I have fought the good fight
Paul makes the above statement when summing up his life as he writes to Timothy.
Paul has fought – that is he has contended with the adversary. Peter writes making it clear that our adversary is the devil – ‘your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ 1 Peter5:8 Peter goes on to say ‘resist’ - that means to set oneself against and be in opposition to, the enemy.
So here’s a question – when was the last time you actively stood against the works of Satan? When was the last time you actively took the authority Jesus gave us over all the works of the enemy, and delivered yourself, your loved ones, your workplace, and environment from Satan’s work? Or do you just accept whatever happens to you and those around you? Many loose out because they do not contend with the one who is roaming about seeking to cause trouble and loss – especially to the believers.
What do you do to play your part in God’s eternal purpose? Is the manifold wisdom of God being demonstrated to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places through your day to day life? (See Ephesians 3:10-11)
James writes to make it clear that faith requires an outworking, or it is as good as dead. He asks, can your faith deliver you from danger without works? James strongly infers that it cannot. He likens it to seeing someone naked and hungry and saying to them ‘be warmed and filled’ but doing nothing – it’s quite useless, as good as dead! (See James 2:14-26)
Are we fighting the good fight? Consider the persistent widow of Luke 18. Her persistent stand against the unrighteous judge (the devil or his servant) had the effect of wearying him (literally meaning ‘beating him black and blue’) until he gave up. She was demanding her rights – she was demanding that the unrighteous judge give up. Her speaking out loud against him had the effect of beating him black and blue. He gave up!
The Bible is clear: ‘Resist the devil and he will flee’ – yes he will flee from you! (James 4:7)
How can we be sure of victory over all the works of the enemy? First, we must know that Jesus won the complete and total victory over Satan. Second, we must play our part. Playing our part is not just saying,’ I am relying on Jesus,’ or ‘I am trusting in the Lord.’ Both these things are good, but they are not the enough by themselves. What Jesus has done can be likened to being the legal authority for our victory. But that victory still has to be enforced - and Jesus has given us all the necessary authority to do exactly that. Our faith, our trust, without works is as good as dead, we are expected to act.
If we don’t play our part, we may lose a battle. Look around at your life, family, and work - can you see losses, can you see unresolved sicknesses, can you see things which have come against you? Have you dealt with them? Or do you continually put up them?