“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12
The date was March 23, 1775. The place was St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia. The meeting was that of the Second Virginia Convention. They had opted to meet at St. John’s rather than at the Capital in Williamsburg. The speaker was Patrick Henry. Most all of us are familiar with his closing line that day: “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” But I’d like to share with you a few other lines from that speech. They still speak to us and to our present day situations.
Here goes: If we wish to be free . . .if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have so long been engaged, and which we pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained—we must fight—I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts, is all that is left us! . . .Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. This battle is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
As July 4th approaches and I ponder our freedom as well New York’s recent vote to legalize homosexual marriages, I can’t help but think about what it takes to truly be free. Immediately I am reminded, by Paul in the scripture above and Patrick Henry in his speech, that fighting and freedom go hand in hand. Like it or not, to maintain our freedom we are always at war.
Romans 6 & 7 indicates that there is a war going on within each of us who have given our lives to the Lord. Once we were saved, there was a new us born that wants to be faithful and obedient to God. Yet there is an old side of us that rears up at times that wants to live like we did before Christ came into our surrendered lives.
Unlike an unsaved person, though, you and I have a choice! We possess a freedom to decide—will we be free from sin and a servant to obedience or will we once more allow ourselves to be free to sin and risk being enslaved to it? Though Christ has secured our freedom from sin we can turn our back on that freedom. Thus the call to arms! Ephesians 6 tells us to dress for battle.
It takes the sword of the Word. It takes the helmet of knowing we are saved. It takes a protective breastplate to preserve our righteousness. It takes feet prepared and willing to share the gospel. It takes cinching our belt of truth. It takes picking up that shield of faith to ward off those fiery darts. It takes prayer and perseverance.
The simple fact of the matter is that if we fail to hear the battle cry and commit ourselves to fight the good fight then in all likelihood we have never truly trusted Christ. And Romans 1 warns that professing ourselves to be wise we will instead become fools. We will change the truth of God into a lie. Then for such he will give us up to vile affections. Women will turn against God’s natural plan and be sexually attracted to each other. And men instead of having natural relationships with women will burn in lusts for each other. And since we do not see fit to acknowledge God, God will give us over to a reprobate mind and improper conduct.
…..We are there! A nation that claims to be Christian doesn’t have six states legalizing gay marriage unless there are a vast majority that merely think they are Christian. The issue is not homosexuality. The issue is commitment to God and fighting the good fight to stay free from sin. What does it take to be free? It takes a heart surrendered to God and a personal commitment to fight, to labor fervently, to contend, to struggle to keep it that way.
Some things are worth fighting for and freedom is one of them. How free are you? Are you dressed for battle? Are you fighting the good fight? Have you truly laid hold on eternal life? Are you trusting God to fight by your side?