“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
We now move to the third “stance” in Christian Martial Arts – “be brave” (ἀνδρίζεσθε). The word “brave” (andrizesthe) means “to make a man.” It’s the present imperative middle in the Greek and means God expects Christians to conduct themselves in a manly or courageous way. Aristotle used the word to indicate someone who displayed courage between fear and confidence.
That’s a good description of what it means to defend yourself against a sudden and vicious attack. To feel fear is normal when you’re attacked, but the training we undergo as martial artists also builds confidence so we can quickly rise to the need to be brave and defend against the enemy.
In martial arts training students move from “awareness” (Stance 1) to “on-guard” (Stance 2) to “self defense” (Stance 3). As we Yield to oncoming force and Clear our midline from the direction of the attack, we also initiate Contact (blocking, stopping), Control (redirecting force) and Counter (striking, kicking, trapping, throwing) as one movement – like a great wave of water moving anything in it and on it to a place of least harm.
Martial artists spend months and years learning many ways to stop or redirect an attack. In Christian martial arts our goal is to defend bravely, efficiently, effectively and compassionately. The best defense is not to be attacked in the first place, but if we are attacked we want to escape to a place of safety. Our first lessons include learning how to escape from danger using whole body techniques. As we grow in knowledge of specific self-defense techniques we also learn how to apply them quickly and powerfully. Ending an attack before the attacker can mount a strong offense means being brave to mount a strong defense. Since attackers are usually larger, stronger and meaner, bravery is at the core of our ability to defend effectively.
Christians in our country are under attack in ways we haven’t seen in a very long time. Our spiritual enemy is raising an army of hatred against God’s people that will soon demonstrate itself in physical violence that most of us have never experienced. That may be hard to believe, but if we are “aware” and “on guard” we will see the dust clouds of the enemy forces coming toward us.
Now is the time to “be brave.” We must prepare ourselves for the spiritual and physical battle ahead and be ready to respond as the Holy Spirit directs. Remember that spiritual attacks can come at anytime from any direction. We remember the words of the Apostle Paul who when speaking of Satan said, “for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:11)
Even as we learn self-defense techniques and practice them so we do them quickly and effectively, so we must learn techniques of faith defense so we can speak clearly and bravely in the times of great trial that are surely coming.
Let’s begin with a quick look at “being brave” from some of the great people of faith in the Bible. They are our examples of what to do in the face of great spiritual danger.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for theLord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“ But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5
“And David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 28:20
“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Hebrews 11:32-40
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.” Philippians 1:27-30
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Grace Martial Arts
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”