EXPLORING THE WORD
Fight the Good Fight
By Dev Bradley
We are at war! Christians live in a world at war. Anyone that tells you that we are not at war is delusional, trying to sell you something or lying to you. Our enemy is definitely a prowling lion waiting to devour us. In America, his greatest trick on our intellectual highly evolved society is the lie that He does not exist. For Christians, living in the American culture of perfectionism his second greatest lie pertains to failure. It goes something like this, "You call yourself a Christian, and you just committed this terrible sin, proving to all the normal perfect people that you are a hypocrite, a liar and a failure. Additionally, none of your Christian brothers and sisters will claim you since you have betrayed them and their trust. Your faith is weak. You are not a child of the one true King. You are a failure!" Do not be deceived. Jesus was the only perfect person to walk the face of this earth. Fully God, fully man. We are saved because God the Father loved us so much, that He sent Jesus to be our Savior, and Jesus loved us so much that He died for our sins.
Do not become a victim of lies. Paul gave Timothy a specific charge in 1 Timothy 6:11-12, "But you man of God flee from all of this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made good your confession in the presence of many witnesses." Paul is calling Timothy to war. Many people would point out that in verse 11 Timothy is told to flee. What exactly is he running from? Paul is telling Timothy to run from the sin, traps, harmful desires and evil of this world. Unfortunately for us, the sin, traps, harmful desires, and evil are wrapped up in our culture. Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees.
A strong warrior is situationally aware at all times. A strong warrior chooses to fight on a battlefield of his choice, hence that is why our enemy has woven sin, traps, harmful desires, and evil into our culture. It makes them seem less dangerous and more appealing. It also makes him appear less menacing. Keep this in mind, he hates us. Paul is reminding Timothy to be aware of the world he lives in, to avoid the traps, downfalls and the sin. Because if you are a prisoner and you are isolated, then you have become an ineffective warrior on the battlefield.
Our enemy wants us to have an identity crisis when we fail, when we sin, when we crash and burn. He hurls lies at us. He tells us that we are weak, that we are failures, that we truly do not trust our Savior, and that our Savior could not possibly want us or love us. He tells us that our family, our friends, the world are laughing at our hypocrisy and failure, that we are unwanted, unloved, and need to be cast aside on the trash heap of life.
As Christians we are never alone; Christ is always with us, our brothers and sisters in Christ are always with us. Satan prefers to divide and conquer. Remember we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We are never alone, we have the greatest ally in the universe and we already know who wins the war. Endurance is the ability or strength to continue despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions. Paul wanted Timothy to be able to recognize his enemy; he also wanted him to faithfully continue fighting. Often that fight begins on our knees.
Many of us feel that to be on our knees confessing our sins, being held accountable for them and asking for forgiveness, is a sign of weakness because our society and our Christian Culture view sin as failure and that is what Satan wants you to believe. More lies. As I said before, strong warriors are situationally aware. Never forget who you are, even if you have stumbled and sinned. The reality is that being on our knees asking for forgiveness and the strength to live in repentance is a sign of strength.
To live authentically as Christians, we must completely fight and live in our relationship with Christ. To live in faith with God is to completely trust Him, His actions, and His promises. Even if everybody else on the planet has abandoned you. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you are loved, you are forgiven, and you are a child of the one true King. We serve our King, we trust our King, we take care of one another, we are accountable for our sins and our mistakes, we pray and ask for forgiveness, we pick up our wounded, care for them, pray for them, forgive them, and we live authentically even when that shows our flaws and weaknesses. We continue to fight with endurance, because our enemy will never give up even though he has already lost the war. We fight on in faith, because we are nothing without our God, our Father, our Savior—our King. We are warriors in the army of God; as such we must continue to fight the good fight every moment and every day.
Photo Credit: Kersley Fitzgerald
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