Know when to run and when to fight.
Verse of the Day, June 27, 2022
1 Timothy 6:12 CSB "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses."
Some wars are never won. The enemy lives to fight another day. Paul commands Timothy to flee from false teaching (any doctrine contrary to the Bible) and the love of money (greed). Greed will always fight for our loyalty. The wrong principles will constantly battle to change our beliefs. To battle back and forth with these two enemies can cause us to wander from the faith (trust in Christ). Verse twelve commands Timothy to run from them. Why waste time staying to fight an enemy who wakes up every morning to destroy our faith. Instead, fight the fights we can win.
Fight the good fight of faith. Judge Pressler wrote the book "A Hill on Which to Die." The publisher wanted to shorten the name to "A Hill to die on." Judge Pressler refused, saying, he was taught and would hold tight to the principle that a sentence should never end with a preposition. The judge was writing about the principles of the Christian faith. But his stand-off with the publisher stood out to me. His Christian principles carried over into his everyday life and livelihood. How could Judge Pressler write about holding on to Christian principles if he compromised the rules of grammar that would identify his work? He didn't fuss with the publisher. The title stood, or someone else would publish the book.
Paul commands us, as people of God, to run from temporal temptations. But fight (run after—pursue with intense effect to attain a specific goal or outcome) to further our faith. Instead of fighting unending battles with false teaching and greed, direct your energy to pursue Christian virtues. Strive toward doing what God requires (righteousness), practice devout beliefs about God (godliness), believe what the Bible says about Jesus, and follow His teaching (faith), appreciate Jesus' love for us by loving Him, bear up under difficult situations by trusting Jesus in prayer and Bible study (perseverance), and refuse to be harsh with others (gentleness; 6:11).
Paul says the good fight of faith knows when to let go of temporal things and hold on to eternal life by developing infinite skills for living. The excellent confession before many witnesses Paul refers to is probably Timothy's baptism. Remember, we are baptized to express our allegiance to Christ Jesus. The real-life test of our Christian confession is our everyday lives.
Lord Jesus Christ, in the presence of God and You, with the Holy Spirit's help, I pledge to struggle in the skirmishes of daily life and hold tight to the life You died to give me, by intentionally growing my faith daily. Thank you for reminding me that my daily life proclaims my allegiance to You, just as my baptism did (1 Timothy 6:12–13).
Lord, you testified before Pilate that You were born to testify to the truth, and if I obey the truth, You are indeed my King (1 Timothy 6:13; John 18:37). Lord Jesus, today I pray that many people witness me fighting to live like You, loving others as You love me, devoting my time to the things that please God, standing firm in my beliefs about Who you are and who You saved me to become.
As Paul says, we are called to embrace eternal virtues. Lord help me, Jesus, say tonight when I lay down to sleep, these verses were actualized for me today: "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf . . . "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful" ( 2 Corinthians 5:14–15; Colossians 3:15 NASB95). Lord, If I fight to maintain and grow the major virtues of the faith, I will not have time to get caught up in the minor vices of Satan's temptations (Galatians 5:16–26; 1 Timothy 6:10–16). In Jesus' name, amen.