I Timothy 6:11-14 (NLT)
But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.
“Pick and choose your battles” is sound advice that I received early in life. I vaguely remember hearing it in my youth but it resounds in adulthood as I have matured learning not to engage in daily drama. For example, raising our children has proven this to be worthwhile instruction. It did not come easily. In fact, I am reminded constantly by our grown children that I am much more laid back and easy going on the two younger ones still at home. This has nothing to do with loving one child over the other more or less but a life demonstration of what it means to turn knowledge into wisdom. This type of instruction also can be translated “major in the majors and minor in the minors” which simply means don’t blow everything out of proportion all of the time. Before our family engaged in this long journey with our son, I thought I was a laid back person. I considered myself to be patient after all I was raising five children which demanded some level of self-control. I managed a full-time job. We had a very busy life. Everything seemed to be on the up and up. However, at the time I never saw change coming until in an instant our entire life was turned completely upside down. The job I prided myself in tumbled down the priority list as my faith in God became the primary resource that I depended on. This was not a transition that would take days, months or years. When all is stripped away without faith, we have nothing. Everything that I thought was important disappeared as I looked at our child understanding that we were facing a “life or death” choice. Suddenly the only thing that mattered anymore was the Lord. Where was God, my Father? I needed Jesus Christ – His Son. Stirring with in me the Spirit of God would rise to the occasion. Everything changed for our family in that moment when the doctor diagnosed our son with cancer, but most importantly everything changed within me. In clear revelation, God indicated exactly what was worth fighting for.
Would you fully pursue righteousness living a godly life with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness outside of hardship that leads to brokenness? Would you decide that faith is worth fighting for? Faith that is real, valid and genuine that would become confident hope is what we should be after but what is the point when everything is routine, scheduled, normal and going according to our plan. Would you cling to Jesus and hold tightly to your faith if not facing “life or death” decisions? God has called you to be His Child. He has ordered the steps of your life so that you will meet up with Jesus Christ along the way and decide to love and trust Him with your life so you will return to righteousness. Unfortunately, we are stubborn and rebellious people who will fight for just about anything other than faith and hope. We kill people every day with our words and lay to waste our own destiny pursing lesser things than God’s Perfect Plan. But the Lord will stop at nothing to show you what is of the greatest worth in your life, even if that results in total devastation, disappointment and even defeat. What is worth fighting for in your life today? This is exactly what the Lord will use to engage you in the good fight of faith.
Acts 26:13-18 (NLT)
“One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’ “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked. “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’”
Everything is subject to change in a moment, just ask Paul. He left home on a mission. He believed in his mission and thought it was from God. All that changed when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus that day. He was under the authority of the high priests and commissioned by the same, yet the Lord asked him, “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?” Then came the most powerful statement that leads to total revelation in the life of every believer no matter how off-course they may be, “It is useless for you to fight against my will!” Paul didn’t think that he was doing anything wrong in persecuting the Christians. He believed that he, in fact, was doing the Will of God. In that moment, it became clear that he was headed in the wrong direction. It was in that moment of vulnerability in the Presence of God that the Lord would reveal Himself to Paul. “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.” Such a powerful revelation creates a momentary setback that will catapult the weakest in faith to the strongest in confident hope, if they survive it. My moment was not when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior at age eleven or the many times that I tried to call Him “Lord” over the many years that would follow. It all came to pass in a cramped bathroom on the eleventh floor of a hospital in October 2011 when faced with the unimaginable. For minutes that seemed like hours, I poured out my heart to the Lord including everything that I thought I had done for Him. Out of breath, sobbing, midsentence, the Lord spoke to me. “Do you trust me?” These words stopped me right there. Looking in the mirror in a blur, I said audibly, “What?” “Do you trust me?” Without hesitation, I replied, “Of course I do!” “Then your son will live and not die!” These are the fighting words that turn faith into a reality in our life. It doesn’t matter how much time that we spend in the Word of God, or try to walk in His Way according to His Will, but in that moment when God calls us to task and asks the question, “Do you trust me?” How will you answer? Oh, I know what I said but over the past two years that has been tested, tried and tempted repeatedly like a body in basic training. It has been stretched to the point of snapping and bent until it almost broke. Why? Why would the Lord allow such a horrible thing to happen to His Beloved Child? It is really quite simple – to show us that faith is worth fighting for!
Psalm 18:30-36 (NLT)
God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.
