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Jonathan Evans urges Christians to stop waging battles alone, shares playbook on getting through a crisis

Jonathan Evans
Jonathan Evans, son of Tony Evans and the late Lois Evans, speaks at the NRB 2020 Christian Media Convention in Nashville, Tennessee on February 25, 2020. |

Jonathan Evans, former NFL linebacker, sports chaplain and son of Pastor Tony Evans, has released a new book with the purpose of providing a battle plan for believers when they're going through a crisis. 

In Evans' new book, Fighting Your Battles: Every Christian’s Playbook for Victory,he draws from lessons he learned in seminary and shares his own life experiences.

The brother of Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer said in an interview with The Christian Post that he and his family have been blessed to be able to share the hope of Christ with the world.

"Me and my family, getting out there and being able to use our voices for the Kingdom, is because of all the things that the King has done for us," said Evans. "Any way that we can reciprocate, we're just glad to be anywhere on His game plan. We're not entitled and we work not to be, but to just be a blessing to what He's called us to do."

The Evans family, who have suffered many losses in recent years, are familiar with battles and struggles.

"You're either in a storm, on your way to a storm, or you just came out of one. Those are the only three options when you live life,” said Evans, who's also the chaplain for two sports teams: the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks.

“My dad always says, ‘It's like the mail that comes to your mailbox that just says occupant.' Meaning, we don't care who lives here, the mere fact that you live here means you're going to get this. So, it's important for us to understand how to walk through it.”

Evans wants to let people know that no matter what they're going through, they're not alone, and he and his family empathize with those who are suffering. 

"I wanted to make sure that I gave a playbook for victory because God's Word has given us that playbook. He didn't lie to us when He said, 'In this world, you will have trouble.' But He also said, 'You can be still and have joy, because it's already been overcome.’ And if it's already been overcome, then I feel like we need to learn how not to fight for victory, but to fight from victory,” he said, distinguishing the two. 

After every three chapters, the book includes a scannable QR code that leads to a video. It's experiential content where Evans and his wife, Kanika, talk about personal difficulties, including making it through four miscarriages.

The content offers readers tools to make it through such heartache and difficulties. 

“God is calling us to fight so we can win," Evans declared.

In recent years, Evans has seen eight family members die, including his late mother, Lois Evans, who died in December 2019. Although surrounded by tragedy, Evans said God gave him a word to share when it came time to eulogize his mother.

Jonathan Evans
Jonathan Evans speaks at the funeral service for his mother, Lois Evans. |

"If you haven't watched me eulogize my mom, there was definitely a word from the Lord that He spoke to me to heal me,” Evans told CP. “I really struggled with that; after all the prayer, after all of the things that we did biblically, we really felt disappointed and a high level of grief. 

"But then I realized that I was misunderstanding what victory really is. I was putting my personal experience and letting that be the barometer by which victory is achieved or not achieved, and not based on what Christ has actually done.

God just spoke to me as I was ridiculing Him, as I was disappointed in Him, as I was frustrated at Him. Prayer is a dialogue, and He spoke back clear as day.” 

"He said, 'Well, you just don't understand my victory. I know it was hard for you to watch your mother die, but if it was hard for you to watch your mother die, what do you think I was feeling about my perfect Son who died so she actually can live? See, you're actually coming after me, not putting into the equation what victory really looks like. Everything that you asked for your mom has, not on a human level, but on a spiritual level that's much greater than your human level.”

Evans said he asked God to heal his mother so that would live, and now she lives eternally. He asked that she'd be with family, and now she's with family. He asked that she no longer be sick, and she's no longer sick. She cannot return to sickness, he said, because God “saved her in totality.”

The former athlete said people should grieve, but they shouldn't let grief make them forget about God's victory, which is not a temporal victory but a permanent one. 

"When I recognize the sacrifice that Jesus made in His death, as someone who's perfect, and what that means for my mother now, what that means for me later, we don't grieve as those with no hope,” Evans stressed. 

"I almost put on Saul's armor. Meaning, I almost put on a natural perspective, almost put on a humanistic perspective. And God was saying, 'No, make sure you continue to keep the perspective you've been trained in,” he said.

