February 3, 2014

Fight The Good Fight

Fight the good fight of faith.” 1 Timothy 6:12a (NKJV)

“Don’t be afraid! Remember the Lord who is great and glorious;

fight for your friends, your families, and your homes!”

Nehemiah 4:14 (LB) 

Pick your battles. Ask yourself, “Is this worth dying over?” If it is, then fight. The trouble is we tend to fight over stuff that isn’t worth dying for. Paul instructs Timothy to “Fight the good fight of faith.”  In Ephesians 6:12 he identifies the real enemy. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” One of our enemies’ strategies is to get us to fight the wrong foe. Before you know it, you are engaged in a conflict with your spouse, family member or friend and you think they are the enemy. They’re not the enemy. The real enemy is the one behind the scenes pouring fuel on the fire. Know your enemy. The Christ follower has three real enemies that Scripture identifies as the world, the flesh and the devil, a.k.a…Sin, Self and Satan. If you’re doing battle with any of them then you’re fighting the good fight of faith! In fact, spiritual warfare is the normal state of affairs for the Spirit-filled Christ follower. We live in a fallen world corrupted by sin and influenced by Satan. When Nehemiah was leading the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem, Israel was on high alert from possible attacks. He told them not to be afraid but to remember that God was with them and what they were doing was worth fighting for. Should they come under attack he instructed them to “fight for your friends, your families and your homes.”  Notice he said to fight for them, not with them. Do you fight for your family or are you fighting with them? One of the first battles in the home may come shortly after you’ve said “I do.” My good friend, Dr. Charles Lowery, put it like this. “Before you are married you have this ideal of what your spouse is going to be. Then you get married and discover that there is a gap between your ideal and what is real. If you focus on that gap, you will have an ordeal!” Don’t focus on the gap. Focus on God and fight for one another, not against each other. The goal is to get on the same side of the struggle and identify who your enemy is. When you do, you will realize just how subtle Satan can be at attacking your relationships and stealing your joy, peace and love. When you see that beginning to happen, call a truce and regroup.  Direct your fight against him and not one another. Ask God to rebuke the evil one and restore your relationship. The battles are constant, but the victory is instant when we “watch (stay alert) and pray.” Remember the Lord, Nehemiah says. He is great and glorious.