The Lord told Paul (Saul at the time) that “it is useless to fight against my (God’s) Will.” You will never change God’s Mind concerning you. (Numbers 23:19) He loves you. He desires a right relationship with you and nothing will ever change that. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to allow us such a position of righteousness once again. There is nothing that we can do other than put our faith and trust in the Lord to receive justice and be made right with God again. Nothing. God is intent on perfecting that which concerns us. (Psalm 138:8) He is making every detail turn out for good (Romans 8:28) according to His Perfect Plan that contains a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Every single promise that God has made you has potential and the power to become a reality in your life. The outcome is not based on one’s ability to remain righteous standing on their own two feet, but rather one’s ability to put all their faith in the Lord and trust Him completely waiting for His Outcome rather than settling for less than God’s Best. He has given you a shield of protection that is marked with victory. You are going to win if you do not give up on the Lord. Faith and confident hope produce victory after victory from glory to glory in the life of a believer. This is God’s Perfect Plan for your life. He has written every detail with a positive outcome no matter how things look today. If you believe it, you will receive it. But all too often we are like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness who continually forgot all that the Lord did for them when He brought them safely out of Egypt. Some cried to go back into bondage fearing they would die on the journey. I must admit that there are some days I try to remember what life was like before everything changed. To live carefree in the moment rather than with this burden on our heart. Some days I yearn to go back, but the Spirit of God reminds me to press on. God is with us. He is going to bless us with overwhelming victory if we will just cling to our faith refusing to settle for anything less than God’s Absolute Best. The Lord is going with you! He will fight against your enemies! He will give you victory! (Deuteronomy 20:1-4) The Lord is fighting for us! (Exodus 14:13-14) It is His Battle for our heart.
Deuteronomy 1:28-31 (NLT)
Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants there—the descendants of Anak!”’ “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The LORD your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt. And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’”
Nothing brings us back to the basics of our faith quicker than a bad report. The enemy knows that and uses such information to put fear in the heart of mankind. Fear consumes faith. Doubt and worry denounces hope. A lack of confidence in the Lord will be our demise so the Lord allows testing and trials to strengthen our faith. Partnered with endurance we are able to hold on until the promise comes because we become disciplined. Discipline comes at a price. After all the wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites were ready to walk into the Promised Land. The enemy said, “Not so fast. There are giants in the land.” They were demoralized in that moment. What a word “demoralized” because it defines a stealth tactic of the enemy. Demoralize means to become deprived of spirit, courage and discipline. It means to turn into disorder, confusion and chaos. Not think back to the last time you received a scary report from the doctor, an unexpected bill or some other bad news, it had the same effect on you. Your response in the next several minutes after such an event will quickly reveal the potential of one’s faith. Where did you go? To people or to the Lord. What did you do? Immediately fall or did you take a stand. What did you say? Did you complain and grumble or praise the Lord? There are two forces at constant odds within you – the Spirit of God and our sinful nature. The one in control comes through when faced with adversity. You will say what you believe. You will follow such a declaration with your actions. You will have what you say! The only thing that puts us at odds with evil is faith. (Proverbs 28:4-5) Obedience for righteousness sake will prevail when our faith is stronger than our fear. It allows us to hold our position in confident hope even when all hell is breaking loose in our life. Without it, we run back to the darkness. It was easier before we tried to follow the Lord and walk in His Way. Well of course it was because the enemy had stolen your victory. You had nothing worth fighting for. But now that you have taken hold of faith, chosen to cling to Jesus Christ, put all your confidence in His Word and Ability to make it come to pass, the devil is mad. He wants to steal from you, kill you and yes, destroy you. God loves you! The enemy is at odds with love. It is his hate for you that drives him to such lengthy measures to come against you. God is turning everything the enemy is using to destroy you to bless you. You just have to fight for your faith because the Lord is fighting for you! The Lord has given you His Spirit. He has given you courage. He has given you His Spirit who will leads to discipline. You have everything you need to win this fight. The rest is up to you! “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)
2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NLT)
As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.
Is faith worth the fight? Looking back at the last two years, it is a resounding yes. Would I choose this journey for our family? Absolutely not. Do I know what the final outcome will be? Yes, the Lord promised that our son will live and not die. I have chosen to take Him at His Word and not move until it happens. What if I am wasting my time? How can anything be a waste of time and effort if it is rewarding? Although it has been a crazy couple of years with uncertainty around each and every turn, God has been there every step of the way. His Undeniable Presence has given us peace in the midst of chaos. His Spirit has calmed us in each storm. He has given us joy for ashes that it is impossible to destroy because the enemy has tried and failed repeatedly. Cancer has come and gone four times now. Although many fear it is just around the corner waiting to pounce on our kid again, we are not afraid. Why? Because we have faith worth fighting for! We have chosen the life of living sacrifices on the Altar of our God using the measure of faith we have been given to trust Him more. (Romans 12:2) We will fight the good fight not against cancer for it has no power in our life but rather for more faith to turn into confident hope that keeps us righteous until He comes. We will finish this race as winners! The Lord has given us the victory in all things and the powerful potential to overcome. I will remain faithful because faith is worth fighting for!
I Corinthians 15:54-58 (NLT)
Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.