Understanding how to fight the good fight

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    17-Jan-2017

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Understanding How To Fight The Good Fight of Faith Paul in his letter to Timothy encouraged him and us Christians to âFight the Good Fight of Faithâ (1st Timothy 6:11-12). But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 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. The questions then are what is faith? How is faith obtained? How do we fight the good fight of faith? Is there a right way to fight? Who is the opponent? What is his strategy? What is our own objective as Christians? This write-up seeks to provide answers to these questions from a scriptural perspective. The scripture tells us in Hebrews 11:1 that Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The scripture also tells us how to obtain faith in Romans 10:17 â so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. In a nutshell, faith is having complete, unwavering trust in Godâs word which encompasses all that was accomplished by His only begotten Son Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. As Christians why are we encouraged to fight the good fight of faith? It is because the enemy seeks to create doubt and fear in our mind about the truth of Godâs word and most especially about what was accomplished by God through the death of His one and only begotten Son Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Thus to fight successfully we must understand the following; · Our foundation in Jesus Christ 1st Corinthians 3:11 â For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. He is the Truth (John 14:6), He is the Word (John 1:1-5), He is the Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20-21). · The new birth - 2nd Corinthians 5:17 â Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. He is a new spirit being, however, the physical body and the mind remains unchanged at this point. What are we to do with the physical body and the mind? Bring it into subjection to the inward man (our spirit) 1st Corinthians 9:27. But how? By the renewing of our minds 1st Peter 2:2, Philippians 4:8, Joshua 1:8 · Knowing who we are in Christ â In Him, we have redemption Hebrews 9:12 - Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. See also Ephesians 1:7-8. Well, you may ask redeemed from what? We have been redeemed from the curse of the law Galatians 3:13 - Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, âCursed is everyone who hangs on a treeâ). We have been redeemed from the kingdom of darkness â Colossians 1:13-14 â Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. In Him, we are already blessed (emphasis every) Ephesians 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. In Him we have the gift of righteousness (freely given not earned) Rom 5:17 â For if by the one manâs offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. And have also become the righteousness of God 2nd Corinthians 5:21. In Him we have the gift of salvation Ephesians 2:8-9 - For by grace, you have been saved through faith (in Christ), and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. In Him there is no condemnation Rom 8:1 â There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. In Him we Triumph 2nd Corinthians 2:14 â Now thanks be to God who always leads us to triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. In Him we are Seated in Heavenly Places Ephesians 2: 5-6 - Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Add to all of these amongst others not mentioned the authority which we have in Christ (Mathew 28:18-20, â Then Jesus came and spoke to them saying âAll authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.â Amen. See also Luke 10:19-20). And we would understand why the enemy will work very hard to prevent people from knowing these truths (see 2nd Corinthians 4:4). · Understanding that Love is the pathway to victory â Why is love the way to victory? Well because faith worketh by love Galatians 5:6 â For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. Further as Christians, whatever we do has to be motivated by love otherwise, it profits us nothing 1st Corinthians 13:3, - And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. And love never fails 1st Corinthians 13:8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. Understanding the nature of Godâs love and how to apply it practically in our daily interactions is essential towards fighting the good fight (see also hymn 694 â âKa wa fi le segun emi esu Ka sise pelu ife mimoâ), because the enemy (Satan) uses people (both real and imagined and he can speak through anyone including us yes Christians see Mathew 16:23 hence the need to be well kitted Christian soldiers Ephesians 6:13-18) although we do not war after the flesh. It is important we understand this distinction. 2nd Corinthians 10:3 â For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. See also Ephesians 6:12 â For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. So the real enemy irrespective of the medium used is Satan. Our attitude towards people must always be to act in love towards all, speaking the truth in love and praying that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ be revealed. What really is the contest about? It is the truths of Godâs Word versus the lies of the enemy (Satan). Satanâs primary strategy is to create doubt, fear, cause strife (James 3:16) and deception (2nd Corinthians 11:13-15) with the aim of devouring. 1st Peter 5:8-9 â Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. Now we know who we are in Christ, what the contest is about and the strategy of the enemy, what are we to do? Ephesians 6:13-18 tells us. Therefore take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Basically, we have to be well kitted as Soldiers in the Lordâs Army. In addition, we should be led by the Spirit of God (for as many as are led by the Holy Spirit these are the sons of God Romans 8:14), cultivate the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law), flee the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21 -  Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[a]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[b] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God) and pay careful attention to our thoughts (Mathew 15:18-20 - But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man). All of these have to be motivated by our love for the Lord and people (Mathew 22:37-39 - Jesus said to him, ââYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.â[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: âYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.â) which would be demonstrated by a godly divine nature and character (2nd Peter 1:4-8 - But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ). Remember the song â we are soldiers, soldiers of the Cross, in the name of Jesus we shall conquer. By His grace our account will be 2nd Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. And our Lordâs response on that faithful day towards us will be âWell done thou good and faithful servantâ in Jesus name. Amen. Recommended Reading 1. Understanding How to Fight The Good Fight of Faith by Kenneth E. Hagin 2. Love: The Way to Victory by Kenneth E. Hagin