“We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off…”
- Tyler Durden, Fight Club 1999
Long before my days as a Christian, I saw Fight Club, and like most other teenage/young adult dudes at that time, I wholeheartedly embraced the Tyler Durden persona and philosophy. Growing up, I was already angry. I saw a lot of things kids shouldn’t see. I didn’t fit into a lot of places I went. I was bullied. I liked fighting to deal with those issues. After watching Fight Club, I was inspired to stay angry, and found justification for that way of living. It got me in a lot of trouble, and led me to make a lot of dumb decisions – a lot like the movie. When I became a Christian, I was told my life would change, and the anger issues would go away. My life did change in a lot of ways, but I was still angry.
I used to ask myself...
“How is it possible that I’ve given my life over to the Prince of Peace, but I’m still dealing with anger like this?”
Can anyone relate?
Well, if you can, keep reading. In this article, we’re looking at the “wisdom” of Tyler Durden, and how he might have been onto something about the source of our anger. The difference here is, we’re going to look at a Biblical way to channel that energy into something spiritually fruitful. We'll look at the Bible's "Fight Club," and learn how to use anger for spiritually fruitful purposes.
Understand this, if you’re angry all the time, you’re not alone. According to a recent article from Forbes, people are super stressed out these days, and anger is how that’s being projected. The article cited a Gallup survey that clearly showed how unhappiness and bitterness is on the rise like we’ve never seen before. Here’s some interesting things they tracked:
· 3.3 billion people want a great job, but only 300 million have one
· 2 billion people are struggling with their current income
· Over 1 billion people are dissatisfied with their community and want to leave it forever
· Over 300 million people don’t have a single friend
No wonder people are angry. Tyler Durden nailed it too.
We’ve all been raised on a certain philosophy that our lives are supposed to look one way, and over time, we slowly realize those ideologies aren’t real.
Think about it. So many people want a “great job.” What is a “great job?” How much money is the right amount for us? Where is the perfect neighborhood? Most people don’t measure up to our expectations, so are we surprised we don’t have friends?
These stats aren’t surprising. So, how do we manage this stress and anger in a productive way? Do what Tyler Durden did. Join the Fight Club! You just have to know what the “Fight Club” is. You have to know that, you’re already in a fight, and that’s why you’re angry. For most of us, we lose track of the fight, and so we get beat up; and no one likes to lose. When I talk about the “Fight Club” here, I’m talking about spiritual warfare.
In Ephesians Chapter 6, the Apostle Paul talked about how, the hardships in life for the people of God, aren’t as they seem. Forbes talked about the discontentment people have with work. The Bible says that discontentment from work is rooted in spiritual things. Forbes said that people are bitter about where they live. The Bible says that this life is a bitter place because of sin, which is a spiritual issue. You get the point.
Check this out from 1 Timothy 1:18…
“This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare…”
The quote from Fight Club said that we have no Great War. We have no Great Depression. But the quote also said that our Great War is spiritual. That’s the same thing the Bible said. The only difference is that this spiritual war IS a great war! The spiritual war is the cause of ALL depression. There is a common principle between this movie quote and these real-life statistics from Forbes. Both of them point to the fact that many people don’t have a clear understanding of their life purpose, and how that purpose translates to the current circumstances of reality. People are mad because we all learn that we’re being lied to about who we are, and what we should be. People stay mad because they try to deal with this spiritually-rooted issue in a carnal way and fail. People use the wrong weapons. They swing at the wrong targets, while still getting hit by the true enemy. The longer you go on living like this, of course, you’re going to be dissatisfied, bitter, and ticked off!
The Bible addresses this issue.
Think about what Paul wrote to Timothy. Paul encouraged Timothy to fight. He encouraged Timothy to engage. In fact, the context shows that “fighting” was Timothy’s purpose in life. He was called to the ministry, confirmed by prophecies made about him. That ministry required Timothy to wage “THE good warfare.” Timothy’s purpose in life was to engage in fighting; but he was supposed to fight a specific fight, a specific way. If we can understand that, then we can understand the “Fight Club” we’re all a part of as Christian men, and vent our anger the right way.
