Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lock Jaw

My brother and I have a relationship different than most brothers in the sense that we grew up in different places, yet still grew up together.  However, one thing we have like most brothers is a sense of rambunction and fight. My brother has always had the strength and I, I always had the mouth.  I spent the first few years I could talk, air born, due to quips and cutting tongue.  As I got older there wasn't as much of a challenge for my brother to beat me up as brothers do, so he started bringing over his friends to beat me up.

It didn't matter if they were twice as tall or twice my weight ( which wasn't much back then) He would pit me up against all these people twice my age and the crazy thing was, I was winning. There I was six or seven years old beating up twelve and thirteen year olds who came up against me, and I WAS FEARLESS!  There was one kid that held me by the hands and sat on my legs as he did that thing where you spit a little bit and slurp it back up ( you know, that really gross thing kids do ) I tried with all my might to break free but this enemy was just too much. I sat there for a good ten minutes until, as my brother describes the story " a light clicked on inside my head and the biggest grin ever spread across my face". As sook as this kid retracted the spit up into his mouth, I lunged forward with all the might my tiny body could muster and I cracked my foreheat into the bridge of this kids nose. He staggered back bleding all over moms rug yelling about how he thought I broke his nose, and my brother just looked at this kid and said "I told you man, my brother is a fighter, he's tough"

A year later I lost my father.  All the confidence within me and the drive left too. I lost my fight. It took a long time for me to get the strength to get out of bed, let alone stand up to those who would be resolute in my opposition.  I just wanted to shy away from the world and in a sense, Just die.
As a kid, I was lost without that covering of my father. I lost the greatest form of strenght that gave me the heart to fight.

Some years later, my brother introduced me to my Heavenly Father. The Creator. God.  He told me of sin and redemption and spoke of a God who would never leave me or forsake me. As I accepted this premise, a God bigger than the defeat that I have known, bigger than death itself, my confidence slowly began to return to me.  I began to stand again. The fight slowly started to return to me.

I admit that it took me some time to transition froma physical fight into a spiritual one. There was one thanksgiving when I was about fifteen. My brother was in town and we were in the livingroom and began wrestling. The house shook like the thunder at the sound of him and I clashing in a battle. My brother was able to menuver around me and get me into a sleeper hold. "Tap out" he demanded as I struggled to breath. "Never" I choked out as he tightened his grip. " You're not getting out of this, Tap out" he said " NO!" I exclaimed as the corners of my vision began to fade to black at the loss of oxegen. "KANE STOP KILLING YOUR BROTHER AND BOTH OF YOU COME EAT!!!" Mom yelled from the dining room.  from thta point on, my brother had a respect for something in me. He called a sense of lock jaw, like a pit bull when it bites. It clamsp down and it doesn't let go.  I would have let him knock me unconcieous than surrender.


Fighting in a spiritual sense is funny because the only way to really do it, is to surrender. When walking in my own confidence, I still had a desire to be there spiritually on my strength and my wisdom for other people. I relate to Peter who is this divout follow of  Jesus who has the revelation that Jesus is the Messiah, then in the next breath exclaims that he himself woudl never let Jesus be crucified. That odd mixutre of well intended confidence in the flesh, that is opposed to the Spirit of God that often defies conventional understanding. I walked that line. I stood and read the scriputres and quoated them well in places that made me feel spiritual and like I knew what I was doing. In my flesh I felt like  righteous man, like I was something important. To a degree that is truth, but in the way I was doing it, it wasn't real humility. So God started breaking things out of my life and stripping me of everything I had until I was left there alone just me and Him and he asked me a question that took me three days to answer. Everything had left and had been stripped away,my heart broken and my fight gone.


When I had nothing, but  the choice between Him, and death... He asked me what I will choose.

Suddenly in a sense of both surrender and acceptence, my fight returned, but not in the self confidence, I'm all that  and a tough guy sense...   No. This was something different. The way I fight back at the waves of crap in the world, and the ways of destruction and evil... it isn't with my strength.
It's in dying to myself.  It's in submission to HIM and HIS WAYS. Peter got torn up by the grief that he had denied the Messiah. That the things he swore to upold and do by the power of his hands in his flesh, were not enough. Peter had a few days of mourning and grief where everything that he had was stripped away. Then, one of the most precious points in scriputre occurs.... The Messiah restores Peter, and Peter submits to the power and the change of the Savior. Peter has an amazing second half. Peter gets his fight back, by dying to that sense of self.  In  that moment where I had to choose life or death, and the world had its hands on my throat choking out my air... I REFUSED to let go of my God, by His grace and His spirit.

Sometimes the way you win a fight is by not fighting at all. Having faith in the one that is True strength.

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