12 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 v 12
We are all in a battle whether we know it or not. Most of us have just started the fight while others are veterans who have been on the battlefield for years.
Some give up and give in midway and are sent into captivity by the enemy while others refuse to throw in the towel having resolved to fight to the bitter end with all their might. They have adopted the mindset of “If I perish, I perish”(Esther 4 v 16) having the understanding that it’s those who stand till the end are the ones who will be saved.
Many of us wonder why our lives have been full of one calamity after the other since we came to Christ. After all, many evangelists and preachers have promised us that “Jesus will bless us, give us peace when we come to Him and that our lives will not be the same again.” Unfortunately, the sales pitch doesn’t always come with disclaimers and as such many of us wake up with the same question as Rebecca “If it is so, why am I thus?” (Genesis 25 v 22)
I don’t know about you but as a former daydreamer, if someone told me that Jesus will give me peace and that my life will not be the same again, I would automatically think of living a luxurious life with no wants as all my fleshly desires will be catered to, you know, all the superfluous things that actually don’t bring peace and fulfilment. Now, why would I automatically think of these things if that is not what most preachers make us believe? Hardly would you hear a preacher say “come to Jesus Christ, die to yourself, shun the world, oh, and although you become the enemy of Satan, don’t worry Jesus Christ will give you victory through the trials you will face and if you remain faithful to Him and walk in holiness, your ultimate prize and reward is eternal life with Him in Heaven”
Truth is, many of us come to Jesus Christ for the wrong reasons. Some of us because we were having difficulties in our marriages, others because of chronic illnesses while for others, it was simply because we wanted to be part of a community and felt by joining a church, we will finally ‘fit’ in and be part of the crowd. What we fail to understand is that unless we are truly born again, we cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Unless we grasp the importance of the decision to give ourselves to Christ, and the impact genuine faith has on an individual’s life, we end up abusing the grace God has made available to us. Jesus Christ is not a casual being whom we can pick and choose how much of ourselves we want to give Him. Bible says He is a jealous God and until we make Him a priority in our lives, we end up driving Him and His Spirit further away from us. We can confess every second of our love for Him until the cows come home but if we are not obeying His commandment, then our love is empty and are deemed as liars in His sight. (John 14 v 15)
I don’t know about you but I have had to repent of my motives for coming to Christ and also my motives behind certain things I have done since I came to Him. I realised that I was a self-professing Christian you had a transactional relationship with Christ. It was all about what He could do for me and oftentimes whatever I did for Him was to incentivize Him into blessing me. God cannot be manipulated and there is nothing we can hide from Him.
I have often asked myself and the Lord why am in constant battles and have often prayed that He gives me to rest as He did for Solomon (2 Kings 4 v 21-25). I have since come to realise that after genuine repentance, we still need to deal with your past and background. How can we move forward unless we know and understand where we are coming from? God is a God of principles and to be able to walk with Him and enjoy all His provisions, we have to renounce the idols in our lives, the gods of our father’s house and all the reoccurring patterns in our bloodlines and families. Even Father Abraham was called out of his father’s house and idols!
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Genesis 12:1 KJV
It has become obvious to me that all who give their lives to Christ Jesus need to go through some sort of deliverance and healing to deal with the what happened to them in the past as well as the hidden generational issues and evil covenants that need to be broken. Jesus Christ said that…
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me.
John 14:30 KJV
Without deliverance, we still hold on to some of the enemy’s property in our possession making our lives unstable either in every or one area. Some of these are long-standing and deeply entrenched issues in our families/bloodline which has been following us. We can recognise them because almost everyone in our family is going through a similar situation. Some of the battles are in the mind and as such we need our minds renewed as urged by Apostle Paul in Romans 12 v 2. The only way I can think of renewing the mind is by offloading the current mindset by ingesting the word of God on a daily basis and forgoing the old way of reasoning. Indeed the Bible specifically says that if any man is in Christ they are a new creature and that the old has passed away and all has become new (2 Corinthians 5 v 17), however, I believe nothing in the physical realm comes automatic and we have to make a conscious decision to be transformed. In my humble opinion, I perceive that this scripture is referring to our spiritual being as we are translated from darkness into the Kingdom of God (Colossians 1 v 13).
We still need to deal with the powers from our families and only in standing up to fight will the enemy leave us alone. We are encouraged by Apostle Paul to:
3 Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 2 v 3
One scriptural example of breaking free from the evil powers or cycles of our families can be seen in the story of Gideon who had to break the Baal idols his father worshipped when he encountered God. Only after destroying the powers of his father’s house and establishing a covenant with God was he able to fulfil his destiny as a judge of Isreal. Gideon’s story can be read in Judges chapter 6 and 7
Many of us give our lives to Christ and still accommodate the enemy through our agreement with certain practices long-held as traditions in our family. If indeed we have given our lives to Christ, we must be able to do what father Abraham and Gideon did in order to come into our full inheritance in Christ. In order to come into this inheritance, some of us will be rejected by our families, loved ones and friends but we must still look to Christ the author and perfector of our faith. The trials and tribulations we go through are what keeps us close to the feet of Jesus Christ. Some of us would have long forgotten Christ if all was smooth sailing in our lives. It’s our afflictions that help us grow in faith.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
Psalms 34:18-19 KJV
Whatever the battles we face, let’s be encouraged that.:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV
I have come to understand that giving your life to Jesus Christ doesn’t mean your life becomes a bed of roses but in fact its the start of hardship and being stripped away of the things of this world, however, the goal is to be conformed into the image of Christ.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8 v 29
Apostle Paul was a prime example of suffering for Christ. He endured much pain for Christ although his was for the work of God. His labour was for the likes of us in order that we would know the truth.
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
2 Corinthians 11:23-27 KJV
The man who went through all the above admonishes all christians that being a Christian is synonymous with hardships. So if our Christian life is without some form of trials or hardship, then we need to question ourselves if we are truly in the faith.
“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
Acts 14 v 22 (KJV)
Whatever challenges you face, know that there is nothing that moves mountains and changes situations except prayer, faith in Christ and living in holiness. We must always fight our battles on our knees and take the steps forward in life believing that God will help us overcome.
In the end, if we stand and not faint, we will reap the reward of fulfilling our purpose here on earth and receive the crown of life from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in eternity.
Stay blessed and focused knowing that,
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Romans 8 v 37
*All scriptures are taken from the King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated