The LIFE business is committed to helping people grow and develop in what we affectionately call the 8 F’s. They include Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Following, Freedom, Friends, and Fun. LIFE’s refreshing approach teaches people how to think and not what to think. When it comes to faith, as with the other 8 F’s, LIFE challenges people to know why they believe what they believe, and to have solid ground to base those beliefs. For anyone desiring to develop themselves as a leader they must have a solid foundation on which to stand.
With that, I have decided to write some “Sunday Reviews” to help me and anyone out there looking to grow and develop their faith. I am a Christian and attend a church called New Creation Church. I’ve attended NCC since 1996 and have been incredibly blessed under the leadership of Pastor Mark Bintliff. So with that, I simply want to review the sermon from Sunday and hope it blesses you as it did me. This Sunday’s message was about fighting the good fight of faith.
- “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (I Timothy 6:12 NKJV)
As Pastor Mark said, if there is a good fight then there obviously are bad fights. So just what is the good fight of faith. In Pastor Mark’s opinion, a good fight is a fight you win. I agree. Too often though, Christians are battling to win over sin in their own strength. They can become so conscious of their own sin and shortcomings that they struggle and struggle to do right but continuously come up short. This is not operating by grace, this is operating by the flesh. Ultimately, we do not engage in a fight or battle with the intention of losing. But in the case of spiritual life, how do we win those fights?
- “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. Therefore take up the whole armor 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.” (Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV)
Our fight is not against flesh and blood. Our fight is not against our spouse, co-worker, boss, children, or any other human being. Our fight is against sin and the demonic forces that are in a constant assault against the human soul. Jesus said the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But he isn’t necessarily trying to kill us physically. He is trying to steal, kill, and destroy our faith and dreams. He wants us to give into fear, for fear is believing the enemy more than believing God, which ultimately leaves people hopeless. If he can steal our faith, he can steal our hope.
Faith is the opposite of fear. While fear is ultimately believing in what the devil wants, faith is believing in what God wants. God wants the absolute best for us. His intentions for us are good and not evil. When we understand God’s will and purpose for our lives then we can put our trust in Him and what He has for us. So again, how do we fight the good fight of faith?
- I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. (Galatians 5:16, 17 NKJV)
- For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (II Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV)
I really like what Pastor Mark said, “Before we can get good at not fighting with others, we must get good at not fighting with ourselves.” The beginning of learning how to fight the good fight of faith is to quit beating ourselves up. If we would learn to focus on the prize, the high calling of God in Christ Jesus and His purpose for our lives and live for that, then many of our shortcomings will basically fall by the wayside. Sometimes, we are so conscience of our sin, our past, and our mistakes that we cannot move forward into our future. We need to learn to confess about ourselves what God says about us. He says that we are His beloved. We are His sons and daughters. We are more than conquerors and overcomers in Christ. We are the head and not the tail. We have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness. He says He is for us and not against us. On and on it goes. When we begin to understand God’s great love for us, so great that He gave His only Son to die for us, then we can win the fight against ourselves by forgiving and loving ourselves because He first loved us, rather than condemning and hating ourselves.
- “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45 NKJV)
Once we have learned to accept ourselves as God accepts us, we can then love others as we love ourselves. Often, people read the scripture that says to “love others as we love ourselves” but can’t because they don’t actually love themselves. Hurting people hurt people. When we understand God’s love, forgiveness, and acceptance of us, we can then love, forgive, and accept others, even those who “spitefully use and persecute us.” When our focus is on God’s love, forgiveness is possible.
- There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (I John 4:18 NKJV)