The Good Fight of Faith

“I have fought the good fight…I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:7

These words were written by the Apostle Paul at the end of his life. He had the blessed assurance that he had fought the good fight of faith. Blessed is the person who can say this at the end of his life! That is the right kind of fight which will receive the crown.

In a sense, every person is engaged in a battle. Some fight merely for their existence, others for their honor, their rights, their advantage, their well-being, their ideas, their convictions, and so on. Sometimes even believers contend for such or similar things. Then, they try to prove, using the Word of God, that they are justified in fighting. But this is not the type of battle Paul is talking about here, for he never fought for his rights, his honor, or even just for his opinion. Such matters have nothing to do with faith.

It is known that only few people fight the good fight of faith. Even the Word of God says that not all have faith (2 Thessalonians 3:2).

In general, people are inclined to see, know, and understand, and want to be able to explain everything. Because that is not always possible in the spiritual realm, they declare the fight of faith to be foolishness. But Jesus calls those blessed who do not see and yet believe.

In our Christian life, there are times when everything seems dark to us and we see no way out, as if God has turned His face away from us. David referred to it as the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4). There is also no shortage of “comforters” like Job experienced in his distress. They claimed, in essence, “the path of a true believer is always bright. If things are going so badly, then something must be wrong with you!” If someone does not have a strong faith, he can experience great turmoil because of this.

There are also times of darkness and struggle within the church setting. Working in the vineyard is not easy. The workers at evening said, “We have borne the burden and heat of the day.” That tells us something! Working for the Lord is always a work of faith; often one sees very little progress. As such, sometimes it seems as if our labor is entirely in vain.

Then there are also those who lack faith. They boldly declare, “It will not work; you see so few people come to church, and few are saved.” It seems that the prophet Isaiah also felt this way, for he writes, “Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and in vain’” (Isaiah 49:4).

Whoever has resolved to fight the battle of faith must continue, regardless of circumstances or feelings. He must also not be held back by those of little faith. He must simply endure and continue to work steadfastly. For him, only the Word of God matters: “knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Now, if we consider the man who wrote these words, the Apostle Paul, we know that his path was not a bed of roses. How much slander, mockery, scorn, beatings, and imprisonments he had to endure. And on top of that, his own challenge – a thorn in the flesh. What it was, we do not know. In any case, it was something he desired to be released from. But although he had called upon the Lord three times because of this, he was not relieved of it. So, he learned to be content and continued in the fight of faith.

Every Christian faces some type of hardship. Our path does not always go smoothly, but our Christian walk is not anchored in good feelings, but in believing the Word of God.

However, the Lord has promised victory to believers. When we face trials, we may be distressed and sad, but that does not signal defeat in our fight of faith. If we come to the Savior and call upon Him for help, we can be conquerors, for He wants to lead us from victory to victory.

Therefore, dear reader, if you also want to fight the good fight of faith, do not rely on your undependable emotions! A fighter who pays attention to his feelings is fickle. In good times, he may come across as a great hero of faith. He is ready to “go to prison and to death” for his Lord. However, when circumstances change and his feelings follow suit, he lies on the ground utterly discouraged with no strength left for the battle.

God wants to help us fight the good fight, to keep the faith, so that one day we may all receive the crown of victory.

Alfred Berzins

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