If you want a life of potency, one that works and matters, you have to be aggressive.
That word gets misused in our culture. I can already hear the weenie boys and girls crying. “Did the pastor just use the word aggressive like it’s positive? I’ve read the Bible and I’ve never seen the word aggressive in it.”
You’re right, the word aggressive doesn’t appear in the Bible. But you also won’t find the word empathy in the Bible. You won’t find delayed gratification or racial reconciliation in there either. Yet we know all those things are close to the heart of God. I believe positive aggression is too.
When I use the word aggression, I’m not talking about using your physical strength to dominate someone. I’m not talking about using finances to ensure you get your way. I’m not talking about running over everyone in your path. When I use the word aggression, I’m talking about taking control of your life. I’m talking about seeing something you want, something you think God wants you to have, and feeling empowered by Him to actually go and get it. I’m talking about punching our culture of passivity in the nose.
Positive aggression rubs against our culture like sandpaper against skin.
Passivity is everywhere. People are choosing marriage later and later in life because they aren’t sure if they’ve met their “soulmate” yet. When they finally do get married, and they hit a rough patch, they blame it on their spouse. Guess they weren’t my “soulmate.” There’s no such thing as a soulmate. There is no perfect person to be married to. There is no magic husband or wife waiting to make your life easy. If you want a good marriage, you have to aggressively choose to build a good marriage. You have to aggressively choose to communicate. You have to aggressively choose to serve each other. You have to aggressively choose to make your spouse feel heard, loved and valued. Maybe you need to aggressively choose to seek out counseling. Great! Make the aggressive choice to make it work.
In politics, passivity keeps each party in a camp to themselves. No one is crossing the aisle to shake hands, have a conversation or work alongside each other. Our passive culture of fear puts airbags on everything, seatbelts on everything, helmets on everything. We sue the drive-thru restaurant when we spill hot coffee on our laps. We’re always looking for someone else to fix our problems. The saddest part—all of that is true of the Church as well.
The word aggression might not be in the Bible, but it’s absolutely a Godly principle. Pick any Bible hero you can think of. I don’t even have to know which one you chose. Look at their life. They made aggressive decisions. In fact, besides a commitment to God, aggression might be the only thing every single Bible hero has in common. One of my favorite aggressive heroes, one who is consistently misunderstood, is Jacob.
Jacob was a twin. His brother was named Esau. Jacob was born second, and the Bible says he was born holding the heel of his older brother. Even from birth, Jacob wanted to be first. Jacob wouldn’t have known this as a newborn, but in that culture, the first born son got the lionshares of the father’s inheritance. It was your birthright as the first born—and it belonged to Esau by a few seconds.
The brothers grow up together. Esau was his father’s favorite. He was a manly man. He hunted, probably smelled awful and scratched himself in public. Jacob was the complete opposite. He was the mama’s boy who spent more time in the kitchen then the woods. He probably showered regularly. But Jacob is the aggressive one. You can drive a truck and shoot guns and be incredibly passive. That’s the case for Esau. He’s the classic male and he’s passive to the bone.
One day, Esau is out hunting. He comes home empty handed and hungry. Jacob is posted up, cooking some stew. Esau sees him and says, “Give me some of that stew.” Jacob says, “Nope, but maybe we can make a deal.” Esau gives away his rights for a bowl of stew. He’s an idiot. But that’s what passivity does to us. It convinces us the path of least resistance is the best. It blinds us to the long-term ramifications of our decisions. If it’s easier to eat some stew now than to wait for our inheritance, we’ll do that.
The weenie boy chorus is going to point the finger at Jacob. “That’s dirty. That’s evil. Why would he even suggest that trade? Why didn’t he just give Esau some food?” A better question is, why would Esau take such a horrible deal? But he did. Jacob offered a simple business transaction and Esau agreed. It’s not seedy or underhanded, its aggressive. Jacob saw something he wanted, and he worked for it. He didn’t take it forcefully. He didn’t kill his brother. He got it fair and square. Craziest thing of all? God honored this. God blesses Jacob as if he was the first born. Jacob’s DNA ends up in the family line of Jesus. His aggressiveness changed the trajectory of his entire life. Aggressiveness can do the same for you.
Too many of us are just sitting back, muttering “Let go and let God” while our lives decay.
Nothing great can happen in your life unless the grace of God intermingles with your aggression. Grab your life by the throat, friends. You only have one life to lead. Ask her out on a date. Start the business. Stamp out the addiction. Aggressively make your time on earth count. It’s the aggressive ones that make a difference. It’s the aggressive ones we remember. It’s the aggressive ones who get a special helping of God’s blessing. Go and get it.
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