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A son knows how to fight

In 1 Timothy 6:12, Paul instructs his spiritual son Timothy, to fight the good fight of faith. Later on, near the end of Paul's life, he reflects on his own journey and declares... I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (2 Timothy 4:7 KJV)

As I get older, I am becoming more reflective about my life and the legacy that I will leave behind when I transition to glory. It is my hope and prayer that at the end of my own race, I will be able to say the same thing as Paul did. That I have fought the good fight, that I finished my race and I have not lost heart.

If my life was a 15 round boxing match, I am most certainly in the last 5 rounds. ...And I want to keep on fighting right until the end. Now you may surprised that a 'Fatherheart guy' like me would devote an entire blog to fighting. What are we fighting? Who are we fighting? Isn't the love of God meant to dismantle our need to contend and battle like we used to?

To answer these questions, I first want to point out that in this week's focus verse, Paul writes that the way we fight as beloved sons and daughters is opposite from the ways that the world fights. In the world, the biggest, strongest and richest dominate. In the Kingdom of our Papa, it is the poor, the weak and the foolish that God has chosen to be His champions (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). As a matter of fact, in Papa's Kingdom, the greatest is actually the one who is the smallest (Matthew 18:1-4). Go figure!

So before we can have a good understanding of the fight that we are called to wage, we need to understand what our weapons are. I think the best description that we can find in one place to describe our weaponry is found in Galatians 5:22-23 which describes the evidence of the Holy Spirit's fruitfulness in our lives...

Galatians 5:22-23
The fruit of the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its various expressions. This love is revealed through: Joy that overflows, Peace that subdues,  Patience that endures, Kindness on display, A life full of virtue, Faith that prevails, Gentleness of heart, and Strength of spirit. (TPT)

If you have never thought of the fruit of the Spirit as being your biggest, best weapons, think again. In Romans 16:20, Paul writes that it is the God of 'peace' that will crush Satan's head. And it is the peace that passes our understanding (Philippians 4:7) that will help us sleep through even the greatest of storms (Luke 8:23). And it is perfect love that casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). It is helpful to note that the greek word for 'cast' is the same word used when Jesus 'cast' out devils. Needless to say, it is a pretty aggressive description of love's impact on fear.

In Ephesians 6:10-17, Paul makes a list of the armour that we are meant to go into battle with... The belt of truth that will set us free (John 8:32); Our heart protected by a breastplate that declares us righteous; Our feet fitted with the Prince of Peace's own shoes (John 14:27); A really big shield of faith (trust) that protects us from condemnation (Romans 8:1) and the helmut of salvation that shields our minds from the endless nattering from the father of lies (John 8:44).

The only offensive weapon in our arsenal is the sword of the Spirit which is the spoken {hray'-mah} Word of God. It is important to remember that the armor we are called to wear is not our armor, but God's. And the only offensive weapon that we will ever need comes from God Himself when He speaks on our behalf.

Whenever I think of personally going into battle, I picture myself as a little boy outfitted with oversized knight's armour roaring in the face of his enemy. While the enemy is indeed terrified at the sight, it isn't really this little boy that gives him the fright, but the little boy's Dad who is standing behind him!

Just the thought that Almighty God would have a protective, ferocious Father's heart for me is enough to set my heart at rest and send even the most formidable enemy running.

I think this picture goes along with Romans 8:31 which says 'If God is for us, who can stand against us?" The picture of the biggest, best Dad in the universe watching over me (as I think I am actually the one doing the fighting), is absolutely heart warming and reinforces Romans 8:33 which says... Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. (NLT) 

It is true that we all have been given weapons of righteousness to wield in our right hand and in our left (2 Corinthians 6:7) but ultimately the battle is The Lord's (2 Chronicles 20:15). It is only when we realize this to be true that we can actually stop trying to fight for ourselves and simply trust that He is fighting on our behalf (Exodus 14:14).

When we begin to understand that we are the strongest when we are the weakest (2 Corinthians 12:9), we will be able to cease from our own works so that we can enter into the rest of our Abba (Hebrews 4:9-11). I believe it is from this place of resting in the finished work and ultimate victory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we can begin to believe that we are more than conquerors no matter what life throws at us (Romans 8:37).

This week's Scripture passage tells us that the weapons that our Papa has given us have divine power to pull down strongholds. And where do these strongholds exist? ...in our mind! In order to better understand this battle, let's read the verses around this week's text...

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)

The fight we are called to fight is not with people or even with orphan world systems. What we are called to resist is the ultimate lie that tries to convince us that we aren't who God says we are. Jesus told us that the work of God is to believe in the One He sent (John 6:29) for it is in believing the truth that we will be set free.

Our fight is simply learning to stand (Ephesians 6:13) in our true identity as Papa's beloved kids so that we can live a life of love (Ephesians 5:1-2). It is only when we stand firm in the truth (reality) of who we really are in Christ, that we can resist the relentless lies that say otherwise. The end result is that when we resist the devil, he has no choice but to run the other way (James 4:7).

So brothers and sisters, my prayer today is that you would continue to fight the good fight, that you would continue to run your unique race and that you would keep the faith in the One who has declared you completely loved and accepted! Having done all to stand, my prayer is that you would keep on standing, so that you can really enjoy the fruitful life of love that your God and Father has secured for you this very moment.  (1 John 4:16)

Ephesians 6:10-17
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace; above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (WEB)

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