Did you Say a GOOD Fight?
Paul said “I have fought the GOOD FIGHT, I have finished the race, I have kept the FAITH.” Is there such a thing as a good fight? (2 Timothy 4:7)
We’ve all been in a fight or fights in life. So, what is a good fight? It’s the fight in which we win. Most of us make no pretense of being a good fighter in
Our child-adolescent years. Some do and are a legend in their own mind. The more they tell their story, the bigger the story becomes.
Today, we have numerous opportunities to be in a fight daily. More of a fight with our emotions, lack of patience, relationships, etc. Have you been in a fight with self-control concerning anger when driving? Patience with long-lines at a checkout at a box store? How about discouragement or depression? Some believers treat FIGHT as if it’s one of the gifts of the spirit listed in 1 Corinthians. They’re offended, angry or in strife with someone or something much of their life.
Paul’s fight was with a spiritual enemy manifested through several real people-groups on his journey with Jesus. He said, “I have finished the race, I have KEPT the FAITH.” Paul often used words in the realm of athletics or military. He describes some of his battles-fights: shipwrecks, stoned and left for dead, beaten with a rod and whip on several occasions, imprisoned, threatened with death, slandered by many, rejection, etc. His descriptions of fights make most of us look like the proverbial “Pee-Wee Herman.” Our trials are real, but perspective is so important to keep us from wandering in the wilderness of self-pity. Anyone besides me ever been challenged with the stronghold of self-pity?
If we’re not focused, we too often end up in the not-so-good fights. People who disagree with us; a driver who doesn’t use their blinkers; how someone treats us, etc. Those are not good fights. A good fight could be described as A PURPOSE that isn’t self-focused, but other’s focused. Something that helps others. Some examples: fighting for the unborn child; fighting against human-trafficking; feeding the hungry; helping the widow, elderly or orphans; helping individuals with drug-alcohol addictions, teaching children, the gift of helps in a local church, etc. How about the greatest battle between light and darkness that involves the eternal soul? Eternity has only two options: Heaven with Jesus or Hell without Jesus. I realize that hell is not popular, but Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven. Paul’s PURPOSE was to share the gospel to the Gentiles (non-Jews). He endured numerous fights/battles and was able to say, “I have Fought the GOOD FIGHT, I have finished the race, I have kept the FAITH.”
A Good Fight Could be Described as a PURPOSE That Isn’t Self-Focused, But Other’s Focused
QUESTION – are you involved in a GOOD fight, or just fights? Do you have God-given PURPOSE?
HOW “DO” We FIGHT to Win? May I give four brief suggestions.
#1 Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to a PURPOSE bigger than SELF. Please do so before others attempt to impose their purpose on you. Yes, we all have daily lives that require much of our time. Yet, in the midst of our busyness, you have a purpose beyond the ordinary. That purpose often revolves around two criteria. Your MOTIVATIONAL GIFTS (Romans 12: 4 - 8) the Holy Spirit deposited in your life. Call it a talent, call it a gift, but you’re good at something. Also, your PASSION. What would you attempt to do to build HIS Kingdom if you knew you couldn’t fail? It may seem insignificant to many, but it certainly isn’t to the Holy Spirit. Just like the various members of our natural body, some are more visible than others, but that doesn’t necessarily make them more important. All the members of the body are important. We can live without an eye, ear, finger or toe, but we can’t survive without the parts that can’t be seen: heart, lungs, liver, kidney. The Body of Christ has numerous members. Be who you are in Christ and you’ll make a difference. Your purpose will keep fuel in your tank.
#2 Develop and nurture your FAITH so it can be strong. Develop a devotional life that includes prayer and ingesting the living word. Fellowship with other believers and be an active participant in a Bible-believing local church. Look for ways to serve others in building His Kingdom.
#3 Avoid DISTRACTIONS and various rabbit trails on your journey with Him so that you can make a DIFFERENCE and be EFFECTIVE. Life has many challenges. Love God, Love Your Family, Love Others. Sometimes we can become EFFICIENT in what we’re doing, yet we’re not EFFECTIVE. There’s a difference. Efficiency is doing things right, while effectiveness is doing the right things. Some of us are efficient, but not effective. I’ve been guilty at times, how about you? If the efficient person had been on the Titanic, they would have probably been rearranging the deck chairs. Everything looked good, but the ship was sinking. Holy Spirit help us to be effective in building the Kingdom of God.
Efficiency is Doing Things Right, While Effectiveness is Doing the Right Things
#4 Need for “WE” – RELATIONSHIPS. We need others. God never designed us to do life alone and I’m not referring to marriage. Doing life “alone” is not good. Doing life alone is not God’s plan. Doing life alone is not healthy. Jesus sent out His disciples two by two (Luke 10:1). He said, “If any two of you agree in prayer, where two or more are gathered in my name…” (Matt 18: 19-20), Ecclesiastes 4: 10-12, “If ONE falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has NO ONE to help him up! Though ONE may be overpowered, TWO can defend themselves. A cord of THREE strands is not quickly broken.” We need others on our journey.
I’m reminded of an old African parable about a BLIND man and a CRIPPLED man who stumbled into each other in the forest. They were both lost. The blind man told his story of wandering in the forest, but couldn’t see to find his way out. The crippled man told his story that he couldn’t walk. Together they came up with a plan. The blind man carried the crippled man and together, they found their way out. They needed each other.
What believers are you in close relationship with? When you’re in a trial, who would you call? If you receive a bad report from your doctor or pink slip from your employer, who would you call? If you face a major challenge in your marriage or family, who would you call? Who do you encourage? Who encourages you? Relationships are like our bank account – it (they) requires regular deposits to be healthy.
Healthy Relationships Are Like Bank Accounts. They Don’t Just Happen, They Require Regular Deposits
May I encourage you to avoid the daily fights that are simply fights and FOCUS on the GOOD FIGHT of faith (Purpose) the Holy Spirit has called you to. Keep nurturing your faith, find a place to serve and invest in some quality RELATIONSHIPS.