Most people aren’t raised to take much of anything. In a culture where everything is geared towards our instant gratification or entertainment, many aren’t equipped to “fight the good fight” of faith and life. Most people quit when things are out of control because let’s keep things honest here, when you can control the situation there is a sense victory in just that. But when what you expect doesn’t turn out to be, or the best motives and intentions cause unexpected conflict or challenges, there is an urge in all of us that wants to quit. This can refer to relationships, jobs, even keeping up a house with a husband, 4 kids and a dog; heck, just a house and a dog. How easily we purpose ourselves and set out to accomplish a “to do” list interrupted by the urgent which can make us throw up our hands and start to question everything in life.
What happens though when God has birthed a vision on your heart…or you have the opportunity to pursue a lifetime dream and suddenly you are out of your comfort zone? We come to church and deal with fleshly sins such as language, adultery, stealing, idolatry, but someone can look “holy” on the outside but really be a weakling in the spirit. The truth is, as long as you are all clean on the outside; no one really knows what the depth of your character will expose when faced with adversity. The bible calls them sins of the flesh and sins of the spirit. There are things that attack the flesh and things that attack the spirit. Now I am going to go ahead and speak like Paul when I say “this is what I say” and make some observations from experience. You can have someone that doesn’t struggle with fleshly things. They don’t smoke, they don’t drink, run around with women but until you marry them or get on the job with them; until you are working side by side do you realize that they don’t keep their word… they don’t show up on time… they quit easy… they don’t complete their assignments or they are completely indecisive from one moment to the other. They wouldn’t take a drink if their life depended on it but they don’t have the faith or Godly character to stand by you through a fight in the lion’s den.
Aside from other people or situations there is just the fight of life, where we go through seasons and lose time, courage, money. What do you do when you lose the fight (and there will be many you lose along the way) when the enemy is within. I have thus far fought a good fight. I have fought with liars, backbiters, betrayers and abusers. I have lost. I have lost money, friends, family, time, courage, pride, tenacity, sleep; but, what keeps me going…what needs to keep us all going is knowing that God is in the battle with us. He is our strength in weakness, our refuge in vulnerability, our provider no matter what. It’s not what other people say about you that will cause you to be defeated. It’s what you say about you that will defeat you.
Winning is not for the faint of heart. You have to fight to get up on your feet after defeat. You have to fight to get out bed sometimes. You have to fight to keep believing when there is no money in the checkbook. You have to keep fighting when everyone tells you what you are doing is ridiculous. You see, it’s not about the fights along the way, it’s about the race. While running the race you are really fighting areas in your life that need to be often put to death in order to finish. I know I have fought with my fears, my doubt, my insecurities, alone and with those I believed were my friends but what matters most is that you keep fighting to run the race. If you can’t walk, then you fight to crawl, and if you can’t stand anymore then you fight sitting down, I even had to fight with family and there were nights that I couldn’t even sleep because I was fighting with myself…FIGHT A GOOD FIGHT…I fought so much at times what others consider ”fighting the good fight of faith” is just a normal day. I fought such a good fight that my perception of what a fight is has been revolutionized.
Paul (the old man) tells Timothy, the young man…”I fought a good fight.” You may not have seen it. You saw all the glamour, the healings, but let me tell you what you didn’t see, I kept the faith when my family didn’t stand by me, I fought a good fight when my check book was empty, I fought a good fight when I couldn’t walk anymore and I had to crawl…but I fought good fight…I lost a lot of stuff along the way, I lost a lot of friends, I lost a lot of strength, I lost a lot of money, I lost a lot of courage, I lost a lot of time, but I kept down on my knees, I kept believing in the God who “watches over His Word so it doesn’t return void” and I kept believing. Lonely I kept believing, betrayed I kept believing. Abused and abandoned I kept believing!…NO MATTER WHAT KEEP THE FAITH…The point I am trying to make is keep running the race even if you fall down. Keep running the race even if you have to put your pride aside and ask someone to help carry you around…keep running.