Fighting Words

Matthew 4:4 & John 8:32

"Jesus answered, 'It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." - Matthew 4:4
"... Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." - John 8:32

Fighting Words Fridays have been an absolute blast. I love sharing parts of God’s word that have been extremely hope inducing for me with all of you. I wanted to share the story behind the song Fighting Words with y’all because today is a special day that is very much connected with that song.

Today, I’m flying to Colorado to spend a week at one of my favorite places on earth, a Young Life camp called Frontier Ranch! It was 10 years ago this month that I was there and met a camper named Annie who had just graduated from high school and experienced the love of God crashing into her darkest places during that week at camp. She and I became friends. It was the next summer when we both happened to be at another Young Life camp together for a month, that we realized we were both believing A LOT of lies, and I got MAD. I realized that I was letting the enemy - who is called the Father of lies by the way….that punk - steal all of the joy and hope and peace and the John 10:10  life to the full that Jesus comes to offer us. I remembered that the Word of God is a sword and I was so fed up with believing lies that I decided to start using it to fight back at the lies with the TRUTH. It hit me that it wasn’t enough to simply acknowledge the lie; we needed to ground ourselves in something more solid. So I had Annie pull out her journal and write verses down as I flipped through the pages of my Bible looking for any verse I had ever underlined! We decided that day to try to start memorizing God’s word together, so we could fight back at the darkness with the LIGHT! 

We call the verses we memorize our “Fighting Words” and here’s what you need to know:

  1. We are NOT very good at memorizing scripture. It is hard and it takes us a long time to memorize verses, BUT…
  2. God’s word has absolutely started changing us, and while it hasn’t necessarily changed our circumstances, it has changed our hearts from the inside/out. God’s word has given us something solid to hang onto when the “shame storms” (as Brene’ Brown calls them) start rolling in. 
  3. We realized God isn’t lying when He says that His word is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword (Heb. 4:12) and just like the rains that water the earth and don’t return to the heavens without first nourishing the earth, causing it to bud and flourish, SO is the word that goes out from the Lord’s mouth…it WILL accomplish the purposes for which He sent it (Is. 55:10-11)! 

Y’all! That is a STRONG promise, and YET….I FORGET. I forget to trust His word more than what my eyes can see. I forget to let His word have the final say on my worth and identity instead of likes or comments on instagram or the way that people receive or respond to me, but having God’s word tucked into my heart has been like medicine for my soul, because often on the very days I forget, His words end up floating up to the surface of my mind, reminding me of who I am, a beloved daughter of the most high God. Reminding me that no matter what I am facing, He is with me. Reminding me that He is the best story-writer, the author of all that is good, my Redeemer…the One who knows me best AND loves me anyway.

Several years into this memorizing scripture journey, I was on the phone with my friend Sara, marveling at how consistently God’s word had been to changing and encouraging  me, and she just said, “Ellie, it makes total sense. This is exactly what Jesus did when Satan was lying to Him in the desert.” She was exactly right! There’s this story of Jesus being tempted in the desert for 40 days and each time the enemy tries to lie to Jesus, Jesus responds like this “It is written”…and then follows that up with truth from the word of God. I was floored. Clearly, we were onto something! (insert cry laughing face here!) If Jesus Himself fought  off the lies of the enemy with God’s word, we should probably do that too. 

It seems so simple, but it has been life-changing for me. It’s the reason I started writing my own music in the first place. I’m not that great at scripture memory, but I can remember a thousand songs. I knew that it was nothing new under the sun, but I started sitting in God’s word and letting music come out. I kept thinking to myself, if I can write this truth into a song, maybe it will sink deeper into my heart and get through my thick head! It has been my joy to continue to write the truths that I so often forget and need to be reminded of into songs, and while I’ve written them for myself usually, it has been a delight to see God use His word in the songs I write to encourage other people when their hearts are weary and the journey is long.  

It only took me 8 years of memorizing scripture on and off with Annie to write the song, “Fighting Words”, and I wrote it during a season that I was believing a LOT of lies about myself. My sweet husband encouraged me to go find some fighting words for the specific season I was in, and it didn’t even make me mad. I knew he was right. I was cooking a big pot of soup that night and started singing these words, 

“I will fight the lies with the truth, 
Keep my eyes fixed on You, 
I will sing the truth into the dark. 
I will use my fighting words.” 

It’s amazing to me the powered freedom that I’ve experienced when I chose to ground myself on His word and to fix my eyes in His face rather than my circumstances. Thanks for joining me for Fighting Words Fridays, friends. My prayer is that in sharing some of the verses that have been liberating and deeply encouraging for me , that we all would all be encouraged to shift our focus from our fear to His faithfulness, from our not enough to His more than enough, from our weakness to His strength, and from the lies we so often believe to His truth that will set us FREE (John 8:32). 

I dare you to memorize a verse that seems to speak to right where you are right now. See what happens! For me it’s been like burying treasure in my heart. I think you’ll be surprised , like I’ve been over and over again. On the days that I get lost, when I need the truth the most, I end up stumbling back across a treasure trove of truth that I’ve buried deep sometimes years before. It’s a beautiful journey we’re on , but it’s long and hard and trying too, so get some fighting words to help carry you through. I don’t think you’ll regret it. 

Fun news? Today, almost 10 years to the date, I’ll be seeing my sweet friend Annie again at Frontier. She’s been there at Young Life camp for the past month sharing the music she’s written from the life she’s lived, the battles she’s fought, the truth she’s found, and the truth she’s still hoping to find. We’re still on the journey. We don’t have it all figured out, but I have a feeling it is going to be a sweet reunion as we celebrate the ways that the truth has set us free over the years and look forward to the ways the truth will continue to help us step out of the darkness and the lies and the hiding into the wonderful light of God’s abiding love. Cheers to the journey, friends. Let’s keep singing and speaking the truth into darkness in our own hearts and in the weary world around us! 

Fight on!