I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Faith is war.
It’s a fight. A battle. Faith is hard. It’s a fight to trust God when you can’t see him. It’s a fight to believe God is in control when all around us screams life has derailed. It’s a battle to thank Jesus that his steadfast love never ceases and his mercies are new every morning in the midst of pain and sadness. It’s a fight to believe Scripture rather than our eyes and circumstances. It’s a fight to forgive and resist bitterness and believe Jesus can change others’ hearts. It’s straining and wrestling to rejoice always. It’s a struggle to believe that in the end, God will work all this out for our good. To believe that Jesus will have the final word. To believe our sufferings are producing an eternal weight of glory. Faith is a fight to believe that following Jesus is better than sin.
Faith is a long fight. It requires endurance. A long uphill haul. And faith is a growing process. Our muscle of faith will grow stronger and stronger over time the more we are forced to use it. It begins as a mustard seed. It is “I believe, help my unbelief.” But it grows over time. That’s why faith is a long fight. When one battle is over, another one begins. Just when you’ve cut one enemy down with the sword of God’s Word, you have to pick up the shield of faith to quench another barrage of fiery darts of doubts and accusations. Faith is a lifetime war.
It’s a war with weapons. We must not forget about them. We must regularly take in God’s word, rehearse it, memorize it, recall it, use it, quote it, as Jesus did when he was tempted. We must shield ourselves from Satan’s lies that God is not good, God has abandoned us, God is not in control, God’s plan is not wise. We must conquer the accuser of the brothers by the blood of the Lamb and our testimony that God is sovereign, wise, faithful, and loving.
Faith is a war Jesus helps us in. We’re not fighting by ourselves. We have a great High Priest, a Mighty Mediator who has written our names on his palms and his heart. We have a Good Shepherd who protects us, leads us by still waters, revives our souls. We have the Holy Spirit of God who lives in us, guides us, speaks to us, and helps us. We have moment by moment access to the throne of grace where we can receive mercy and help in time of need, which is all the time. And Jesus has provided brothers and sisters to pray for us and stand with us. We’re not alone in this war.
Faith is a “good fight.” It’s a race with a crown at the end. It’s a war that ends in eternal, infinite glory and joy. It’s a war that is worth it. Don’t give up. Don’t turn back now. Seek God for fresh grace and strength this morning. Someday you will be so glad you kept going. It won’t always be this hard. There is good around the corner. Jesus is greater than all you are going through. He has loved you with an everlasting love and his everlasting arms are underneath you. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Keep fighting the good fight.
Mark Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church. Find out more at The Blazing Center.
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Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter.
Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.