Be A Fighter
11 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. 12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
Would You Rather?
Here’s a question, would you rather A.) kick the winning goal of a final FIFA World Cup game, B.) hit the game winning 3-pointer in game 7 of an NBA Finals, C.) catch the game winning touchdown at a Super Bowl, or D.) land the knockout punch at a world championship Boxing or UFC fight?
I played this game with a friend of mine once, he selected “A” – score the winning goal of a FIFA World Cup game. (a fine choice no doubt)
To his utter surprise and disapproval, I selected “D” – land the knockout punch at a world championship Boxing or UFC fight.
(I will say I was between that, or a game winning 3-pointer at an NBA Finals game- fighting and basketball are two of my favorite sports, hence my selections.)
Now believe me, I understood completely why he selected “A”; kicking a game winning goal on the world stage to win a World Cup is quite the feat. However, I appreciate the individualism of boxing and mixed martial arts.
A professional fighter has no one but themselves to depend on. When he or she is in the ring (or the octagon), they stand alone – their trainers and team members stand ringside, unable to offer anything but moral support.
In many ways, a fighter steps into a ring to fight two opponents, one – the person they’ve been matched up against, and two – themselves.
If a fighter gases out – it’s on them. If a fighter throws in the towel – it’s on them.
But if a fighter lands a knockout- it’s also on them.
Fight the Good Fight
I find it interesting that Paul writes in 1 Timothy verse 12, “fight the good fight for the true faith”, after he lists a series of personal virtues in verse 11, those being: righteousness, godly living, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
Why use the term “fight”, though?
I believe it’s because the life God has called us to doesn’t come easy. In fact, I’d say living a life of faith inherently requires a level of fighting – mostly with ourselves.
Gentleness doesn’t come easy on a Monday morning when you’re stuck in traffic and already running late for work. Faith doesn’t come easy when you’ve been praying for a break through only to feel like God has been silent. Perseverance doesn’t come easy when you’ve been busting your tail to move ahead in a job, only to see someone far less qualified and motivated get the promotion instead.
And yet, we’re called to fight.
Put Your Dukes Up!
The mixed martial artist, or boxer, who wins a big fight isn’t successful solely because they defeated their opponent.
They’re successful (also) because they beat themselves.
In essence, they found a way to face what was easy (i.e throwing in the towel because of exhaustion, pain, and discomfort) and managed to overcome it.
Fighting the good fight requires us to put our dukes up every morning and tussle with our own inclinations.
So when complaining comes easy – strike back and choose joy. When doubt is the simpler option – push back and hold on to faith. When anger is effortless – stand back up and choose gentleness.
Everyday, without fail, put on your gloves – and fight the good fight.
Question: What kind of thing’s have you been “fighting” lately, and how have you fought them?
Check out last week’s Weekly Devo, “A Work in Progress“!