“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, endurance and gentleness.
Fight the good fight of the faith.”
1Timothy 6:11-12 NIV
My wise daddy used to say, “It’s a fight from the cradle to the grave!” Without a doubt, I have observed that he spoke the truth. Fight? How can this be right? As Christians aren’t we suppose to be a peaceful bunch? Why is it that the peace we long to have surround us always seems to be an illusive butterfly?
One thing for sure, in this life, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. The air conditioner goes out and the same week someone hits your car in the mall parking lot. Perhaps you have a child who is struggling or a spouse who is on overload and is a bit grouchy. The very next week you discover that the kitchen sink is clogged, the washing machine stops working, and a friend misunderstands you. On top of all this, the phone rings and your dad, who is on the line informs you that your mother is sick and needs your help. To add insult to injury as you rush past a mirror on your way out the door, again it is revealed to you that your beautician has given you the worse haircut of the century! The list seems to be unending. Peace? You’ve got to be kidding!
In my life I am learning that I can only have real peace within my spirit. This peace is not found on this earth but it is a heavenly peace that comes from our Father in heaven. Satan and all of his forces surround us everyday. Satan knows when we have moved away from God and our mind has become focused on the “negative stuff” of life and Satan knows when we are focused on our Savior. One sure way we know we are on the right track is when Satan begins throwing adversity into our lives. We must never underestimate the lengths Satan will go to in order to discourage us by disrupting our lives. He does this by putting lots and lots of “negative stuff” in our life.
Paul tells Timothy, “fight the good fight of faith”. Paul also tells us how to do it. “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 As believers we are to fight for our faith. Paul says this is a “good fight”, a fight worth fighting for. We fight Satan and his crew by pursuing righteousness. We do this by reading God’s Word. God’s Word teaches us what God says is right and what is wrong. In our attitudes and actions we must pursue and choose right responses and actions. We must learn to recognize Godly behavior and then choose to apply that same behavior to our life. The “good fight” of faith is none other than our faithfulness and loyalty to our Father. When Satan begins to pile on the “negative stuff” we must not cave in to his tactics. Remember your first thought does not have to be your final response.
When I choose faithfulness over unfaithfulness Satan is trampled! When I find it difficult to love, I must start with compassion. I must try to understand where the other person is coming from. When my thought pattern begins to change, Jesus opens my heart to experience his compassion. When I choose to be more understanding and compassionate I am now free to choose to be merciful. I have found that compassion must precede mercy and mercy invokes love. When we look to Jesus we see without a doubt that it was out of his great compassion and mercy that he lovingly chose to take our punishment.
We must not try to do this alone. We must choose to call upon the Holy Spirit in our time of need. He enables us to endure adversity and to take two steps back when necessary. The Holy Spirit prompts us to re-evaluate the situation and then respond in gentleness. Why should we do this? We do this because Satan is defeated when we do. This is how we fight the “good fight” of our faith. A faith that is worth fighting for!
We have been issued the equipment to fight in this battle. We must not try to fight Satan alone, nor should we expect God to rescue us while we continue to run around in confusion as we endeavor to find our own way out of the chaos. This is a battle to be fought by both you and God. The fight is between our sinful nature verses the Spirit. When we call upon the Holy Spirit he empowers us to side with God instead of Satan.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrow of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith,” 1 Peter 5:8-9a NIV Make no mistake Satan prowls around in our homes, our relationships, our responsibilities, our cars, our jobs, our finances, and he uses all that we hold dear to upset our apple cart. He does not fight fair. He is a sneaky liar. He is subtle and he attacks us at our weakest point. He causes disruption, stress, and confusion. We must train ourselves to be self-controlled and alert. We must be intentional about recognizing life for what it is; a struggle of the flesh vs. the spirit. The everyday struggles of life are not just struggles; they are without doubt spiritual struggles. We must not brush them off with the idea that this is “just life”. It is NOT “just life”, it is Satan at his finest hour doing what he does best! Discouragement, disappointment, depression, distractions, delays, division, and discontentment are all in his bag of devastating tricks designed for one purpose alone. That purpose is to cause us to take our eyes off Jesus. Oh how I need this lesson today and every day. I must tune in to the whisper of the Holy Spirit as he reveals to me the mind of Christ. I must seek to know the mind of Christ! One thing for sure, the mind of Christ is always the exact opposite of the way the world thinks. It is Satan who is the prince of this world and he is busy pushing his lies into the minds of all who walk this planet. He does this by attacking us where we live, work, and play. Remember, if it is not one thing, it is another. Be alert and stand firm!
- How do the distractions of life affect you?
- Have you considered the very real possibility that Satan is the instigator?
- Will you consider the possibility that your faith is worth fighting for?
- What can you do to remember Paul’s advise to Timothy?
- Will you partner with God and fight the “good fight”?
Dear Father in Heaven,
Oh how I need this lesson today and everyday! I confess that I allow the circumstances of my life to often get the best of me. Father, I pray that I would choose to fight the “good fight” of my faith. I pray that I will recognize that it is Satan who is orchestrating havoc in my life. Lord, I pray that I will stand up tall and firm against him. I pray that, just like you Lord, I would use scripture to rebuke and bind Satan and demand by the power of your name, that he leave my mind. Even though problems remain, I know that your Holy Spirit will enable me to respond in compassion, mercy, love, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I pray that I will see the pursuit of righteousness is both a privilege and a blessing. I pray I will see that choosing faithfulness produces nothing short of pure joy and inner peace. I thank you Father for peace, this amazing peace that passes all earthly knowledge and understanding, but is none the less real. Lord I give you my frustrations, burdens, challenges, and trials. Help me this day to fight the “good fight".
It is in your name I pray. Amen.