When I first read this particular verse, for some reason, I did not really see it as a fight. It is not that I could not read. It CLEARLY says, FIGHT! A fight is bloody, there will be casualties, it requires strength, it demands determination, even skill. When a fighter walks into a fight, one would hope that they have prepared for it, ready and willing to beat the other person and come out victorious…one would hope.
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12 NLT
When I first heard this, in my mind, it was so simple. I did not need to fight. I was already winning. I was high on what I am choosing to call, ‘the joy of my salvation’. Now, I realise that with maturity comes a change of perspective. Everyone has to fight at some point. The opponent is always the same but he brings unique fights to different people. Whether your fight is emotional or something else, at some point, you will have to fight and fight with everything you have to “hold tightly to the eternal life God has called you” because losing this fight is not an option.
My fight has always been emotional and of course, it is. The Enemy will not bring a fight to me that is easy – if I could pummel my opponent easily, that is not a fight. It is something else. It had to be something that would be challenging to ME. Something that requires courage – an overcoming of fear and a resolution to fight – no matter the outcome. As Nigerians, say, “we die here“. In addition to fighting, we are to hold on to our eternal life. Hold on to salvation, which means releasing and letting go of everything that will stand as a hindrance to holding on to salvation.
For me, it means, choosing forgiveness ALL THE TIME without exception. Dropping offence. Allowing God heal me. It means letting God defend me. It means looking and feeling foolish a lot. It means constantly going back to God and God alone as my Source of Life, Healing and Sustenance. If I am holding unto anything that will stop be from being able to fight and hold on, I will not be able to fight nor hold on. I will definitely lose, so I have to let go…and let God!
For this fight, it cannot be avoided. It is a matter of when, not if. As Christians, we have been called to fight because it is in fighting we learn endurance. When we start fighting, we learn how the enemy fights and we can then begin to actively resist him and defend his blows – in whatever form they come in. It is in fighting we learn to listen to our Instructor and practice the tips He has provided us with to enable us win.
It is in fighting that we are able to show that we practice what we preach. We do not just say we are fighting – we actually fight and show others how we fight because even though we are fighting, our fight does not concern only us. There are others – witnesses – who are watching who will either be encouraged to fight or be discouraged and flee.
Thankfully, this fight is called the good fight. We are not just thrown into the ring and left alone. There is consistent help, present to walk us through every punch that is thrown, there is guidance to instruct us on how to avoid getting hit, how and when to duck. When to attack and when to retreat. For every second of the fight, there is a Helper, speaking, guiding and leading – if we are open and quiet enough to take heed.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you”.
John 14:16-17 NLT
In this new year, people have been peopling too much and my gut reaction is to just walk away. Drop everything and run – it is easier and has worked for me in the past but somehow, I feel like that would be me going around a mountain again instead of conquering it. I have to stay. I have to forgive. I have to let go and actually let God do the work in me He wants to do. I have to fight. That is the only way for me to be able to win this fight. To receive all my training so I can actually fight – it is a fact that althought training is difficult, it produces the required results.
If we are to fight this good fight of faith, we have to come ready to do all it takes to win. We have to fight. We have to be ready and willing to take a beating (ah, you WILL be beaten, I cannot lie) but as we are beaten, we get stronger. We get wiser. We get better, kinder, more loving. Our capacity for patience increases. We have more empathy. As we fight, our minds are renewed. Our hearts are transformed. We are continually transformed increasingly into the image of Christ.
…but isn’t that the whole point?
As I write this, I give thanks (these posts are as much for you as they are for me!) because I realise that my heart had hardened against a few things and God cannot do anything with a heart of stone. A heart of flesh is necessary – ‘a contrite heart’ – to fight this good fight. We have to keep fighting. Keep pushing to be able to hold unto the prize. It IS the ultimate prize because nothing else really matters.
Let us pray…
Heavenly Father, thank You for your loving kindness and Your gift of the Holy Spirit, Who helps us fight this good fight of faith daily. We pray for strength to persevere and keep fighting when things get too much. Help us to hold on to You, lean on You and keep our eyes on You as we press unto the goal of our higher calling. I ask that you heal those who are wounded and comfort those in distress. I pray that You restore the joy of salvation to all who are struggling and that you open the eyes and hearts of those who need the truth. In Jesus name, Amen!
Love and Blessings,