One-a-Day...for the Heart: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly
“Fifteen fights!!” the cheerleaders would yell at the pep rallies in school, back in the dark ages of the 60’s. “Fight, fight…fight, fight, fight! Fight, fight…fight, fight, fight! Fight, fight…fight, fight, fight!” Hopefully, after several more cheers, the school spirit was bolstered enough to insure victory on the football field. Then we were done yelling and carrying on, and we went back to reality—a trigonometry test, a discussion of Hamlet, a biology lab, etc. We had placed our faith in the football team’s skill; we’d yelled our loudest cheers of confidence in the team’s ability to win the fight. We trusted them to fight a good fight to victory.
This is the exhortation to us, found in 1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV), Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. There is a great cloud of witnesses in heaven cheering us on in this fight of faith, evidenced in Hebrews 12:1, and no doubt they are shouting a heavenly “Fifteen fights!” for us as we walk our individual journey with Christ, facing each and every fight of faith along the way. My walk is different than yours. Your fights look different than mine. The common thread is that they are fights of faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6 NIV), so it only makes sense that the fight He has His eye on is our fight of faith.
There are good fights, and there are bad fights. With God, a good fight involves our faith to believe in Christ’s finished work on the cross to bring us to victory over any difficulty we face. Every time we choose to take a wild leap of faith and trust Him, we are putting up a good fight. Faith makes it good in God’s eyes. Succumbing to our fears and flesh pushes faith off to the side. The result is a bad fight. Here’s the explanation: I love God’s law with all my heart, but there is another law working within me that’s at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am. Who will free me from this life? (Romans 7:22-24).
Worse than a bad fight--where faith fizzles out and cowardice emerges--is an ugly fight. That is a fight of total defeat and surrender to the enemy. A difficulty arises and discouragement sets in. The spiral downward into an ugly fight goes something like this…discouragement to depression to despair to complacency to surrender to defeat to death. Maybe not physical death, but the absence of a spiritual life is every bit as deadly.
Don’t let it get ugly! There is good news! God is all about faith, and He will help! Consider Jesus’ words to Peter, when he was fighting against God, as recorded in Luke 22:31-32 (NLT), Satan has asked to sift you like wheat, but I have pleaded in prayer for you, that your faith should not fail. How about that? Jesus, Himself, prays that our faith will not fail! With the great cloud of witnesses cheering “Fifteen fights!” for us, and Jesus praying for our faith to succeed, how can we lose?