Last week I invited you to reflect on the value of an assist. Setting others up for success, facilitating the progress of others, and enabling others to go farther are all hallmarks of the assist. In Scripture, assists can include an alabaster jar of ointment, a widow’s mite, a friend’s tomb, a boy’s lunch, a brother’s invitation, food provisions in the wilderness, and alms given in secret.

This week, I’d like to reflect on resistance. Like an assist but moving the opposite direction, resistance can bring assistance at just the right time, require great courage, and enable God’s will to be carried out in the world.

Jochebed and Miriam, Moses’ mother and sister, resisted Pharaoh’s genocidal command to kill all Hebrew boys, instead setting Moses afloat on the Nile river. Daniel continued to pray before the Lord, resisting the imperial edict of King Darius forbidding Daniel from doing so. On pain of death, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow before King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image and their silent courage has set the gold standard for resistance ever since.

Christians have always confessed “Jesus is Lord,” which during the Roman Empire (and every Empire since) meant they were resisting Rome’s imperial claims concerning the lordship of Caesar. James urged Christians to “resist the devil” and Jesus modeled how to do so by living according to biblical wisdom. Spiritual disciplines like solitude, which teaches us to resist the lure of human approval, or fasting, which prevents our stomachs from turning into gods, also form us into the kind of people who can resist the powerful pull of pride and gluttony, as well as greed and lust.

One courageous resistor also serves to embolden others to resist injustice, evil, and temptation. Dictators and tyrants of every stripe understand the contagious power of resistance and work hard to squelch dissent at its earliest appearance. In various writings, I find bracing examples of resistance in the characters of Samwise Gamgee (J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Lord of the Rings”), Puddleglum (C.S. Lewis, “The Silver Chair”), Dumbledore’s army (J.K. Rowling, “The Order of the Phoenix”), and Katniss Everdeen (Suzanne Collins, “The Hunger Games”).  In history, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Rosa Parks stand tall as examples of individuals whose courage inspired others to resist the evils of Adolph Hitler and the injustices brought about by racism, respectively.

Human courage is what allows resistance to function like an assist. When we make assists, we can enable others to succeed, grow, and flourish. When we resist evil, we embolden others to stand up, do the right thing, and help create a world in which all of God’s children may flourish. May God fill us with his Spirit so that we may help others thrive through making “assists” and embolden others to oppose evil by our resistance against it.

Andy Wall
Author: Andy Wall