Fighting The Good Fight
  By Alvin J. Vander Griend

    Introduction: The Christian life is not always easy. It’s not for the weak-willed and fearful. It requires courage, discipline, and sacrifice. The Christian, like a soldier, must give up comforts that others consider normal and be alert to defend against attack. Like an athlete, the Christian must be disciplined, always keep training, and play by the rules. Like a farmer, the Christian must plan carefully, work hard, and patiently wait for the harvest. Embattled Christians fight on, trusting completely in Christ and in his ability to empower. The assurance of final victory and the victor’s crown spurs them onward.

    Prayer for Insight: Lord, help me to understand the challenge of living the Christian life and make me ready, willing, and able to face any obstacle.

    To study the following Bible verses, read them at least three times:

    · The first time, highlight or mark key words, phrases, or verses.

    · The second time, note and write down what strikes you or puzzles you.

    · The third time, try to discover and write down what the verses teach about God.

    1 Timothy 6:11-16 11. . . Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight 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. 13In 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 14to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

    2 Timothy 2:1-7 1. . . Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. . . . 3Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. 5Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. 6The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

    2 Timothy 4:5-8 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

    What God Is Saying to Me (time for personal reflection and application)

    What I Want to Say to God

    Pray a prayer of your own making, using the following prayer starters:

    · I honor you, God. You are the blessed Creator and only Ruler, "the King of kings and Lord of lords." You alone are immortal and live in light that no one can approach. No one has ever seen or can see you. Honor and eternal power are yours (1 Timothy 6:13-16).

    · Help me to be strong by means of your grace and to understand all I need to know (2 Timothy 2:1, 7). Help me to fight the good fight, to finish the race, and to keep the faith so that I can claim the victory in you (2 Timothy 4:6-8; 1 Timothy 6:12, 14).

    · I will strive for "righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:11). I will run my best in the race of faith and receive "the crown of righteousness." I will obey your commands and keep them faithfully till the end (2 Timothy 2:5; 4:7-8).

    · I am willing to endure hardship as a soldier of Christ. I won’t get mixed up in affairs that would keep me from being a good soldier, and I will obey the rules (2 Timothy 2:3-5).