The Fist is Back… Lessons from Billy Graham and Jesus

by DanWolgemuth on February 1, 2013

A recent journey through some stashed Youth for Christ memorabilia yielded a classic picture of Billy Graham… our first full-time employee and arguably the best known Christian evangelist of our lifetime.  It’s a classic picture.  It’s an inspiring picture.  It’s a convicting picture.

billygrahamfistffIt’s convicting because Billy Graham’s posture includes a clenched fist.  I’m guessing that there aren’t many modern day public communicators that have public relations photos that include a prominent fist.  In fact, it may be considered somewhat inappropriate or offensive or confrontational to have such a photo today.  But of all of the components of this photo, it’s the fist that captures me.

The fist. 

Billy’s fist isn’t angry.  It’s determined and faithful and passionate and grounded and focused and anchored and directed.  Billy’s fist was propelled by a soul on fire.  A soul that believed that the battle for the souls of those he spoke to was worth fighting for.  A soul that believed in a real enemy.  A soul that believed the words of Ephesians 6:12 –

“For weare not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

The modern day weapon of our enemy is ambivalence.  We’ve become passive and peaceable about the wrong things.  Our blood boils on the wrong burner.  Our veins pop and our face blushes over inconveniences rather than the lostness of mankind.  We raise our fist at a driver that cuts us off, but we have no reply when the Evil One snatches innocence and faith from the lives of young people. 

Billy raised his fist for His Master.  He fought boldly and courageously for the cause of Christ.  And he still does. 

When I mine the depths of his conviction I find renewed passion to do the same.  I am drawn to the belief that there is no Godless frontier that Christ and His Kingdom cannot redeem.  But not without a fist… not without conviction. 

Jesus taught us well to turn the other cheek, but not to turn a blind eye.  He commanded us to love our enemies, but He instructed us to confront our unseen foe with faithfulness, preparation and vigilance.  Jesus embraced little children while He rebuked the misguided and arrogant.  His touch was both compassionate and firm.  His look tender and riveting.  He pursued the sinner while He repelled the proud and self-righteous. 

By God’s grace I pray that in my soul and through my calling the fist is back.  A fist of courage.  A fist of passion.  A fist of advocacy.  A fist of proclamation.  A fist for all that is right and good and honorable and trustworthy and Godly.

A fist for “The Fist” that is above all other fists. 

Is it possible that putting on the “whole armor of God” (Eph. 6:11) starts with a fist?  Is there any other way to stand against the schemes of evil? 

On this front Billy Graham reminds us… even as Jesus leads us.

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