Are you a poodle or a pit bull? Check this out and you decide.

Doug Giles
Doug Giles

"Aggressive fighting for the right is the greatest sport in the world." - Theodore Roosevelt
When you ask the average Joe today how he would describe a Christian, he's likely to come back with a characterization of someone who is intellectually weak, physically out of shape, economically unproductive, morally spineless, and a constant complainer ... sort of an insipid spiritual poodle. As far as most Christians go, it seems as if courage, brain cells and heroism are on the endangered species list.

None of the Church's founders ever intended this sad state of affairs. God intended His believers-especially Christian leaders-to be spiritual warriors, to be pit bulls who smash demonic strongholds, stand for truth and bring life, light and healing to this great planet.

As I see it, a Christian without a Pit Bull Attitude is a Poodle Christian. What a terrible fate, to be a poodle Christian. A pit bull Christian is a hero and a champion, braver than the bravest, one who laughs at difficulties, dangers, and death.

The poodle Christian runs to his air-conditioned doghouse when it starts to get "hot in the kitchen." Sweetie poodle Christians fear they might lose the curl in their hair if they get too close to the flame ... too close to the front of the major spiritual and moral battles of the day. Therefore, the poodle Christians choose to hang out within the stained-glass-tinted windows of the Church instead of going out into the real world to confront secular monsters. Yes, the call to battle always seems to find them at covered-dish dinners.

Poodle Christians say they love God, but they deny Him with their actions. In fact, when this kind of Christian hears the call of duty, it's amazing how often he gets a tummy ache. Poodle Christians hear the Word of God on Sunday, but don't follow it. They don't like to get dirty doing the practical, tough work of obeying the scripture-but, oh, how they love poetry. Here's one of their favorite poems:

Oh how I love the pastor who tickles my ear! Come to me, thou prophet of peace; tell me what I want to hear. Tell me of goodies, blessings, and treasures abounding just for me ... as I hide in the church avoiding the suffering. Why be so serious? Why take such pain? Have not you learned from those around it's all just fun and games?

It's time to put down our pusillanimous poodle proclivities and start taking onboard a pitbull-esque tenacity ... you know, like the Christians of old, like Peter, like Paul, like Timothy, and Stephen. We need a breed of believers with the courage to stand proudly for their faith in God and their place in society.

How about looking at scripture through the eyes of the Pit Bull? Put on your Bad-Boy Ray Bans, and let's check out a few heroes in the Bible.

NOAH preached and lived righteously when the rest of the world was wicked. He feared God when it wasn't popular. He obeyed God when everyone mocked him. Noah and his family alone survived the flood when it came upon the earth. Noah got the last laugh ... because Noah was a pit bull.

ABRAHAM was 75 years old when he left everything and followed God. That's radical. With 318 men, this old bulldog whipped the combined armies of five great kings. Not too shabby for a farmer. His secret? He was a pit bull who lived to please his Master.

JOSEPH was a teenage pit bull when he first appeared in the scripture. He had a vision that made his brothers envious, so they sold him into slavery (they were poodles ... poodles are always envious). For years Joseph was abused, misunderstood and lied about. But because he was a pit bull, he ultimately rose out of obscurity to a place of dominion. What a dude ... what a bulldog!

MOSES was heir to Pharaoh's throne and could easily have been a poodle. But he didn't want that life. He had pit bull blood in him, which caused him to blow off Egypt, silk pajamas and other poodle paraphernalia. Instead, he suffered hardships with the people of God. It took over 40 years for his vision to be fulfilled. Forty years! Talk about persistence! Talk about commitment! Talk about being a pit bull! Most Christians won't wait for God for 40 days, much less 40 years, but Moses did. That's why we read about him centuries later.

DAVID was a teenage pit bull who didn't want to just watch a fight. He wanted to fight the battle, and he ran to the front. He did what all the mature, "sensible" soldiers couldn't do: he killed Goliath. He said he would kill the Philistine, and you know what? He killed the Philistine, single-handedly. David was a crazy, audacious pit bull all his life.

THE APOSTLE PAUL was a radical pit bull. Satan took a few weeks' vacation after this bulldog was finally killed. Paul was called a "fool" and "crazy" because of his unstoppable pit bull zeal. A top-notch theologian, Paul didn't live in seminary. He took his revelation out of the Church and into the pit, and came out converting whole cities. This game rascal took incredible abuse, yet never lost his joy. He was a disaster to Satan's kingdom. He finally caused so much trouble that Satan had no recourse but to cut off his head. May God help us to be one-fourth the pit bull that Paul was.

Then you have the poodle "believers," false, spurious, eternal rejects from God's kingdom, donning pink hair and carrying a wheelbarrow load of excuses.

REUBEN, Jacob's eldest, was a poodle. He had great intentions and serious heart resolves. But at the end of the day, he preferred to sit and listen to the shepherds play songs rather than get into the fray. He chose to squat on the sidelines of life rather than be on the playing field.

DEMAS used to hang out with the old warrior Paul, but he left when things got tough. He decided he would prefer to settle for the poodle's lot-boring mediocrity-rather than pursue the pit bull's pleasure: the fight!

MARK had to deal with being a poodle, too, even though he went out with the bulldog Paul. When the stones started flying and the bones started cracking, Mark was out of there like a bootlegger out of Alabama on a Saturday night. After that display of Poodle-ness, Paul would have nothing to do with him. Pit bulls just don't hang around with poodles. Only later, after Mark experienced a radical transformation, did Paul regard him as profitable to Christ's calling.

My ClashPoint is this: The Church would be helped immensely if more pastors were to spiritually breed for ecclesiastical and cultural courage instead of the Sunday morning poodle show. Hey, pastor: charge your people with joining the fight for our society, and discourage them from being dependent, spiritless little Fi-Fi's.

May God give us an unworldly love for spiritual conflict. May God give us deep persistence and commitment so that no matter what demons we face, we will not be deterred from His high and lofty call. Oh, that there would be a people who embrace the struggle for that which is grand instead of looking for a place of ease inside the Christian Disneyland.  CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.