I’ve been blessed recently by Ellie Holcomb’s “Fighting Words”. It’s an anthem that calls us to pick up the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God and to fix our eyes on Jesus. It inspires this first reflection on an episode in my life where I needed fighting words.
As a cross-cultural worker in Central Asia, I was no stranger to talk of battles and fighting. I was of course keen to avoid the fighting that comes from living in a warzone but was realistic enough to know that the risks could only be minimised, not negated. There was no avoiding the risk of kidnapping or being collateral damage in a rocket attack, suicide explosion, or a military intervention. I’ll always remember my two teammates killed in 2014.
Yet my biggest battle in Central Asia came from none of those. It came in my bedroom, snuggled under my eiderdown. I awoke suddenly one evening, utterly convinced that Christianity was a lie. Through my tears, the doubts bubbled over, “What arrogance to believe there’s only one way to God!” “How ridiculous to believe a man could be God!” “As if someone could die and come back to life.” As I contemplated the implications of living by this newfound insight, I was terrified. This was what I’d built my life around! I couldn’t live the lie of continuing as a Christian, but it would mean such loss of meaning in my life, the lack of comfort in death, and rejection by my Christian friends. I was heartbroken.
I was so caught up in my fears that I couldn’t recognise that this also was a battle: spiritual attack. Yet somehow, I launched back to the only weapon that made sense: the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. I opened my Bible and read and re-read 1 Corinthians 15, reminding myself that the proof of the resurrection is irrefutable (15:5-8), that Christ is supreme overall dominion, authority and power (15:24-27), resulting in that ultimate battle cry, “Where O death is your victory… But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In that dark night, I felt too weak even to believe, but I had already been given the tool I needed to resist: my fighting words.
“Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Eph 6:17
Ruth lives in Central Asia (currently on leave), serving the Great Healer as a psychologist and sharing about Him.