This month our contributors are sharing their favorite Bible verses.
Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Over the years, this verse has kept me grounded in my faith. As a teenager, when my faith was just taking root, this verse jumped out to me. It was the words “fight the good fight” that always inspired me. In junior high, I was undersized, and when it came to sports, I always felt like I had to play harder to compensate. So when I read the words “fight the good fight of faith” it became my mantra about what it meant to live with passion, determination, and heart. It meant that I did it the right way and never gave up.
Somewhere along the way, this life mantra began to take new shape for me. As I began to learn about Jesus more and more, I began to realize that the way he fought the good fight is very different than how I originally applied this scripture to my life.
One example of this can be found with a simple Google search for the phrase: “fight the good fight.” Many of the images that come up have boxing gloves and swords. Some even a knight in full armor.
Growing up these were the same kind of images I thought of too. But now, images like these risk missing the point because to fight the good fight means fighting like Jesus would fight. And as I’m learning, Jesus fought in a way that was very different than throwing punches or swinging swords.
I don’t think Paul had in mind inspiring athletic performance when he wrote this letter (though admittedly when I play sports, it still inspires me to play hard). He was talking about a much bigger mission: what it means to live life as a follower of Christ. For me, this is where the verse has grown more depth and appreciation as I continue to learn how Jesus fought.
Jesus’ way of fighting the good fight of faith was to heal the sick, free the captive, love the enemy, and care for the lost and lonely. A Jesus fight acts for justice, seeks mercy, and walks humbly. A Jesus fight walks toward the mess not to obliterate it, but to restore and heal it. In the most clear picture of a Jesus fight, we see a man willing to bear the cross so that others might live.
There’s certainly a grittiness to the way Jesus fought the good fight. It was real and authentic, but it was also very subversive. To fight like Jesus is to do the hard, and often meek, work of serving others. It really is quite simple, but certainly not easy.
So yes… this verse still reads like a life mantra for me. Having fight is still about living with passion, determination, and heart. It still means moving forward in the face of opposition. However, as God continues to work in me, I’m learning to also fight as Jesus fought.
Written by Mark
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.