Fighting For Other People
My mom taught me "You take care of yourself, let ______ worry about ______." In her defense, this phrase came out when I was attempting to point out injustice that my parents were bringing on me by comparing their discipline to other kid's permissive (and apparently unconcerned) parents' actions.
Now I get to do that to my child. Oh, how I understand so many more things now than I did then. Wisdom, I suppose.
The idea of fighting other people's battles for them, being concerned with their well-being from a selfless, compassionate perspective, is a core element of following Jesus. As John says, "Beloved, if God so loved us we should also love one another." (1 John 4:11, ESV). We should seek the good of others, we should look out for them, we should go to bat for them...
In that light, I stumbled on this closing passage from Paul in Colossians:
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. (Colossians 4:12-13)
Did you see that? Struggled. The NRSV says "wrestling in his prayers on your behalf." The word here is agonizomai, where we get the word "agonize." Epaphras agonized on behalf of the Colossians so that they could be everything that God desires them to be.
Who are you wrestling for in prayer today? Who are you fighting for and bringing constantly into the presence of God for healing, strengthening, and devotion to Christ that would lead to maturity? I am convinced that if we don't wrestle for each other, we could be missing incredible opportunities to love radically and recklessly through prayer.
Think about taking the next month, since we're on the first day this works out well, and "wrestle" for one person in God's presence for the entire month. Ask God to renew, restore, correct, direct and bless that person - what are the possibilities?