We Haven’t Even Begun To Fight
by Impact Church
2 Cor.4: 8) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9) Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of The Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
In 1776, as the fledgling colonies of our great nation assembled a military with flickering hopes of dispelling almost certain control by British might, a diminutive, young, brash naval commander, John Paul Jones, epitomized the face and spirit of America’s determination and courage. A loose knit assortment of colonies conceived in freedom and stretching their wings, were required to unify as a nation if they were to ever repel the overwhelming might of the world’s greatest fighting force. And those powers weren’t distant either. They were churning on their very shores, ready to advance on its ports and cities to conquer and occupy. Yet something far greater than fear of Mother England’s numerical superiority and battle-tested soldiers and sailors was arising from the collective soul of a freedom-loving populace. The not-so-long-ago memories of religious and economic oppression were all too near for this fragile nation to roll over and die– even if death was the cost for retaining it! Something more devastating than muskets and cannons was about to be unleashed in the face of an almost undefeatable foe!
In 1779, American naval hero John Paul Jones was credited with a battle cry that resonates, not so much with the subjugated, but with the joyfully liberated. With a ragged mix of untrained sailors and unqualified as warriors, Jones’ undermanned ship BonHomme Richard, (a former merchant ship retrofitted for military use) confronted the big guns of the HMS Serapis, the Royal Navy’s best. Words are inadequate in describing the bloodiest naval battle of the Revolutionary War. Jones and the BonHomme Richard, after being rendered virtually useless with a withering onslaught of cannon balls, were demanded by the Serapis’ Captain to surrender or be annihilated and sunk. Jones responded with words that define courage when liberty is at stake and words that fly from the lips of the free but sense an enemy lies to pilfer– “I have not yet begun to fight!”
Though beaten, mangled, burning and at the point of sinking, Jones and his motley crew did the unthinkable by turning their sails toward the big-gunned Serapis. With unrestrained defiance, they rammed it and came alongside it. Then, coupling it with grappling hooks, boarded that enemy ship and commenced hand to hand combat. Two hours later and after the most vicious combat ever envisioned, Jones and crew accepted the surrender of the Serapis and its remaining crew. Shortly afterward, Commander Jones would watch his own ship, the BonHomme Richard, roll and slip out of sight into that North Atlantic graveyard of the cannon ball riddled. But in that September night battle, a nation had found its true footing on the precipice of defeat. Looking past the bloodshed on a slippery warship deck and a certain saltwater casket, an incomparable nation saw that the glory of its priceless liberty could only be maintained by uncommon sacrifice.
And so it is with those that launch with abandonment into the untold liberties of the freed soul! It’s in the encroachments of our liberties, not so much in the enjoyments of them, that faith built fortitude is called upon to arise, confront and overcome. No man possesses inherently the freedoms a dying Savior provides us in His death; nor do we maintain those freedoms apart from His ascension in giving us of His Holy Spirit. Yet, while we revel in all these incredibly redemptive positions and powers, we’re also besieged with innumerable external realities seeking to defy our true identity and abilities. In this present world, spiritual darkness attempts to deny and dissuade, by contrary circumstances, the visible expression of that more glorious Light now residing within us. Yet paradoxically, that’s how our risen Christ is greater glorified! If we but believe and trust in His promises, even in our most inconvenient, undesirable and chaotic moments, God is made undeniably evident to a world questioning even His existence!
So what do we do with adversities attacking our senses, emotions and expectations? Well, we’ll do to our supposedly negative adversaries what Commander John Paul Jones did to his! We’ll take courage in our combat opportunities and deny external realities any room for superiority! We’ll realize it’s “not by power, nor by might, but by his Spirit” that we overcome! Thus we’ll “walk by faith and not by sight” and give Satan our shoe size by walking over him by the One that’s already put him in his place! (Till he’s assigned to his final place, of course!) That’s what we’ll do! And when it seems the deck is stacked against us and the odds are way out of proportion, we’ll also say– “We haven’t even begun to fight!” We’ll muster our faith and seize the sword of the Spirit! And in the inspired confidence of Christ’s vanquished foes, we’ll declare the blood of the Lamb, and our testimony of its work, as our own undeniable and eternal victory! So that all that have been called to this resurrected Life while yet in an earthen vessel, we can boldly say, “And this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith!” (1John5:4b)