"The Good Fight"
"We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
The Apostle Paul did not mean that we enter God's kingdom because of tribulation, but rather than we experience tribulation because we enter. We must "fight the good fight of faith" from the moment of our new birth until our earthly sojourn of conflict ends (I Timothy 6:12). "There are many adversaries" said Paul, adversaries of Christ, and thus enemies of those in whom He lives (I Corinthians 16:9).
"We wrestle not against flesh and blood" (Ephesians 6:12). We do well to remember that our foes consist of "principalities… powers…. the rulers of the darkness of this world... spiritual wickedness in high places". People often act as enemies, and in their own minds may view themselves as engaged in conflict with believers. Fleshly sources do not instigate our challenges, however, nor do they empower the conflict in which we find ourselves. Unseen, unheard, and untouched enemies wrestle against the sons and daughters of God in Christ. They use seen, heard, and touched means to assail our confidence in the Lord Jesus, and our walk of faith and faithfulness with Him. The battle nevertheless rages on spiritual fields of conflict as our enemies seek to distract us from "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Be it people, problems, circumstances, or situations, every challenge that seems earthly in origin or substance always bears the invisible imprint of spiritual entities who seek our harm.
We must view life in these terms of the unseen, the unheard, and the untouched. Our very faith consists of trusting in a Christ "whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:8). The good fight of faith in which we are engaged consists no less of realizing the invisible field of conflict that we may ignore, but which we cannot avoid. We fight by looking to "the Captain of our salvation". We fight by raising "the shield of faith". We fight by wielding "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God". We fight by wearing "the helmet of salvation… the breastplate of righteousness… our loins girded with truth…. our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace… and by praying with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Hebrews 2:10; Ephesians 6:12). We fight! Through the presence of the living Word and the truth of the written Word, we engage our hearts and minds to believe that which God declares to be true rather than the lies propagated by deceiving spiritual influences that use tangible means to confront our confidence and devotion to God.
The war was won by our Captain long ago. Battles continue, however, battles which, again, we can ignore, but we cannot avoid. We enter the kingdom through tribulation of every form imaginable, as originated and empowered by foes invisible. Let us fight from our Lord's victory, and in the triumph of His risen and overcoming life. Let us believe His truth in the face of every challenge, for how else can we "fight the good fight of faith"?
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place."
(II Corinthians 2:14)
"This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
(I John 5:4)
Weekly Memory Verse
The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.