Fighting With, Instead of Against

“I would rather have a man chasing Jesus, than a house full of stuff.”  War Room, Elizabeth

As very likely, one of the last person’s on the planet to do so, I saw War Room yesterday.  I had heard the hype, but honestly went in expecting what I had seen in other Christian movies as far as how it would be formatted. Yesterday, I realized that  Christian writers are getting bolder, directors more unafraid to appease every audience member….this movie was truth. It reached out and said, “You are going to come into this experience with the characters.”  Each of us, whether we realize it or not, are a character in this movie in our daily lives.  That’s what this movie leaves you with….you will identify with a character and see all of your holes and the thin fibers holding those holes together.  This is irregardless of where you are in your Christian walk.  I don’t see how you can see this movie and leave thinking, “I am all good.  I’m great actually.”

Miss Clara was the character I kept desiring in my own life.  I want a Miss Clara.  She’s that woman bold enough to confront you, bold enough to shake you at your core and humble enough to be transparent with her own life to change yours.  You can’t act the passion she exuded in the scenes where she cried out to God and to Christ to do great things, mighty things….where she gave Him every ounce of praise in her entire body.  The casting of this movie, in her character, got it right.  You believed her.  She was real.

Elizabeth’s character could be any of us.  That mom so caught up in her career, her own wants and ambitions and so full of bitterness and anger towards things, that she misses the entire point of our life.  I think my favorite two scenes with Elizabeth were when she received the text regarding her spouse being seen at dinner with someone other than herself….that moment of brokenness when she literally had no strength left in her and she fell to her knees….that moment each of us have experienced at least once in our lives…that  moment where you can physically feel Christ taking his hands to raise you into this embrace.  That moment that you do not think you will survive, but you do and come out stronger on the other side of the battle.  It’s that moment when you stop fighting against God, and start fighting with God.  For her, it was the moment she realized, as Tony’s wife, she was powerless to change him….and she had to admit and ask for forgiveness for her failures and give her spouse to God…totally let it go.  Not hold on to a single string. Everything-released.  “The world desperately needs grace-grace from each other but ultimately the grace which can only be received from Jesus Christ.” Miss Clara’s words and that simple question she had asked earlier, “Does he not deserve the same grace that Christ has given to you?” Great scene.  Next, it would have to be when Elizabeth saw Danielle’s closet.  That moment that every parent has when we realize our children repeat what we do…in magnified form.  Good or bad….we are their example.  It’s not our talk that they emulate, it’s our actions.  Elizabeth’s heart change towards her family, her husband…and that moment where she tells Satan to get out of her house.  A heart change….and her world changed for the better…even if painful at times.  Learning that her job was simply to pray for her husband…to stop doing God’s job and get out of God’s way so He could do His job.  How many times have I stood in God’s way?  When I did, what was the outcome?  When I moved over, what was the outcome?  If you are like me, when you move over…well, that’s when miracles happen.

Most heartbreaking moment for me was when Danielle told her mom that she thought she just loved her a little.  And then began asking those questions you can’t answer if you are not present….you can be physically there and not be present.  How many of us parents are so busy chasing a dollar, more stuff, more retirement that we miss what matters….the name of a child’s team, their award, their newest skill…..the little things that are the big things?  We call it “taking care of our family’s future” but at what cost?  If we miss the little things….do we even know the big things when they come?  Is that pursuit of career success coming at the expense of the family’s success?  God isn’t going to be handing out any “Top Sales Person” awards in heaven…but He is going to be holding us accountable for our family…what we did with that blessing He gave us.  How we loved.  How we knew Him.  Knowing Him in a real and passionate way, well….seems all our issues start to fall away.  Trusting Him, more than we trust our own control.

I won’t go into Tony, as I don’t want this to be about the faults of a man….but…His brokenness in that moment he realizes he has nothing left but Christ and his family….and that because of Elizabeth’s heart change, their reaction to his failures has been anything but what he expected.  Seeing what he gave up in his pursuit of career goals….greed.  I do not know the heart of any man….but I do know the heart of a woman.  That moment he just broke into Christ’s arms…..”I would rather have a man chasing Jesus…”  I bet if we asked men…they had rather have a woman chasing Jesus too.

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I could go on for days about this movie.  I guess, as  a Christian, it was more than a movie.  It was an instrument used by God to speak to me…and so many others.  I don’t have a War Room…and I honestly don’t know if I could sit in a small closet….but….I will take those notes on the wall to heart.  Specific things.  I will make me a record of “Answered Prayers” to remind me when I feel as if God isn’t hearing me.  I will remember the power of always praying for your spouse.  Not for them to act like you want or not do such and such…but praying for them to be God’s…to be His.  I will begin to ask God for a Miss Clara.  I have never asked, so why would I have a Miss Clara?  I will continue to pray for my kiddos, their spouses, my babies….their safety, their hopes and dreams, their hearts….their love for Jesus.

Points taken from the movie (just a few) that everyone should commit to heart:

  1. Daughters find their value in their Fathers (earthly and Heavenly)-As Tony began to see and invest in his daughter, her confidence increased.
  2. Marriage is based on Christ-not us.  “I am His before I am yours. And because I love Jesus, I’m staying right here.” Elizabeth
  3. “I shouldn’t fight God, because He always wins.” Miss Clara
  4.  “If you want victory, you must first surrender” Miss Clara
  5. “People are always leaving Jesus out of everything and that’s why we are in the mess that we are in.”  Miss Clara
  6. Your spouse is not your enemy.  Don’t make them to be the enemy.  The Devil is the enemy that comes to steal, kill and destroy.
  7. The lingering regret that never leaves when you don’t answer God’s call.
  8. Not once, even if the mud of bitterness, did Elizabeth talk poorly of her spouse to her child.  Not once.

Like so many others, I sit here today with a movie in my head…and Jesus in my heart.  A heart that will strive to be a Miss Clara as it ages and grows.

We, as Christians, get so caught up in the social fights around us…when in the end…if we keep our hearts on Jesus….everything will be ok.  He wins.  The devil knows the end of the story too….Jesus wins.