Summary: You have to remember that there will be a lot of battles in the earthly realm before you get to Heaven.
1 Timothy 6:12 KJV Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 KJV I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I. INTRODUCTION—BEARING THE CROSS
Thomas a’ Kempis—If thou bear the cross, it will soon bear thee.
The story is told of a great businessman who lived in the 1970’s who managed to learn this very principle that added to his life. He told of how that when he was 14 years old that an older brother of his became very sick. The time frame would have been sometime in the 1930’s. He said that his family was so poor that they could not afford the kind of medical care necessary to take care of his brother and so his care was left up to him and his mother. His father toiled away working on the farm and took on as many odd jobs as a handyman to try to help pay for a cure for his sick son.
Finally it reached the point where the country doctor told the family that there was nothing else to be done but just give him supportive care and provide as many comfort measures as possible. The businessman said that during this time that were some very unpleasant tasks that he had to perform. But because he loved his brother, he was willing to do what he could to help him. He said that always when he got the task completed that he felt good about what he had done. Day after day, this fourteen-year old young man and his mother did their best to take care of his brother without complaint.
When his brother died, the businessman said that he forgot about the unpleasant parts of the care and thought about how much his brother appreciated what he had done for him. He said that he was glad to have done what he could.
Being dirt-poor, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for advancement except through the elbow grease of plain, hard work. He took on a lot of hard jobs and a lot of times there was the temptation to give up and quit. Every day he did his best at the job and when he would get home that night he would feel good about what he had pressed on through. He knew that he had done what he should have done. He learned and practiced one of life’s greatest truths: The cross bears those who bear the cross.
-There are some distasteful things about life that have the ability to shape us into what God wants us to be but only if we are willing to bear the cross and to stick with what we have to do!
William Mathews—The difficulties, hardships, and the trials of life, the obstacles that one encounters on the road to fortune, are positive blessings. They knit the muscles more firmly, and teach self-reliance. Peril is the element in which power is developed.
Carlyle—He who has battled with poverty and hard toil will be found stronger and more expert than he who could stay at home from the battle, concealed among the provision wagons, or abiding by the stuff.
Anonymous—It is not the helps but obstacles, not faculties but difficulties, that make men.
II. TWO CONNECTED PASSAGES
-This is what the great Apostle Paul was getting at when he was writing to Timothy about fighting the good fight of faith. At the end of his life, Paul was clearly telling Timothy that the connection between a “kept” faith is going to be a “fought for” faith.
-There is a discovery that all men have to make at some point in their lives, they have to fight for their faith at every turn.
• In private and in public.
• In the home and at the workplace.
• In his own life and in the life of those to whom he is responsible.
-The discovery is that if a man can learn for fight for righteousness in his own personal life then the world around him will begin to change by degrees. Far too many times we have the tendency to think that we will win the fight for our faith in one single battle.
-The reality is that we fight for our faith every single day. When we have an understanding of the faith, it is clear that Paul was having reference more than just a set of doctrinal views and beliefs.