I’m sure that you hear it a lot: “Fight the good fight!” It sounds encouraging and can even be a bit of a rally call to not give up, to not give in to the world.
But what does it mean? How are we supposed to fight?
1 Timothy 6:12 (ESV) reads, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” Paul is writing to a young pastor about living and warring well in the everyday at this point in his letter. He is issuing him commands like an army general might to his younger captain. But if we pick out these verses and neglect the greater context of the chapter, you might find yourself more discouraged when you do poorly on an exam, overwhelmed by the number of papers or struggling to reconcile with a significant other or friend after a recent fight. How do I fight? How do I take hold of eternal life?!
Verses 3-10 call Timothy, and us, to only tolerate sound, Biblical teaching and find contentment in life. Rest in God’s word and God’s providential plan and provision. When you are tempted to despair in the mounds of coursework, remember that God has given you Himself. You have a great resource to calm your storm and focus on the many tasks at hand.
Then comes verse 11 with a hard hitter: “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.” (ESV).
Flee the love of money. How? By pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. This is the crescendo to fighting the good fight and taking hold of eternal life. You pursue after Christ! He is your righteousness. He grows you into godliness. Jesus is the author of your faith, the source of all true love and steadiness and gentleness that lifts our heads in the trying moments. He is our everything. We war well by ferociously pursuing Christ. We run to the feet of Jesus. So instead of just burying your tear-filled face in your hands when the workload rises, disagreements happen or performance is low, try something else. Pursue Christ in prayer.
Purposeful prayer that focuses on Jesus and faithfulness, not your overwhelming circumstances. Pray that Jesus would fill your heart with contentment in Him, faithfulness through His power. Pray that you would steward your time well instead of procrastinating or spending too much time with friends when the test is at 8 a.m. tomorrow. Pray that you would be humble and own your mistakes in the fight by asking for forgiveness and mending the relationship. Pray for wisdom on how you can shine the light of Jesus to the world around you. This is warring well. And this is taking hold of the eternal life that you have in Christ.