Pastoral Reflection for Thursday 21st May
“Fight the good fight of the faith.” 1 Timothy Chapter 6v12
Paul had real admiration for the young Timothy. He saw great promise in him as a gospel worker. Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus, with the intention of coming back; so in the meantime he had written this letter to him, concerning issues that were arising in the church. This letter is dealing with false teachers who were troubling the church. In the letter Paul shows that true Christianity is evidenced by a lifestyle that is shaped by the gospel. Paul knew, just as we do, that the Christian life can often be a struggle, and so he encourages young Timothy with these words-“Fight the good fight of the faith.”
The Christian life involves spiritual warfare every single day, because the Christian lives in enemy territory. There is no conflict in heaven as everyone is internally and externally of the one mind. The environment of heaven is in keeping with the soul of the believer. However, as we know, that is not the case here. Indeed the church on earth is known as the ‘church militant’ and the church in heaven as the ‘church triumphant.’ In some ways, the struggles we face as Christians can come as quite a shock after coming to faith. When a person comes to faith there is often such a sense of peace, identity and purpose; and awareness of God’s love, forgiveness and grace, that the idea of conflict is not really on the horizon. Of course that changes very soon. We soon discover it is a battle from start to finish. Indeed, it seems to intensify the further on we go. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed, exhausted, deflated and crushed; to the extent we wonder how much longer we can keep going. The Scriptures make many references to this conflict-“I have fought a good fight.” “Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 6 talks about the whole armour of God. However, despite all the hardships and conflicts, we will always keep going, because of our union with Christ, for He will never let us go.
We fight against the (a) world; all that is found in the attitudes, philosophies, standards and systems that are opposed to the will of God. (b) We fight against the flesh; the lust of the flesh includes anything that appeals to our fallen human nature. God has given us various appetites, and provision to meet these appetites: but the flesh seeks to fulfil these appetites in ways God has forbidden-so there is an ongoing daily struggle and conflict with this. We so often say with the apostle, “The good that I would do, I do not, and the evil that I would not do, that is what I do. It’s an area that causes much soul searching, sorrow, struggles and confession. Our heart is so deceitful and treacherous, that our greatest enemy really is within us. (c) We fight against the devil. He is a relentless enemy who constantly tempts, assaults, accuses, disturbs, frightens and allures. In light of all this the Christian is involved in a constant fight.
However, we see it is termed a Good Fight. It is a good fight for the cause is a good one. It is good because engaging in this fight shows that the Holy Spirit is within us. This struggle and conflict could not be happening, if we did not have the Spirit. We need to try and remember, when we are being battered and buffeted that we are truly blessed. God could have left us on our own, but He chose not to. He loved us with an everlasting love and chose to make each one of us one of His crown jewels. It is also a good fight because it climaxes in a glorious end. We must by faith keep that end in view. Paul adds, “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.” It is also a righteous fight, for God has ordered it, and God has equipped every Christian with the necessary armoury to engage in it. It is a fight for liberty, as we seek more and more to break free from the stranglehold of sin.
It is also a fight of Faith. This fight is for the most part, unseen by any other person. It is a fight the world knows nothing of. The battleground is mainly in the heart. Many a powerful blow for the cause of Christ and our personal growth has been delivered there. Many a time the evil one has left defeated. Sadly, many a time he has been successful, but also, many a time grace has conquered with the Word. Faith in the Lord is our sword; and the more we use it, the sharper and more successful it becomes. In our times of temptation and trial, faith looks up to Christ. We depend on Him for constant supplies of spiritual strength to enable us to progress in our Christian life. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Faith is exercised as it battles with all the lusts, and as it lays hold, both of the threatening and promises of God’s Word. Faith comes to God in prayer. Prayer has no life in it if it is not of faith. Hebrews 11 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Faith lays hold upon God and faith stays the course as we wait on the Lord. Whatever struggles are within or without, faith must look away from all else, and fix upon Christ. We are soldiers in the Lord’s army. In order to develop and grow, the two great principles of military warfare are also the principles in the Christian fight-(1) Know your enemy, and (2) Know your resources. Every day we need to pray for grace and strength to fight a good fight. Every day we need to strive, push, press, reach, run, wrestle and fight. We need to be encouraged with this ongoing battle, as it is evidence that the Holy Spirit abides within us.
God bless every one of you with His grace, presence, strength and power.
Love and prayers,
Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash