Fighting spirit

The most common command in the Bible is ‘Do not fear.’ It occurs 366 times in the Bible (one for each day and an extra one to cover leap years).

(From Romans 8:32) “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

How is it imaginable that God should withhold, after this, spirituals or temporals, from his people? How shall he not call them effectually, justify them freely, sanctify them thoroughly, and glorify them eternally? How shall he not clothe them, feed them, protect and deliver them? Surely if he would not spare this own Son one stroke, one tear, one groan, one sigh, one circumstance of misery, it can never be imagined that ever he should, after this, deny or withhold from his people, for whose sake all this was suffered, any mercies, any comforts, any privilege (spiritual or temporal) which is good for them.

John Flavel (a Puritan pastor from 300+ years ago)

Source: The Works of John Flavel, 1988 reprint, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, p.418

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was always driven by his passion to see God’s Kingdom come on earth in the here and now. Nearing the end of his life, he gave last ever public address in London’s Royal Albert Hall, on 9th May 1912, and ended his speech with these words: “While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight. I’ll fight to the very end.” William Booth did just that: a few days after giving this speech he died and entered into glory, no doubt to hear those words: “Well done, good and faithful servant (…) Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Cited in Different Eyes: The Art Of Living Beautifully by Steve Chalke and Alan Mann, p.103

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Winston Churchill (1874-1965), from his speech to the British Nation in June 1940


I have hoped, I have planned, I have striven,
To the will I have added the deed;
The best that was in me I’ve given,
I’ve prayed, but God would not heed.

I have dared and reached only disaster’
I have battled and broken my lance;
I am bruised by a pitiless master
That the weak and the timid call chance.

I am old, I am bent, I am cheated
Of all that Youth urged me to win;
But name me not with the defeated
For tomorrow again, I begin!

S. E. Kiser

A young violinist was giving a concert one day in front of a large crowd. He ended his concert with a flourish, and all the people stood up and applauded, shouting, “Bravo! Bravo! What a performance!” But the young man put his head down. As the people continued to clap, his eyes began to fill with tears. There was no smile on his face.

All of a sudden as the applause began to die, an old man sitting up in the balcony stood up and began to clap. As soon as the violinist saw that, a smile came across his face. He wiped the tears from his eyes. He smiled and held up his violin and walked off stage.

A man up in the wings said, “How come you were sad when the people stood up, but when that old man stood up, you became glad again?”

“Because the old man was my violin teacher,” the young musician explained, “and unless he stood up, my concert would have been a failure, because he is the only one who knows all the nuances of the music I played. He knows exactly how each piece is supposed to be played. It does not matter whether the people stand and applaud. I want to know if my teacher is going to stand and applaud.”

My friend, unless God is standing and applauding, we really haven’t done anything. Don’t be fooled by people’s applause. Make sure that Jesus Christ says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Tony Evans

Tony Evans, Time To Get Serious, 1995, Illinois: Crossway Books, p.193

If God is for us who can be against us?

Romans 8:31 NIV

Rise Up Above The Masses: To successfully launch a space rocket it takes a massive initial surge of power to lift the rocket off the ground and send it soaring upwards. In fact, the majority of energy (fuel) is spent driving the rocket through the earth’s gravitational pull that would otherwise hold it back. However, as soon as the rocket has broken free of the earth’s atmosphere, it then becomes fairly easy sailing, in comparison.

The same is true when you try to rise up above the masses, when you want to shake off the negative influences of the people around you because you chose to soar upwards, towards success. Initially, the hardest part – where you have to spend the most energy – is in breaking free from the negative influences that would otherwise hold you back. But as soon as you do break free, the rest of the journey is easy sailing in comparison. You just have to make sure when you make that initial decision, that you then stick with the programme and don’t allow others to force you to abandon your take off or abort your mission.

Analogy adapted from an idea by Zig Ziglar

Prepare for war a long time, so that you might win more easily.

Publilius Syrus (c. 43BC)

Don’t give in, dig in. Don’t give up, follow up.

“Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bare ourselves that, if the British Empire lasts for a thousand years, men will say; this was their finest hour.”

Winston Churchill (as the battle of Britain loomed)

“Always take the offensive. Never dig in.”

General George S. Patton (1885-1945), US military commander

“When life knocks you down, try to fall on your back because if you can look up, you can get up.”

Les Brown (motivational speaker and author)