“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)
Did you know God called us to fight? The problem is we’re not so good at picking our battles. Before you engage in a conflict, ask yourself, “Is this worth dying over?” If it is, then fight. Our natural tendency, though, is to fight over stuff that isn’t worth dying for. Paul instructs Timothy to “Fight the good fight of faith.” To do that we must identify the real enemy. In Ephesians 6:12, he does just that: “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 Satan’s 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.
If we are to fight the good fight of faith, we must know our 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. He wages war against us and our relationships.
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 image 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 with 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, it’s time to call a truce and regroup. Direct your fight against the real enemy and not one another. Ask God to rebuke the evil one and restore your relationship.
You may be experiencing what seems like constant irritations and battles during this time of sheltering at home together. The good news is that there is victory the instant we identify the real enemy and fight for our friends, our families, and our homes!