What is the “good warfare?” Paul described it in more detail later in 1 Timothy 6:12…
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
The fight concerns our faith. According to Romans 10:17, our faith comes from the hearing of the Word of God. Paul’s point to Timothy, was that we are called to engage in the conflict that comes with preserving the integrity of God’s Word in a corrupt world. When we became Christians, we joined God’s Fight Club, where we function as the “salt of the earth.” We fight against the corrupting factors of this world, in order to preserve the righteous standards of God. Our purpose is to function like light, set on top of a hill in order to illuminate the evil things that take place in the dark. We deal with whatever difficulty is required.
Since we’re not really fighting against other people, but instead, the spiritual strongholds that motivate people to do evil things, we need to know how to properly project our anger in ways where we can actually win these fights of faith. Paul said that fighting the good fight of faith, requires us to “lay hold on eternal life.” Think about what Jesus said in John 17:3…
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
According to Jesus, eternal life is the knowledge of God, specifically through the knowledge of Jesus as God-in-flesh. If we are to “lay hold on eternal life,” we need to take possession of the testimony of Jesus Christ in the scriptures. We need to faithfully seize the knowledge that God gave of Himself through the Bible. The scriptures compare the Word of God to a sharp sword. We need to grab onto the Word like we would grip our primary weapon in a fight for our lives. We need to grab the Word with purpose – to know God through the full testimony of Jesus that’s found in the full testimony of scripture – from Genesis to Revelation.
It was said that the “middle children of history” have no purpose. According to Tyler Durden, we have no real purpose and no great cause. That sort of meaningless life is what fuels discontentment and unproductive anger. The scriptures beg to differ. The Christian cause is the greatest. Our war is the greatest. Our fight is spiritual indeed, and the way we take shots at our enemy, is by growing in our understanding of who Jesus is through the testimony of scripture. Then, when we see things that oppose the Truth, we confront it. We oppose it. We do so in the manner of our Savior, which requires us to depend on the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will instruct us on how to engage in each unique situation.
Are you angry? Then remember that you’ve been enlisted into the LORD’s fight club. Participate.
In 2 Timothy 2:3-7 the Bible says…
“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of [this] life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”
If you’re a Christian dude with anger issues, then get into the fight the way scripture shows. Use that anger for a righteous cause. Just know that the fighter’s lifestyle isn’t easy. Real fighters train constantly.
They spar with other fighters, to sharpen their game and to grow accustomed to contact.
They condition their bodies to endure pain.
They deal with adversity of all kinds.
They operate on strict diets.
They accept losses, learn, improve, and fight again.
It’s the same for us. Our training needs to be in the Word. We need to learn with others, especially those who have been specially gifted by God as teachers, encouragers, helpers, and so forth. We need to engage with our Christian brothers, dealing with the friction that comes from time to time, remembering that iron sharpens iron, but only with friction. That’s how we condition ourselves spiritually. That’s how we grow in humility, not thinking highly of ourselves, so that when we take a hit, we don’t quit or complain in shame. We roll with it, learn from it, and take on the next fight. Our diet needs to be strict. We shouldn’t be putting things in front of our eyes and ears that are going to make us fat, sluggish, or crippled, spiritually speaking.
Look, we don’t need a Gallup survey to tell us that the world is stressed out and getting angrier by the day. We know. What we need to do, is stop trying to overcome evil with evil, and overcome evil with good.
The Bible doesn’t tell us to stop being angry. The Bible tells us to fight; but also tells us to fight a specific battle, in particular ways.
If you got anger issues – good! Turn that anger towards sin in your heart, and corruption in the world, and learn to fight God’s way through the scriptures. As a Christian, you’re already in the Fight Club, and you don’t even have to keep that a secret…