April 17, 2019 by Byron Bufkin
I like to fight. That doesn’t just mean that I enjoy a thoughtful and well-presented debate; I have always had an innate desire to “throw hands,” “wrassle,” or just plain kick [hindquarters]. Of course, that’s not to say that I always come out the winner, but that’s what it means to truly love fightin.’
This is not a boast; it is a confession. Certainly there are parts of my pugilistic proclivities that I regret, and I fight against this mindset on a daily basis (please pardon the pun). We all have our crosses to bear. However, as we face difficult and uncertain days post-GC2019 with rumors swirling, I would like to share one of the primary, positive lessons that comes from this combative mentality:
Hold on. With all your might, for all you love, hold on just a little longer. When you are tired and hurting such that you don’t think you can keep going, hold on and put one foot in front of the other. When you are in pain and lying on the ground ready to give up, hold on to the reason you started in the first place, and stand back up. When you are afraid of what might be coming or that you are insufficient to the task, hold on to the one who holds you up.
Many of us have been hurt by the statements made about the traditional point of view, and what feels like the disparagement of our character. Such statements were made from the floor of General Conference. More were made on social media posts and videos from bishops, as well as other church leaders. Some have been made by people who claimed to want peace and finality, but they have now changed their tone – and their approach – since their preferred methodology was not passed at General Conference.
Dear friends, please hold on, keep going, stand back up, stay strong. Remain steadfastly rooted in the Spirit of God, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). If we simply allow the issues before us to devolve into matters of worldly preferences or philosophies, we have already been knocked to our knees. We do not stand on a platform of hate – no matter what anybody else might say against us – but rather on the love of Jesus Christ reaching out to all sinners. Hold on to His love!
Our role is not to force anybody to capitulate to our will, but rather to submit ourselves to our King as we fight for His kingdom. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). We dare not proceed under the delusion that we go forth by our own strength or volition. If we do, then our strength is a reed in the wind. However, if we remember the true scope of this battle, then we can stand firm and resolute on the rock of our Savior. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4).
Please do not lose sight of whose we are and why we stand. Yea, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we don’t need to fear any argument or stance that runs contrary to the Word of God. Our Lord is the Lion of Judah, the Savior of the world and an all-consuming fire. He beat the devil with a big ugly stick, and the victory is His for all eternity! Let us continue forward, holding on to His glory and raising His banner high. May we fight the good fight of faith, turning neither to the right nor to the left. By the power of God at work within us, may He do immeasurably more than we could ever dare to ask or imagine, according to His power and for the glory of Jesus Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen! (Paraphrased from Ps. 23 and Eph. 3:20-21.)