Fight or Flight

When faced with danger or terror, our hearts pound. Sweat beads on our foreheads. Our breaths come faster and grow shallow. We react to implied threats in a millisecond, and we either tense up to fight or turn around and flee. These threats can be physical dangers or be of a more subtle flavour like the passive-aggressive attacks that occur in ministry settings. These attacks are also often countered head-on or avoided via retreat.   

I always thought I’d be a fighter. But in typical middle-child fashion, my knee-jerk response to difficulty is to keep the peace. I’ve yielded when I should have pushed. I’ve sat when I should have stood. I’ve remained quiet when I should have spoken. I don’t fight. I flee. While I acknowledge my obvious comfort zone, the longer I serve the Lord in ministry, the clearer I see the third option to fight or flight. It manifests in Christ’s response to His greatest moment of suffering and stress.

Fight

When the soldiers entered the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus confirmed that He was the one they sought, Peter drew his sword (John 18:8-10). Peter is a fighter. He came out swinging, wasting no time on negotiation. He wielded the sword, slicing off the right ear of the high priest’s servant. You fighters get this. No one messes with your husband, your kids, or your church. Not on your watch. 

Flight

But in verse 15, we see another side to this man. When a servant girl identified Peter as Christ’s disciple, Peter denied Christ. Three out of the four times he could have fought for Jesus, he fled. And not just Peter. All the disciples fled (Matthew 26:56). This happened to fulfill the prophecy.

A Third Option

Peter’s inconsistencies exist in all of us. We have a little bit of fight and a little bit of flight. But Jesus reacts differently. Jesus didn’t fight His captor; he healed the sword-wielding servant’s ear. Jesus didn’t run from the cross; He went willingly with his enemies. What some saw as weakness is Jesus manifesting His strength in the greatest battle of all time. Christ turns evil against itself and brings life out of death through His surrender. Don’t ever underestimate the power that accompanies sacrifice. Your greatest sacrifice for the ministry with which you’ve been entrusted might result in your greatest blessing.

So next time your instincts tempt you to fight or flee, remember the cross. Consider the power of surrender and choose your actions wisely.

 

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About Stacey Weeks

Stacey is a ministry wife, mother of three teenagers, and a sipper of hot tea with honey. She loves to open the Word of God and share the hope of Christ with women. She is a multi-award-winning author, the primary home-educator of her children, and a frequent conference speaker. Her messages have been described as rich in the truths of Scripture, gospel-infused, and life-changing. Stacey has a graduate certificate in women’s ministry with Heritage College and Seminary and is pursuing a certificate in Biblical Counselling.