Summary: A look at the call to "fight the good fight."
FIGHTING: You were made to take ground.
- 1 Timothy 1:18b – “fight the good fight.”
- It’s a fight. It’s a battle.
- You are a warrior, a soldier.
- This is a spiritual battle rather than a physical ground, but that doesn’t change the need to take ground.
- This world is a battleground, not a playground.
IT IS A "GOOD" FIGHT: There is evil and it needs to be destroyed.
- 1 Timothy 1:18b – “good fight.”
- The word “good” here works in two ways: good in giving our best and good in doing what’s right.
- It is a battle worth winning.
- It is worthy of our sacrifice.
- Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
- The image of our faith is a cross, not a pillow.
- Wanting to be left alone in our comfort is immature.
- We are too often content with the evil we see in the world being distant as opposed to being destroyed.
- We wail when evil touches us, condemning God’s management of the universe, but we are quick to move past tragic news reports when the news does not touch those we love.
WHY AM I SURROUND BY PROBLEM PEOPLE AND PROBLEM SITUATIONS? Because they are people and situations worth fighting for.
- Yes, this world is full of brokenness. Our job is not to avoid it, but to redeem it. Or, more specifically, to join in God redeeming it.
- Why doesn’t God do something about the evil that’s in the world? The answer is: He is.
- He sent His Son. He offers us a way to new life. He looks for opportunities to enter into struggling, pained lives and point them toward hope.
- It’s a difficult job. Rather than cursing the darkness, God is working one life at a time to shine light. Rather than leaving us stuck in our sin, God has opened up the door for us to step beyond that.
- This fight is less about our spiritual growth and more about the brokenness of the world.
- Yes, there is spiritual growth for us that happens as we stand and fight for God, as we engage people in their struggles and guide them out. But that spiritual growth is a secondary effect. The primary impact is that those battles are fought and won.
- There are people and situations that need fought for.
- Too many of us as American Christians tend to focus more on our comfort than our conquest. We’re more interested in evil being deflected (from us) than being defeated.
“FAITH AND A GOOD CONSCIENCE" - WHY MENTION THESE TWO THINGS IN PARTICULAR?
1. “FAITH”: Some of the most important battles look hopeless for a while.
- 1 Timothy 1:19a – “holding on to faith.”
- Faith is the evidence of things not seen.
- We need faith to hold on when we feel outnumbered, when we feel weak, when we feel uncertain, when the path to victory is not clear, when everyone else is walking away.
- We have to be willing to stay in the battle even when it looks hopeless.
- Obviously, the greatest example of this is the cross. No situation looked more hopeless than the cross: the supposed Savior, now bloody and breathless, being laid to rest in a tomb. The hopes that rest on His ministry were laid to rest there beside Him. It was over.
- And yet there was hope when all hope seemed to be gone. There was a power from God that they didn’t know about.
- We need to not be hopeless.
2. “A GOOD CONSCIENCE”: It’s important to be able to say, “I gave my best.”
- 1 Timothy 1:19a – “holding on to . . . a good conscience.”
- It’s important to be able to say that we gave our best.
- It’s important to be able to say that we didn’t give in to compromise.
- Too many skate along doing less than what’s necessary or what they’re capable of.
- There are times when we know that God is prodding us toward more and we know we stayed put.
- Another reason this is important: you can’t always tell how much we put into a battle by the outcome of that battle.
- Sometimes we barely do anything, but there are other factors in play that lead to a victorious outcome.
- Sometimes we do all we can, put blood, sweat, and tears into the fight, only to have the battle end up being lost.
- Ultimately, we’re not judged by the outcome of the battle. There are usually greater powers than us in play. We are judged by whether we did all that we could.
A FINAL QUESTION: What ground do you intend to take this week?
- Where are your opportunities to step into situations or lives and shine the light of Christ?