Sunday, October 29, 2017
Thoughts from Hymns - Fight the Good Fight of Faith
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
Fight the Good Fight
Fight the good fight with all thy might;
Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right;
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.
Cast care aside, lean on thy Guide,
His boundless mercy will provide;
Trust, and thy trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its life and Christ its love.
Faint not nor fear, for He is near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear;
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.
John S. B. Monsell
There is much sorrow, and foolishness, and fear and trembling in the world these days. It seems more and more like the end of all things is at hand, 1 Peter 4:7. But, there is one thing we need to focus on in the midst of all this – we have a battle to fight which supersedes these things. It is not a war against flesh and blood, but it is the spiritual battle of the Christian life.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
There are so many Christians in the United States who are focused on the “right to bear arms” – to own guns. This is not the good fight of faith. Dear ones for Christ’s sake, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal because our battle is not carnal – that is to say, it is not with flesh and blood.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [Emphasis added]
We should not be fighting for the right to keep and use carnal weapons. Though they may serve a useful purpose (which I agree with), they are not the weapons of our warfare. They are a useful method of defending ourselves against general villainy (see Luke 22:36-28 where Jesus said that two swords were enough among 11 men!), and for hunting food. But, the weapons of our warfare must be spiritual weapons because it is a spiritual battle. The armor of God is spiritual armor.
Ephesians 6:13-17 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
We are not defending nor establishing a physical kingdom. Jesus Christ Himself said, …My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36 His Kingdom will not be of this world until He comes back Himself with the armies of heaven to establish it (see Rev. 19).
Our warfare is to fight the good fight – the spiritual warfare. Christ is our right. He has promised Himself to us. Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Our goal is to run the straight race through God's grace, Heb. 12:1; to lay hold on eternal life, 1 Tim. 6:12 &19; to …press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, Philippians. 3:14. We can cast the cares of this present life on the Lord, 1 Pt. 5:7; and trust in the boundless mercy of God, finding His love and life enough and totally sustaining!
“Faint not nor fear, for He is near,
He changeth not, and thou are dear...”
Perhaps these are the most beautiful words in this whole song. In a time when many are fainting (giving up the battle and giving way to worldliness and false teachings) and fearing, it is so important to …earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude vs. 3. In a time when we are being regularly bombarded with “facts” that should cause us terror about every aspect of life, with claims that we are being spied upon, poisoned, and messed with by higher powers we have no control over, it is so important that we remember that our God is near. Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
And, He changes not! This is a wonderful blessing, and when connected with His love for us it is a great comfort! Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. If the unchanging Lord so loves the sons of Jacob, we can be assured that His love for believers now will not change! In the battle of the Christian life this should be a constant point of encouragement and blessing - we, in all our unworthiness, are dear to the Almighty, Holy God who created all things!
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.
1 Timothy 1:18-19 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
We must “hold faith” lest we also make shipwreck. It is only through the power of the Lord Jesus that we can fight the good fight of faith. 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
If we do believe, we will find the great truth that Jesus Christ is all in all to us, that He is all we need, and that all the spiritual blessings God has available are available through Him. Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Like the Apostle Paul, let us strive to be able to say with him, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
My blogging friend Stephanie at the Enchanting Rose made a lovely and thoughtful presentation of this hymn which you can see at here: Fight the Good Fight with All Thy Might.
First published here Oct. 2012.