II Timothy 4:7
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Paul said I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course: I have kept the faith. Paul said he fought a good fight. How did he fight? What weapons did he use? He fought using spiritual weapons. You cannot use natural weapons in this fight. The scripture says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. II Corinthians 10:4.
Paul said he kept the faith, so faith must be an important weapon. Ephesians 6:16 "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked"
This faith is a part of our armor; we use it to defend ourselves. Jesus said "I have prayed for you that your faith fail you not. Why did he say faith? Why didn't he say, joy or peace? "Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
When you lose faith, you lose the fight. We are running a race and during this race we will encounter obstacles and attacks from the enemy, which is Satan. We are not fighting against people, even though Satan works through people. 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."
We need our shield of faith to fight the good fight because Satan is constantly throwing darts or punches at us. He might throw a punch or dart of fear at you. You raise your shield which is your guard and say II Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
When he throws a dart of discouragement at you say, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" Philippians 4:13
When he throws a dart of lust or envy or jealously at you say, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry" Colossians 3:5
No matter what it looks like, no matter what it seems like, no matter what it feels like you have to keep trusting God.
--when your friends turn their backs on you, you have to keep trusting
--when it seems like the way is dark and there is no way out, you have to keep trusting
--when your bills are due and there is no money, you have to keep trusting
--you have to keep trusting God when you are sick in your body
Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. He waited 25 years for God to fulfill his word. Joseph also was someone who waited on the promises of God; he went from Potiphar's house to the second in command under Pharaoh. They kept trusting God even though their circumstances looked dark and without hope.
I Corinthians 9:24-27 says "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
Paul said he was running a race. He was running to receive a prize. The prize we will receive is eternal life. To win this race Paul kept his body under subjection. How did he do this? He did it by not giving in to the lusts; the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Paul was a man who had a reason to be prideful, because he was born a Hebrew of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews but he counted it all as nothing. His title was not important to him; the only thing that was important was that he did the will of God. Paul resisted the temptations of the flesh, unlike Adam and Eve who gave into these lusts. When Satan came to Eve and tempted her she should have told him no, and fought the desire, but she gave in to the flesh. Adam was not deceived but he did not listen to God and they did not keep the faith.
The Bible says in 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." This is why Jesus told Pilate his kingdom was not of this world. Because if it was then his servants would fight a natural fight with natural weapons, St John 18:36.
We cannot fight Satan and his demons with natural weapons, with knives and guns and fists. We cannot get into a literal boxing ring with the enemy, but we can get into a spiritual ring. Imagine yourself in a boxing ring, you and God and Satan. You're in a boxing match. He the devil says things to bruise and weaken you. Some of his punches succeed and you begin to fall to your knees. You eventually get brought down but you are not defeated. You begin to call on the Lord and you use the word of God. As you use the word of God, the effects of the blows begin to weaken and become less effective and with each verse you begin to rise. You struggle back and forth until eventually you rise to your feet and stand tall. You become like a tree planted by the rivers of water and you won't be moved. Many years ago when I was a young girl there was a toy on the market called Weebles. This toy was made to wobble back and forth when you touched it, but you could never get it to stay down. Sometimes we are like the Weeble. The saying was "weebles wobble but they won't stay down."
You have to be equipped to fight your enemy. Just like in a natural fight. A professional fighter prepares for a natural fight. They train and learn offensive and defensive moves and anyone can learn to fight naturally. Women can learn how to defend themselves in the event someone tries to harm them. They are taught how to overcome and give punches. A person can defend themselves by using different techniques and targeting sensitive parts of the body such as the ears, simply take your hands and box them on their ears just as hard as you possibly can. You can hit someone in the nose, a sharp, hard punch to the nose itself can cause considerable pain, and you can also hit someone on the back of the hand. So in the natural so in the spiritual, this is the same way we fight the enemy. We have to learn different moves and we learn these moves through the instructions given in the word of God. The Bible is our guide.
Here are some life situations we might find ourselves in:
1. No food to eat-"I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" Psalm 37:25.
2. You lose your house- "And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" Job 1:21.
3. You get a bad report from the doctor- "heal me oh lord and I shall be healed" Jeremiah 127:14, "I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord," Psalms 118:17.
