1Timothy 6:12; Jude 3
I could only be five or six years old when I felt someone lifting me up from the back of my shirt collar and standing me upright. “The next time I hear or see you in anything like this, you are going to be in trouble.” It was my father. To this date, he never asked me what caused the fight. He didn’t care; he was simply against it. And then as I grew up and with my siblings – fighting, screaming, crying and yelling over petty stuff – my parents would call us and admonished us to settle or differences with meaningful discussions, but no one believed that. Parents just don’t want, and never have, to know their children caught up one kind of a fight or another.
And now when all this fighting stuff should be behind us, we have a Father in heaven telling us, “I am sorry, but there is a fight that is being brought to you by your enemy and you have to respond in kind; you have to fight him.” As you observe your children who “share faith in Christ,” sometimes their walk is not where it should be. Get their attention by asking them to look at you, and in a concerned tone say to him/her/them, “As a mother/father I have never wanted to know or hear you fighting with another person, but this time I am asking you to engage in one. It’s for your faith in God. And I am asking you to fight for it.” Parents, this is one of those times in your lives you have to look in the eyes of your little one or ones, and say with every bit of confidence in you, “This is a fight I am permitting you to fight, and I have every bit of faith in you that you will win.”
What a command given in the form of an exhortation to Paul’s “son in the faith,” Timothy. In the very word “fight” is the idea of serious effort, to struggle if that’s what it takes to stay on course, to strive for, and to “exercise great effort and exertion for something.” The challenge before us is not about God giving it to us. It is pain that you must willingly go through if you are going to keep it. Look at what the Holy Spirit is saying from the vantage point of a 4 x 100 relay – four persons running a 400m. Each runner must run a 100m with a relay baton, and at set intervals the relay baton is changed from one runner to the other until the last person crosses the finish line.
Well, your race is a 2x 100m relay – it is you and the Lord Jesus Christ. He started that race; the Bible says He is the “forerunner” (Heb. 6:20). He is the first in a series. And the spiritual baton, your faith that leads to eternal life, has been passed into your hand. I have seen many 4x 100 relays in which the baton is accidentally dropped at that critical moment of exchange, and the race is forever lost. That four-man team may get recognition for effort, but no prize. In your race, it is perseverance over speed because some have dropped the baton, found the courage to pick it up and finished victoriously. It is here you are called upon to take hold of your baton, “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” (1Tim. 6:12 ESV).
Despite the speed at which people may run the 4x 100m, if the baton is not passed… to the hand of the last runner, he would have run a race in vain.
- Are you fighting for the faith that leads to eternal life?
- Jesus began this race with you, and He has passed the baton well.
- Jesus is crying out to you take hold of it, and grip it with every ounce of strength in you.
- Now, run with perseverance to the finish line because your crown is waiting for you.
- And even if you drop it one, two, three, four… times, it will not count against you if you finish the course with it in your hand.
- What will count against you is not that you dropped the baton; it is because you did not pick it up.
The Beltway Church of Christ is located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in Prince George’s County, MD near Joint Base Andrews.