Have you ever found yourself trying to be diligent, focused, and resolved in your spiritual walk, but somewhere along the way discipline starts to wane, life (and the world) gets crazy, and you find yourself either giving in to things you didn’t use to or getting drawn in to petty, insignificant matters?
Or maybe you’ve observed people you respect and admire who appear to engage in things, conversations, entertainment, positions, or relationships that make you question your own stance on what’s right versus wrong, leaving you feeling confused and weary of trying to keep up with it all.
Paul spends some of his final words in 1 Timothy 6 giving instructions to Timothy. It feels like he must have known Timothy might start to feel overwhelmed at all he needed to be vigilant about, especially when he observed people getting caught up in the trivial, distorting the truth, or engaging in pointless arguments that distracted them from what really mattered.
1 Timothy 6:12 New International Version (NIV)
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
So Paul made it plain and simple for all of us:
Flee from evil.
Fight the good fight of faith.
Take hold of what’s eternal.
It’s a direct charge to be on full alert; to be intentional and mindful in the way we live. It’s just not worth it to get caught up in the things the world thinks is all-important if those things draw us away from living a life worthy of God’s call.
There’s a better way to live.
It’s found in learning to run away from and not take any part in what doesn’t edify, build up, and strengthen our faith, and instead pursue what’s truly good: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.
We are called to be genuine, steadfast children of God who are set apart and called to a higher standard and a more excellent way. As we apply the truth of the Word of God in every area of life, we’ll find ourselves fueled by the Spirit of God with renewed and resolved determination to do everything He has called us to do.
I love how 2 Corinthians 10 reminds us that although we live in this world, we don’t have to sink down to the same standards the world engages in, and what’s more, we have the Word of God that gives us everything we need to fight this fight of faith and live a life of obedience and maturity.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 New International Version (NIV)
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
The fight of faith is a good fight, but it is still a fight.
It will take tenacity, guts, resolve, and determination. It’s a fight to not let the enemy take ground in our lives or in our families. It’s a fight to do what’s right in God’s eyes even when others say it’s old fashioned. It’s fight to hold fast to the truth of the Word of God in love and kindness, without watering it down or creating our own interpretation as a means to excuse sin.
But friend, we are in good company. We are not alone in this fight of faith. Not only are there many believers cheering us on here and now, but as Hebrews 12:1-3 says, we are also surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are cheering us on to run our race with perseverance and courage.
As we live our lives with our sights set on Jesus, we can be confident we’re on the right track. Philippians 4:12-14 says:
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
We don’t have to make it complicated. We just need to keep the main thing the main thing and hold tight to what really matters – the eternal things, not the temporary things. But we have to be vigilant about it. Hebrews 2:1, AMP, says, “… we ought to pay much closer attention than ever to the truths that we have heard, lest in any way we drift past and slip away.”
We need to be sure we are anchoring our hearts and our hope in Jesus Christ and His Word with everything we’ve got. If we don’t, we won’t even realize when we have drifted from His ways.
Stay steadfast and keep a firm grip on righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Let’s not get sidetracked, slip into bad habits, or emulate the world’s habits or trends so much that we drift away the way God has called us to live.
Flee from evil. Pursue righteousness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of what’s eternal.