I Timothy 6:12
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
I think this is one of the most important things we can do today given the deteriorating moral fabric of our society. Fight the good fight of faith. Be persistent and steadfast, always showing forth those things that let others see Christ. This is not a stroll in the park! It is a war against all the powers of hell that are stacked up against us and, even more so, against those who do not know Him. Our job is never done and should never be forgotten. Save the lost. Rescue the perishing. Set the captives free. If we do not do it, they will be eternally lost, never to find their way to heaven. If we do not fight this good fight, we may find ourselves approaching the wide gate, having given up on our own salvation. Don’t let that happen!
So how do we fight this fight? After all, wasn’t the battle won at Calvary? Yes, it was. He won the ultimate battle and we are free from sin when we acknowledge the price, He paid for us by asking His forgiveness and accepting Him as Lord of our lives. It is then we gain victory over sin and can walk in His grace and mercy. We do not need to fight the enemy to defeat all sin. Christ did that. However, Paul is very explicit when he says that we must work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12). He tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). He tells us we must put off the old man and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:22-24). He tells us we must walk in the spirit so we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Why do we need to do all these things if the victory is already ours?
The answer is pretty simple. We are still in our flesh and this flesh is the habitat of sin in the natural man. We have been raised in sin all our lives up to the point of our salvation, and we still walk in a sinful world where the enemy has his way. Old habits take time to get rid of and new ones even longer to work into our lifestyle. We still have to fight. The battle has been won and, in the end, Christ will stand as conqueror. We are caught on this earth and must battle all those things that come against us because the enemy still wants to defeat us and take us down to the pit with him. He can’t stand the fact that he was defeated on the cross so he will do everything in his power to take you and me down. Everything. He will use our minds against us so that we become boastful, prideful, grumbling, complaining, never satisfied and never happy. He will cause our bodies to lust after things just out of our reach and also those things that he had us trapped in before we were saved. He is evil and full of guile and if we are not engaged in the battle, we will fall captive to his ways.
So how do I fight this good fight? What does it take to continue fighting when it seems to me I have already lost? First, we must recognize who the enemy is. Ephesians 6:12 tells us “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” We must recognize that our battle is in the spirit realm, not in the fleshly realm. Yes, it seems it is our flesh that we are fighting all the time, putting down strongholds that have been there for decades, ridding ourselves of bad thoughts and trying ways. But it is the enemy who keeps coming against us, reminding us of our past and telling us we are trapped there. Remember that he is a lair and the father of lies (John 8:44). Since our battle is against powers of darkness and spiritual wickedness, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to aid us in fighting the battle for our souls. We cannot do it on our own, but we still must stay engaged with Him in order to win.
Then second weapon is found in Romans 12:1-2. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
First, our bodies are not our own. We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). We must present them before God while we are alive, ready to give them up to Him as a sacrifice before He can come in and help us. If we want to hold onto our own flesh as something worthwhile, we will have a difficult time getting through the battle. Our flesh on its own is week. But when we give it to God, He can strengthen our flesh to overcome the while if our enemy (1 John 4:4). After all, that’s the least we can do since Jesus, God’s only Son, gave His body as a living sacrifice upon the cross. He showed us the way. When we give up our bodies as a sacrifice, He will raise us up victorious, just as He rose victorious from the grave.
Second, it is the renewing of our mind that brings us to the place where we can walk in the place that is acceptable to God. If we are not being changed into His image, we have not been saved. If we stay stuck in the same mindset as we were before conversion, we will never walk into the perfect will of God. We will stay stagnant, and that leads to backsliding eventually. Our love for God will wane just like it had for the Ephesian church in Revelation 3. They lost their first love because they did not continue to renew their minds. That was the one thing n that God had against them and He urged them to return to their first love. The way we do that is to return to prayer, return to praise, return to the word of God. To be transformed by the renewing of our mind is to keep our mind stayed on God.
Another way to keep that transformation alive in our lives is to read and meditate on Philippians 4. There is so much wisdom in this chapter I can’t begin to write it all out in this post. But I will summarize for you and then let you take it in on your own, over and over again, which is what I do. Staring in verse 4, we will always rejoice in the Lord, no matter what the circumstance or trial you are facing. Paul’s double emphasis on rejoicing implores us never to get down, or to grumble and complain, but to always look to the heavens, even when things are at their worst. Verse 5 says let your moderation be known to all men. This word moderation means gentleness and kindness. We should always show a gentle and kind nature to those around us. This includes our manner and speech. I think of Ephesians 4:29 when I look at this verse. Always speak with grace! Verse 6 tells us not to worry but instead take everything to God in prayer, always being thankful. Verse 7 says that doing verse 6 says will bring us a peace that passes all understanding. Verse 8 says that we should think on things that are honest, true, lovely, just, pure, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. When we think about these things, negativity will be removed from our thought process. Verse 11 tells us that Paul was content in whatever state he was in. Paul was in a lot of very difficult situations, but he remained content because he always knew he was in Christ. Verse 13 tells us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. In the midst of the battle, he gives us the strength to continue to victory. Verse 19 says God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ. Needs, not wants. He will bring those things into our lives that will help us go through whatever comes our way. It doesn’t matter what those things are. When we are deeply in need, he will supply. When we don’t see a way out, He will make a roadway in the wilderness (Isaiah 43:19). When our finances are running too low to pay our bills, He will make rivers in that desert (same verse). There is nothing too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17).
The third part of winning the battle is putting on our armor (Ephesians 6:13-18). We must have the belt of truth the Truth of God’s word wrapped around us, holding up things that might hinder us, that we might run with patience that race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1). Wearing the breastplate of righteousness, Christ’s righteousness, which protects our hearts and vital organs from being wounded in the battle. We must walk prepared to share the gospel, prepared to give account for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). Having on the helmet of salvation provided only by Jesus Christ, which protects our minds and thoughts from the enemy’s attack. The sword of the Spirit must always be by our side and on our tongues. This is the Word of God that we should have embedded ion our brain. It is the only weapon of offense the soldier has in the battle, so you better know it well. Your faith must be strong enough to quench the devil’s attacks. We must not whither or fade at his evil snares. Above all we must tray, pray and pray again. Once we have put all this armor on, we can stand firm and see His salvation being worked out in us (Philippians 2:12). Then we can be still and know that He is God (Psalms 46:10).
I could continue on and on about ways we should fight the good fight but part of fighting that good fight is for you to be in the scripture studying on your own how to be prepared for the battles you will face. This is a crash course, or maybe the Cliff’s notes, to victory. Doing these things will help us lay hold on eternal life and give us a good profession before all men. This is our witness! Fighting through the difficulties in life will make us stronger and in turn give us a better witness. I pray that you will forever fight that good fight that is our faith. Never grow weary in doing well (Galatians 6:9)!