Updated: Oct 7, 2021
Last week, in the message, Is It Time To Flee?, we discussed how the Bible gives precise instructions on when we are to FIGHT and when we are to FLEE.
But you, O man of God, FLEE these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. FIGHT the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called, and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. - 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NKJV)
Sometimes there is a need to get involved in a fight on behalf of our faith, but we can not enter that battle haphazardly or casually -- we must move forward with intentionality. And a significant part of choosing to fight spiritual battles with intentionality is choosing to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10 NKJV)
No one can put on the armor of God for you; it’s something you must do yourself.
Memorize the armor elements and pray through their placement in your life daily, the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, loins girded with Truth, the sword of the Spirit, and feet Shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. God has called and commissioned you to fight the GOOD FIGHT of faith, and you must be equipped for battle, “Fight the GOOD FIGHT of faith…” (1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV)
There are two kinds of spiritual fights that exist, one is the good fight, and one is the bad fight. Let’s examine examples of the differences between the two.
BAD FIGHT vs. GOOD FIGHT
PERSONAL RECOGNITION vs. GOD’S GLORY
PERSONAL OPINION vs. GOD’S TRUTH
PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE vs. GOD’S PLAN
PERSONAL PREFERENCE vs. GOD’S PRESENCE
PROVE A POINT vs. BLESS OTHERS
TEAR DOWN vs. BUILD-UP
HURT OTHERS vs. HELPS OTHERS
POLITICAL IDEOLOGY vs. SOUND DOCTRINE
We best sum this up by saying that a GOOD FIGHT happens when we fight for others, not against them.
Hell’s PLOT: We fight each other.
God’s PLAN: We fight for each other.
It is not God’s plan for us to be fighting each other; we are to be fighting for each other! Why? Because we do not wrestle against FLESH and BLOOD, we wrestle against powers and principalities! Yes, you may be dealing with a personality, but that personality is hosting spiritual darkness. Never lose sight of that truth. It will help you to keep the fight from becoming personal.
When the enemy uses people to come against us, hard conversations become unavoidable. But, unfortunately, those conversations can often feel like a fight. So, how do you have the necessary discussions and maintain a good fight, not a bad fight?
When HARD CONVERSATIONS must take place, follow this strategy:
1. CONVERSE PRIVATELY FIRST
Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. - Matthew 18:15 (NKJV)
2. SPEAK TRUTH IN LOVE
...no longer be children… carried about with every wind of doctrine...but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in Christ-
-Ephesians 4:14-15 (NKJV)
3. FILL YOUR SPEECH WITH GRACE
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. -Colossians 4:6 (NKJV)
4. OFFER BLESSING, NOT CURSING
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…” If your enemy is...thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” -Romans 12:12, 20 (NKJV)
At the best you can do, there will still be moments when you recognize a SPIRITUAL fight is becoming increasingly PERSONAL. I borrow Paul’s recommendations for suggesting your next step, “Now I urge you, brethren, NOTE those who cause divisions and offenses...and AVOID them. (Romans 16:17 NKJV)
The takeaway of that verse is that sometimes, when dealing with challenging personalities, we have to take good notes (if you’ve ever been through a legal battle, you know what I’m talking about!), and on occasions, altogether avoid them.
Another way of saying it is that sometimes we have to understand that there will be personality conflicts with people. However, we can still love and bless them while simultaneously setting healthy boundaries, so that offense and bitterness do not take root within our hearts.
It’s essential to align our battle strategies with God’s instructions because the result will be something we can celebrate, “I want you to be wise in what is GOOD… And the God of peace will CRUSH Satan under your feet shortly.” (Romans 16:17-18 NKJV)
Give God praise! This approach is how you will win! It’s amazing what happens when you stop trying to fight your way -- the bad fight -- and fight God’s way -- the good fight!
“Fight the GOOD FIGHT of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called…” (1 Timothy 6:12). In this letter, Paul is telling Timothy to fight the GOOD FIGHT. Years later, Paul writes another letter stating, “I have fought the GOOD FIGHT, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV)
I HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT. I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH!
Don’t you want that proclamation to be your testimony?
Your kids are worth fighting for... your family is worth fighting for... your calling is worth fighting for… God’s church and God’s truth -- sound doctrine is worth fighting for... Don’t stop fighting! Fight the GOOD FIGHT, it won’t come cheap, and you may have to sacrifice your pride, personal recognition, and even personal preference at times. But, I challenge you to realize that there is no more remarkable testimony than to say, “I have kept the faith, I have fought the GOOD FIGHT, God CRUSHED the enemy under my feet!
You can view the message in its entirety at this link: https://youtu.be/smWkQi0Gu9o