In the chapter entitled, “Choose Grace” in my book “Ten Life Choices” I state that grace ends the cycle of striving and indulging because it is no longer me but Christ in and through me that wins the victory! Self-effort, striving, trying hard, accountability, etc., will not be enough for me to overcome the power of the flesh. It is surrendering to the power of Christ in me, not my own efforts.
In the Old Testament we have a great visual example of this principle. After the ten plagues, Pharaoh let the Hebrew slaves leave Egypt with Moses. God led the Hebrews to the shores of the Red Sea. As they camped there, Pharaoh changed his mind and pursued them for the purpose of taking them back into slavery. When Moses and the people saw the army coming and realized the Red Sea was blocking their way forward, they panicked but God said “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14).
Wow! That is fantastic! God in His grace has promised to fight all of my battles for me and has instructed me to simply “be still”. Or has He? Let’s take a closer look.
Exodus 14 reveals that God actually instructed Moses to lead the people to the brink of the Red Sea (v2) AND God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, prompting him to pursue the Hebrew slaves (v4). This was NOT Moses’ battle, it was NOT the Hebrew’s battle, it was God’s battle. He set the whole thing up so that He could be glorified (v4). That is why the people of Israel did not need to do anything, God always fights His own battles!
So if God leads a Pastor to start a ministry for those struggling with addiction and the church board opposes it, the Pastor can trust God to fight His battle. However, if a businessman makes some poor choices and ends up in trouble with the IRS, He cannot necessarily sit still and expect God to fight this battle for him, it is not God’s battle.
Christ in us opposes our fleshly patterns and desires us to surrender to His Spirit in us. This is His battle and He will fight it. The battles I get in to with other people because of choices made out of my flesh are my battles and I may need to do some things to make things right, I cannot just “be still”.
So if you are seeking to do God’s will, asking God to help you overcome a fleshly pattern you can “be still” and trust the Spirit of God in you to guide you toward spiritual choices. But, if you have made some poor choices and are battling with the consequences, you can’t just camp out by the Red Sea and wait for God to make things right. You might have to own your poor choices, make amends and do some damage control. The good news is that when we choose to do those things, we are doing the will of God and He jumps in the battle with us!
The Lord Will Fight for You
Original Artwork by Patti Massey