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Listening to the radio the other day in the car, I heard a song with the lyrics “fight the good fight.” Well, of course, I immediately thought of the verse in 1 Timothy where Paul urges Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith,” (see 1 Timothy 6:12). Having heard this quoted countless times through the years, my mind began down a well-worn path of familiarity. However, this time I was also struck by something only glossed over previously: the word “good.” What makes a fight a good fight? If there are good fights, there also must be bad fights…. Wait! I already knew that!
A bad fight is the one you have with your toddler every day over what she wants to wear….
A bad fight is the one you have with the stranger in the store who saw that you were both approaching the same check-out line and raced to get in front of you…
A bad fight is pretty much any fight over politics (unless you’re a politician)…
A bad fight is almost every fight with your spouse about the petty, stupid things that we all fight about….
A bad fight is the one you have with a virtual friend-of-a-friend, whom you have never met in real life, over their comments or views on anything…
And there are a host of other bad fights out there. Bad fights waste our time and deplete our energy; rarely is there a true winner; there are definitely no rewards; and perhaps worst of all, they distract us from the truly important things in life.
The truth is, there are only a handful of really good fights: the fight for your marriage, for your children, for safety and freedom, for those who cannot fight for themselves, to name a few. But the greatest “good fight” of all is the fight for our faith.
With all of the petty things that we are willing to argue and quarrel and yes, even fight, over, you might think we would also quickly rise up in courageous defense of our faith. Sadly, I find this not to be the case. What I see all too often is that we – myself included – think for some reason that our faith is “okay” and will remain intact, whether we are involved or not. We are passive about our faith, when it is truly the subtle target of every anti-Christ sentiment in the world today. Of all things, we must fight for our faith. We must engage our enemy and not shrink down in fear or be lulled to sleep by the innumerable distractions of this life.
Our faith is under a focused and calculated assault. Don’t think so? Open your eyes and look around. Nearly everything that is being promoted and exalted these days is in direct opposition to the sacred truths of the Bible. This assault comes in the form of the carnality and utter brainwashing of our culture through all media and entertainment; unspiritual friends, family members, and coworkers; and even our very nature is at war with the Spirit. Dear friends, if we don’t fight for our faith, it will be stripped from us.
I’ve remarked to many people recently that I feel there is a shaking going on in our world. It’s been said thousands of times by now, but these truly are unprecedented times; we haven’t been this way before. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken (Hebrews 12:27)! We’re only going to make it if our faith is unshakable!
What will happen to our friends or our children if we lose our faith? We all have low times, sure. But the price of losing our faith is simply too high. We must press on for ourselves, for our friends and family, and for those that come behind.
How to Fight
1.Declare your faith, and settle it in your heart. If there is a piece of your heart unspoken for, the enemy will find your price. It’s a decision that you make. And then you make it again. And then you make it again. And then you make it again…. Every single day. Sometimes multiple times a day. (Joshua 24:15)
2. Be alert! Wake up! I can’t stress this one enough. People, we just are not aware of so much that is seeping into us. We mindlessly consume the news, movies, TV shows, “popular” books, blogs, and social media feeds that are subtly – and blatantly – eroding our faith. Be on guard when something you see or hear appeals to your fleshly desires, your pride or your intellect. It all sounds so smart, doesn’t it? Careful! (1 Peter 5:8-9)
3. Cast down lying thoughts. How can we catch a lie if we don’t know the truth? The Word of God is what helps us to succeed in catching the “imaginations” and “high things” that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) If there was ever a time where every other ideology and wisdom of man is exalting itself, it’s this present time. We must be discerning and learn to distinguish lie from truth.
4. Use the weapons of the Spirit. God knew that our faith would be tested, but He didn’t leave us to figure out how to fight on our own. He outlined the weapons that we can use to defend ourselves in Ephesians 6:10-18: the belt of truth, breastplate (or body armor) of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit and PRAYER!
5. Pray continually. People get messed up when they think that prayer can only happen in a particular place or time; we can be praying all of the time. What is prayer but – in simplest terms – a conversation with God? Perhaps even better said, it’s an invitation for God to talk to you! BUT – you are responsible for opening the lines of communication. I’m at my best when I go through my day whispering prayers every few moments to the Lord, even if only to thank Him for His goodness. It’s just keeping the lines of communication open; that way, when something does arise, we are already ready to deal with the situation with a godly perspective. So much is being thrown at us every single day – WE MUST PRAY to win the battle. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
6. Fellowship with faith-reinforcements. With intention, choose to surround yourself with those who would fight this good fight with you. Increase time with those who add to your faith, and decrease time with those who would subtract from it. I know we can’t live in a bubble, and I wouldn’t want us to, for how else will others hear the gospel? However, there is a dire need to keep company with those who strengthen you. Why is it so easy to see the influence of peers and “peer pressure” on teenagers and children but so difficult to believe it is still present when we are adults? Trust me, we are still all being influenced by those we spend the most time with! Choose wisely. (Proverbs 27:17)
The biggest takeaway, here, is really just to awaken your soul to fight! To be aggressive in defending your faith! Remember, God has given you many tools to use, and He will be by your side every step of the way. Be courageous and protect that which is most precious: your faith!