Here’s good news: If you’re fighting a big fight against sin, you’re fighting the wrong fight.
Sometimes we are tricked into fighting in an ineffective and immature way. For example, if we struggle with anger, we assume we should fight against it. If we’re prone to lust or covetousness or envy, “Fight it, man!” Then we make up ways to fight. But that’s not the fight.
The apostle Paul helped a young Christian, Timothy, to fight the right way, the one way by which God’s life prevails for us.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . .
Paul knew what we must know if we’re going to mature in Christ. The fight, the one main fight, is to take hold, to enjoy, to be fascinated with the life that has no beginning or end, “the eternal life” of God Himself—now given, now shared with you and with me. “Keep this one command of faith. Fight for this—the gift of God’s life in you.”
The thing is, you and I have died to the way this world does things and fights to be effective (Colossians 2:20-23), and we have died to sin and become free of it already (Romans 6). How crazy is it, then, for us to be lured into fighting sinful cravings and sinful ways like everybody else does? We don’t do it that way! That’s not our fight. That’s not the one command to cherish and to keep: “Take hold of the eternal life of God.” That’s the fight for the immature Timothy and for the mature Paul. And for you. And for me.
In his last letter to Timothy, Paul writes this: “. . . the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 6:6-7). And that good fight of faith meant God’s life kept Paul.
How do we really live? How do we resist the sinful and crazy stuff that clamors for us in this world and wars against our souls? We fight to know and believe that God’s eternal life is our own.
Let’s help each other take hold.