Tankman - Photo by Jeff Widener
Tankman – Photo by Jeff Widener

He stood in front of a line of tanks of at least fifteen or more—one man—grocery bags still in his hands. This lone man made a stand. He refused to let the artillery vehicles pass. When the tanks moved to drive around him, he moved with them, blocking their path. It was him or them. His identity and what happened to the lone man was never discovered, but the man will go down in history as Tankman. Whether he’d lost a loved one or merely had had enough of the Chinese regime and the killing, on that day in June of 1989, he’d had enough. He faced off with a tank.

“No one avoids battle. You’re either a warrior or a captive.” – Pastor Derrick Frye

David watched the entire Israel army cower in fear in front of the Philistine’s prizefighter, and he’d had enough. David says, who does this guy think he is that he can defy the armies of the Living God? He decides to go all in and challenge a giant. (1 Samuel 17)

Bonfire

Elisha burned his plow. He was all-in. There was no going back to planting fields and farming. He left everything to follow Elijah and become a servant of God. (1 King 19:21)

To me, Jacob was the most daring because he fought God. (Crazy right?) Jacob spent a good chunk of his life running from his brother’s wrath and then his father-in-law Laban. After an ominous note from his brother, Jacob divides his family and sends them on different routes so they all won’t be killed. After aiding his wives, children, and livestock across a river, darkness falls, and he finds himself alone—or so he thought. I can imagine the hair lifting on his neck and him calling out, “Who’s there? Show yourself!” Whether Jacob or God made the first move is unknown. The Bible just says, they wrestled until daybreak. Jacob’s all in. He’s desperate. He clings to God and says, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.” (Genesis 32:22-32)

Jacob walks away with a limp and a new name—Israel, which means struggles with God. It’s not that God couldn’t take Jacob, my husband wrestles with my boys all the time (in fact they’re doing as I type this). I can imagine God pinning Jacob and making him voice what it is he wants. I want your blessing! I want to know I have your favor. I want to know You are with me, and I’m not alone.

Boxer punching

How badly do we want it? We are perpetually fighting the temptation of getting comfortable. It’s easy to stay on the sidelines, but we were meant to join the fight. How is God calling you to be a warrior? What is your fight? Is it to help kids learn to read? Is it to start a Bible study? Witness to the guy or gal next to you at work? Letting someone know you’re praying for them this week?

Our courage must be greater than our complacency. Whatever the tanks are that have kept you on the sidelines, it’s time to stand up and show them God’s firepower.

“Faithfulness isn’t holding the fort; it’s storming the gates of hell.” – Mark Batterson, author of All In.

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