Fighting the Good Fight
Christians are called upon to fight the good fight. It is a fight “of faith.” Timothy was specifically given the instructions, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim 6:12; cf. 1 Tim 1:18). This fight would not be easy, and Timothy was also warned about persecutions. Paul wrote, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12).
How do we deal with, on the one hand, knowing we must fight a good fight of faith and, on the other, knowing we will have to deal with persecutions? What is our strategy for fighting?
Even today, there is much talk about possible persecutions that may be coming our way. Some of this can get pretty political, of course, but that’s not the purpose of this right now. My question to Christians is this: If we do see persecution coming, what exactly shall we do? How shall we fight a good fight of faith?
Shall we take up arms to fight it physically? Would that be a fight of faith? Shall we incite widespread insurrection and rebellion? Would that be in submission to God? Shall we embed ourselves in a fortress and go out in a blaze of gunfire, taking as many out with us as possible? Would that be showing our trust in God? Or maybe to a lesser extent, shall we complain and murmur about being mistreated? Shall we “take it,” but fuss about it the entire time? What will we do? What its the godly way to fight this fight?
The issue here is NOT whether or not to fight. The issue is how that fight is to be engaged. If we are to follow the example of our Lord, what did He do? What did the apostles do? What did the early Christians do? How did they fight the onslaught of Babylon (using the language of Revelation)?
Make no mistake about it. We are already in the battle. But this battle is not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12), nor is it a battle that can be won by turning plowshares back into swords and pruning hooks back into spears (Isa 2:2-4). That will only ensure defeat since it is the opposite of God’s revealed will. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, and it will not be through carnal means that this battle is won. We are reminded of Paul’s point in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
“For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Victory, overcoming the world, is through faith in the One who has already won the battle (1 John 5:1-4). The blood has already been shed, and it was His own blood dripping from His garments (Rev 19:13). It is this blood that offers victory to all nations and by which He ultimately conquers.
This helps us answer, “What, then, shall we do?” Here’s what we find brings victory: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death” (Rev 12:11). Reflect on the importance of these three points. We overcome by:
1. The blood of the Lamb.
2. The word of the testimony.
3. The commitment even to death.
Indeed, Babylon is encroaching and will continue to do so. The dragon of old is angry and will come after God’s people and try to force us to worship the beast. It has long been so. We may even be called on to give our lives. But we have the power of blood of the Lamb, the power of the Word, and the power of commitment — and if engaged properly, we cannot lose. God promises deliverance, whether by life or by death. The irony is that Christians will always appear to be losing. The reality is the opposite, for God takes what appears to be weak and makes it strong. It’s not the way people would do it, but God’s ways are not ours. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.
Don’t put your trust in worldly, carnal methods and earthly weapons. Don’t trust worldly princes to fight the spiritual battles. Fight the good fight of faith and lay hold of eternal life. “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”We don’t seek to be persecuted, but we need to know what we are doing if and when it comes.