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.1 Timothy 6:12(ESV)
Timothy was entrusted, by Paul, to be pastor of the church at Ephesus, but being the leader of a Christian community in the first century under Roman rule was no easy task, and Paul's letter to this 'son in the faith' contained personal encouragement, many warnings, and a lot of wise instruction on how to deal with a myriad of theological and practical issues that Timothy was likely to meet as he shepherded the little flock of believers in their spiritual journey through life.
The Christian life is a difficult struggle that contains many problematic pitfalls, which Paul describes as a good fight: "Fight the good fight of faith," were his reassuring words to Timothy, "take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."
It is not a fight against God but a joining with Him against our common enemy. It is a spiritual struggle whereby we stand firm in the truth of God's Word and battle against the world, the flesh, the devil, and our own self-will. Fighting the good fight of faith is not so much hostile combat against a physical enemy, but rising to the challenges of our Christian life or confidently taking hold of the eternal life that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Each enemy is harmful to the soul and detrimental to our spiritual growth and so each must be earnestly resisted with fortitude and determination. Praise God that this is not an evil fight but a good fight, for the battle has already been won by Christ’s victory on the Cross and we are to face all the challenges of life by maintaining an unfaltering faith in Him - trusting in His sufficiency to bring us through victoriously.
We are to fight the good fight of faith by seizing hold of every opportunity, trusting His all-sufficient grace to bring us through by faith, rather than wilting at the enormity of a problem or caving in to the temptation that faces us.
When we fight the fight of faith, we are trusting Him in all things and in so doing we are taking hold of eternal life. Eternal life is not only about living forever in the life to come but is about living a victorious life in the here and now. It is about growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and developing a precious intimacy with Him as we abide securely in His love.
Timothy had already proved himself to be a soldier of Christ. He had been willingly drafted into the army of God by Paul, but this godly young man had also answered the call on his life, like Isaiah, who cried out, "Here am I, send me." This verse tells us that Timothy was called by the Lord and chosen to carry out this important ministry, and it concludes with a reminder of Timothy's personal confession of his faith - in the presence of many witnesses.
While Timothy appears to have been a quiet, unassuming young man, he was nonetheless a stalwart in the faith for he gave a bold and beautiful testimony before many witnesses. And Paul wanted to remind Timothy that the cause of Christ was worth fighting for and that his young friend and fellow labourer in the gospel needed to keep pressing forward for the prize of the high call he had in Christ Jesus. Every one of us needs to realise that we are to keep on keeping on to the very end... so that with Paul and Timothy, we may lay hold of that for all that Christ Jesus intends for each of His children.
Like Paul and the other disciples, Timothy followed the same path that the Lord Jesus took. He trod the way of the Cross. Christ went the self-same way before us, and He patiently endured the Cross, despised the shame, and walked in humble submission to the will of His Heavenly Father. And like Him, our life is to be a testimony to His faithfulness – for it is as we run the race that is set before us, with patient endurance and a determination to do all to the glory of God, that we will also fight the good fight of faith and take hold of the eternal life to which we are all called – so that with Timothy and a great cloud of saints, we too may ensure a good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Loving Father, I want to fight the good fight of faith, knowing that the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil, has already been won by Christ. May I face the challenges of my life in Your strength and to Your glory. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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