This is the fifth post in a series by John Lanferman about fighting the fight of faith in the midst of leadership transition. Click here to view all posts in this series.
Paul told Timothy to “Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:12). How do we engage in this fight successfully? Here’s a valuable key: It’s a fight we do together!
Fight the fight by exhorting one another.
“Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.” (Heb 3:12-13)
We fight this fight of faith by exhorting one another. I need my friends and their encouragement. My friends in the fight exhort me by with their example and words. Note the role of community in the exhortation to Christians found in Heb. 10:23-25…
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
The fight of faith is the struggle to hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering and to keep on loving each other. This means our relationships are crucial. We won’t win in isolation. Growth and movement is not accomplished in isolation.
Fight by remembering the prophecies.
“I entrust to you Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith” (1 Timothy 1:18-19).
Paul’s phrase indicates that the prophecies Timothy had received had a purpose - to enable him to fight the good fight. Note the words “By them.” It is by the influence of these prophecies that Timothy would wage the good warfare and fight with endurance and courage. Something in these prophecies would shape, embolden, encourage and remind him of God’s plan and sovereignty.
How do we fight with and for our faith in a broken world? We do it together, remembering God’s promises found in His words to us. God is faithful to his word and we need to lay hold of His truth in scripture. Together we can agree with Paul’s declaration in Rom. 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”