4. Your spouse or child dies, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" Proverbs 3:5.
5. You lose your job, "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God," Psalm 42:11.
6. You are in a car wreck, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" Romans 8:28.
7. Your teenage son gets thrown in jail,"In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears." Psalms 18:6.
8. Your teenage daughter gets pregnant, "Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loveth, is born of God and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love," 1 John 4:7-8.
9. Your friends turn their backs on you, "for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" Hebrews 11:5.
10. Your business begins to fail, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" Jeremiah 29:11.
11. Satan says God doesn't love you, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" St. John 3:16.
Paul said in II Corinthians 4:8-10 "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."
Paul said we are to fight the good fight of faith, I 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."
Lay hold on eternal life. We have to lay hold on eternal life, which means we have to seize it. We fight the good fight by following after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness, I Timothy 6:11.
Paul said in Hebrews 10:31 & 32 "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions." We are to remember the former days when we first got saved how we endured the afflictions and trials.
Paul also said we are not to cast away (thrust from you) your confidence in the Lord."Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward"Hebrews 10:35. Why should we remember? Because we will receive a reward. God's word said that we would receive a reward if we endure until the end. We are to hold fast to that which is good. Fight the good fight because your life, honor and soul are at stake. We have to live the gospel not just speak it.
This fight that we are in, what kind of fight is it? It is a fight of faith. Fight the good fight of faith.
Remember when you lose the faith, you lose the fight. The scripture says the just shall live by faith, because without faith it is impossible to receive anything from God. "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." Romans 1:17.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" Hebrews 11:1 & 6.
We fight the good fight of faith by drawing near to God. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" James 4:8. Jesus said in Matthew 28:20 that he is with us always, he has promised never to leave us, Hebrews 13:5. We draw near to God through prayer, fasting, studying the word and hearing God's word. We fight Satan through our testimony, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony" Revelation 12:11.
To fight the devil we must use the shield of faith. This shield quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:16.
Faith is trusting in God's word as truth.
Faith is trusting that God will provide for our needs.
Faith is trusting God will protect us from the evil one.
When we have faith, we trust. To trust is: to rely on, to put confidence in, to be confident in. It is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone. When we trust we rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of; we believe, this is faith.
We have confidence in God based on our experience with him. If you tell me you are going to give me $100.00 tomorrow, then I take what you have said as fact, depending upon what I know about you. If I know you to be a trustworthy person then I know I will get the money from you because your character has been proven, but if I know from experience you have let me down in the past, I am less inclined to believe you.
To believe is: to have confidence in a statement or promise of another person.
In order for a person to come to God that person must first believe that what God has said about his giving his only son so that we might gain eternal life; that person must believe that what the Bible says about our needing a savior is true. Scripture says "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" Mark 6:16. When we first come to God we believe, (we have confidence in). To have faith is to have a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Faith is based upon our belief in God.
We exercise our belief every day. When we get in our cars, we believe they will start because they have started in the past, when we get on an airplane, we believe we will reach our destination safely because we and others have done so in the past. When we turn on a light switch, we believe there will be light because we have gotten light in the past.
Abraham believed God: he relied on the truthfulness of what God had spoken to him about. Before Isaac was born there was no proof other than the word of God, that Abraham and Sarah would have a child even though God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations. There was no proof when Sarah was beyond childbearing years. There was no proof when God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Yet Abraham still believed God, why? Because he knew the character of God, he knew God's word was true, he knew he could put his trust in God and when Isaac was born his faith increased. When God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Abraham obeyed because he believed God would somehow keep his promise that he would be a father of many nations. He had no proof, but because God had proven himself in the past and he knew God could not lie he obeyed and God provided a ram for the sacrifice instead of his son and his faith increased again. Abraham believed God and it was counted unto his as righteousness.
Every time we have an encounter with God and he comes through for us our faith increases, our belief becomes firm in something for which there is no proof. As our faith increases we must also have the word of God to sustain us. We have to feed the inner man. We cannot stand up to the devil when he brings on an attack if we have nothing to fight with.
When he throws a dart at you attacking your faith you say: "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus" II Timothy 1:13. You cannot say God made me the head and not the tail if you have no word in you. You cannot quench that fiery dart if you have no strength in your shield.
When we become weary and burdened down from Satan's attacks if we have no word in us, we cannot know that Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." We can't know this if we do not have the word in us, we cannot trust in these words if we do not know them.