“David was trained as a shepherd. He's not supposed to put on the armor, something he wasn't trained in.' I had to remember that I had been trained in the victory of Jesus Christ and had to go back to my training in order to overcome this obstacle.”

To anyone feeling stuck in their battle, Evans said they're stuck because they're taking ownership of the trial rather than giving it over to God. 

"I think the problem with that burden that most people hold is that they're owning their battles; they're owning their issues,” he said. “The Bible says that the battle is not yours, it's the Lord's. But if you want to own it, He'll let you own it. ...

"A lot of times, we try to take what belongs to God. And you always know that you're stepping into God's territory because you're losing your mind. In other words, you don't have the power to own what you're owning. Now, you feel it. You're actually going through it, but you're only supposed to steward it; you're not supposed to own it. 

"Most people don't understand that stewardship is not just with money," Evans continued. "Stewardship is not just with how you handle things that God has given you. Stewardship is also handling the battles you're going through. If you become an owner of the battle, you'll carry the burden that is inside the battle. If you become a steward of the battle, you know that the outcome belongs to the Lord. The burden belongs to the Lord."

He then referenced Matthew 11:28 which says, "Come to me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest, take this yoke upon Me. My burden is easy and my yoke is light."

Evans said the Bible verse symbolizes the relationship God wants to have with His followers.

"A lot of times, the little ox wants to take the burden from the big ox, and we're too little to handle that burden. We're supposed to be casting our cares upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. 'Trust in Me with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge me, and I will make your paths straight,'” he elaborated, citing Proverbs 3:5-6

“If you look at the context of Scripture, you see that God is trying to take responsibility. But He won't take it from an owner. He'll only take it from a steward.” 

People must give their burdens and battles to the Lord, he added.

"And how do you know you've given it to Him? You're no longer burdened by it," he said. "You let it go, and you're no longer trying to manipulate the outcome. Once you get to that place where you're no longer carrying the burden, even though it's there, you're no longer trying to manipulate the outcome. Then you're trusting in God; you're giving it to Him, and you're no longer losing your mind because you know where the Spirit of the Lord is. There is liberty. So, that freedom comes in letting go.”

“God doesn't waste anything. He uses everything,” he said, reflecting on the story of Joseph in the Bible, pointing out that God used Joseph’s misery in his ministry.

"When you understand that God does use the misery that you're going through, He actually puts it in the pot, stirs it with all of the experience, passions, gifts, skills, and opportunities and He serves it up for the greater ministry that He's calling you to later," Evans shared. "We have to understand that a testimony cannot be a testimony without a test. And you walk through it. You go through it, learn from it and recognize that when God uses it, you're going to be more explosive because you're not going to just be telling people what you heard or what you read, you're going to be telling people what you know.” 

Jesus is not asking people to do anything that He has not already done, Evans said, reminding believers that Jesus can sympathize with the weaknesses of humanity because He has done it. 

In a warning to believers who fail to rely on God and attempt to wage their battles without Him, Evans said the enemy is prepared to attack. 

"It's almost impossible to go out onto the field of play without a playbook when you're facing a defense that has one,” he said. “When you're going out into the world and you're facing an enemy, not only does he have his playbook, but he knows your playbook and then he's watched film on your tendencies. The enemy knows the Bible. He knows your tendencies because he's watched your film, and then we come out there as Christians and wonder why we're getting beat down.

"Well, the reason why we're getting beat down is because we're not watching the film. We're not studying the playbook. We don't know the play call when it comes to us. We don't know how to hear God's voice. We don't know how to implement these certain plays in these certain circumstances.

"In football, we call it down in distance. We've got to know our side of the story because the enemy that we're facing is powerful. The enemy that we're facing has watched film on us; the enemy that we're facing knows our playbook. So, without a playbook and understanding who to hand the ball to when the play is called, defeat is going to be your experience even when victory has already been given.”

Fighting Your Battles is now available everywhere books are sold

Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: jeannie.law@christianpost.com She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic

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