Fighting words are a two-sided coin.
You may have heard the term “fighting words” before. In common usage they are words that are intended to incite or threaten violence. In the United States, our Supreme Court has actually established a doctrinal standard for the term. The Court defines “fighting words” as speech that would “produce a clear and present danger of a serious intolerable evil that rises above mere inconvenience or annoyance.” Now THAT’s a mouthful!
If you looked at the graphic I selected with today’s verse, a young lady with arms lifted in worship, you might be wondering just what the quote from Psalm 100 that says “WORSHIP THE LORD WITH GLADNESS” has to do with “fighting words.” Well, let’s see!
Obviously, fighting words are typically used by someone who is picking a fight with you. A simple definition is words that inflict injury or cause a disturbance of the peace simply by being spoken. But I intend to turn things around a bit as you and I discuss this verse.
We have an enemy who attacks us with much more than words alone. His goal is very simple. He intends to steal everything that God wants us to possess, kill us to stop us from having any positive impact on the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth, and to destroy every good thing we are or have. Steal, kill and destroy, pretty simple. As he and his horde wage their war against God (and, by extension, against all of us who serve Him) we are attacked physically, emotionally, spiritually and verbally. Thankfully, God has not left us defenseless.
The flip side of the fighting words coin is that, among the weapons in our arsenal is the mighty weapon of praise!
You may not realize the power we command when we CHOOSE to praise God, especially in the middle of life’s toughest battles. But the impact of that decision, both internally within ourselves and externally in the spiritual realm, has awesome effect. Praise is a powerful weapon.
We have battle armor. God knows that we are not fighting against flesh and blood. Our main enemies are spiritual. We are fighting against all sorts of rulers with spiritual authority, evil spirits who wield power over the dark and evil things of the world. So God tells us to take up the whole armor He gives us, so we will be able to stand strong in the face of the evil the enemy throws at us. First of all, we stand in truth; holding on to God’s word and His promises, because God’s word is truth. We are protected by His righteousness; in fact, it is like body armor protecting our heart and other vital organs. The message of the gospel is like combat boots, both protecting and enabling us as we march on into victory. Faith in God and His power is like a ballistic shield the enemy cannot get through; not even with his firebombs. Our heavenly armor includes a helmet, and the fact of our salvation in Christ protects our mind and our thoughts.
But all of those elements are protective and defensive. Needed though they may be, they only protect us. God has also given us an offensive weapon – the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. God’s word is a sword, and our praise and prayer can employ it. Having it is not enough, using it is the key.
So how do you “use” the word of God as a weapon to fight the enemy?
We speak it. God says the power of life and death are in the tongue. We need to speak – to ourselves and to one another. When David was facing tremendous trials and attacks, he talked to himself! He instructed his soul, and commanded it to praise God. He actually said, “Bless the Lord, O my soul! Let all that is within me praise His holy name!” In other words, report for duty! Tell yourself to focus on God’s word, to speak it and pray it and trust it. As you do, you will impact both yourself and the situation. That’s because quoting God’s word is not just some sort of a spiritual pep talk. God’s word is powerful, and He watches over His word to perform it.
WORSHIP THE LORD WITH GLADNESS
Obeying His word and reminding ourselves of His word is the way that we can stand STRONG in Him and in His mighty power. The Lord is my strength and my shield; and He is yours, too! When we command our heart to trust Him, it has an impact. There is a verse in the Psalms that says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”
Even a song of praise is a powerful weapon. I often fight my battles with worship and praise. It’s like turning on a light in a dark room.
So if you’re in the middle of a tough time, there is something you can do to turn it around. It will begin within you, but impact what is happening around you. You can choose to WORSHIP THE LORD WITH GLADNESS.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord! Open your mouth and praise Him. Remember what He has done for you in the past, and praise Him for it. Ask Him to give you strength, wisdom and grace to face the current battle. Serve the Lord with gladness! Don’t quit doing what the enemy is getting upset about; do MORE of it.
Come into God’s presence with singing! Choose to worship Him, even in the midst of the battle. There’s a song entitled “Raise a Hallelujah” that speaks about praising Jesus even in the middle of the battle and in the presence of our enemies. Go on, do it!!! It’s powerful.
Know that the Lord is God! He who made us, and we are his; we are his people. He is not going to abandon us. We are drawn into His presence as we choose to lift our voices in praise and thanksgiving. So give thanks to him; bless his name! Refuse to be silent.
You know what you’ll find out? You’ll see that the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and He doesn’t give up on us because He is faithful to all generations that call upon Him.
When you’re facing the toughest fight of your life – it’s time for fighting words!! PRAISE HIM !!!
WORSHIP THE LORD WITH GLADNESS