. Don't start shooting over every issue. Sometimes just bite your tongue or your mate won't be listening when it really, really matters.
Friends with friends, leaders with those that are leading, we all need to do this daily and ask, "Lord, is this a battle I should get into or not?" And even when it comes to our work for the Lord, we need to look at every opportunity in light of this leading. "Lord, I know this is a great opportunity, but is this a battle you want me in? I can't fight them all. Is this one for me or not?
If you don't prayerfully choose your battleground, your forces are strung out over so many battles; your ammunition is firing at so many targets you're not going to win. Save yourself to fight for the strategic ground. Hold your fire for the battles that Jesus wants you to fight.