The two most important things in my life are my faith and my family—in that order.
And both of those areas of my life seem to be constantly threatened.
The other night, I happened to catch a few scenes from one of my favorite movies: Jaws. With the onset of beach season right around the corner, I suppose the networks wanted to conveniently remind me of the childhood nightmares that I’ve been trying to suppress for twenty-five years.
There was a particular scene that brought some thoughts to mind concerning a variety of important issues—issues that affect our social and cultural future. Issues that, curiously, no one seems to be talking about.
In a climatic scene from the movie, Richard Dreyfuss’s character, a marine biologist named Matt Hooper, warns the mayor of Amity Island about the impending danger that lurks in the surrounding waters: a twenty-five-foot, man-eating great white shark.
Like most of us when the problem doesn’t affect him personally, the mayor ignores the issue and even mocks the young scientist. Hooper responds in frustration and delivers this classic line:
“You’re going to ignore this particular problem until it swims up and bites you on the ass!”
Pardon the cuss, but I’ve reached a point where the reference is necessary.
A World at War
I usually refrain from being overdramatic, but I’m starting to believe that we live in a world at war. A war that many of us turn a blind eye to.
The battle is different for all of us, but we are all fighting something.
We fight private demons like addiction and depression. Or, we fight battles on social media against racial injustice, ISIS, and sexuality using our words as our swords.
We use fists, harsh words, and our social status as weapons to get our way—to prove our agenda. Or, we choose the safer, and pardon the pun, political play: we toe the party line pointing fingers across at the supposed problem.
We dress up the enemy in plain clothes and we call them ISIS, democrat, republican, black, white, rich, poor, liberal, conservative, Duggar or Jenner because it helps us explain the things we don’t understand.
But what if our traditional methods are useless because our traditional foes aren’t our opponents at all?
The Good Fight
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter around 60 AD that spoke of this war. Curiously, that same war still rages today, nearly 2,000 years later. As Paul wrote, this war is “not against flesh and blood,” but is against a more sinister, spiritual force.
Paul knew that our true foe wants to pit us against each other as a way to keep us from knowing the truth about our real enemy, one who wants to keep us ineffective by allowing us to believe that there is no enemy after all. And, he knew that this enemy couldn’t be fought with traditional weapons.
So, in his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul gives us the weapons that we should use to fight this battle between light and dark—good and evil. He calls it the armor of God.
“The belt of truth…the breastplate of righteousness…feet fitted with a readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace…the shield of faith…the helmet of salvation…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:14-17
Men, these are our unseen weapons for our unseen enemy.
And as our ship is sinking with the shark fast approaching, Paul gives us one final bullet in the chamber:
“Pray on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests.” – Ephesians 6:18
You may see this as over-spiritualized and sensational, but I’m convinced of this unseen battle. I see it in the lives of those around me, I see it in my own life, and I see it in the lives of my three sons.
In light of our uncertain and ever-changing world, we have been given these weapons to cling to. The question is, are we using them?
Fathers and men alike, as the leaders of our children, leaders of our families, and leaders in our community, it starts with us. It is time for us to take our rightful role as hero and victor. But rather than miss the target altogether, I implore you to fight the right battle with the right weapons.
Because you fight lies with the truth, evil with righteousness, complacency with readiness, uncertainty with faith, and the darkness of death with the light of salvation.
And above all, you pray like your life depends on it–because it does.
Draw your swords.
It’s time to fight.
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About the Author
Matt Ham is primarily a husband and father to three boys. As an author and speaker, he is dedicated to guiding others toward living a rich life. Through his RICH Principles he helps folks uncover fullness, identifying real treasure and discovering true joy and contentment in both their professional and personal lives.
You can order a limited hardback version of the book at www.redefinerich.com
To contact Matt or inquire about his speaking schedule, visit www.mattham.com/speaking