October 20 (1 Timothy 6:12)
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (ESV)
The Greek in Paul’s letter to Timothy begins, “agonizou ton kalon agona.” The first and last words of that clause give us the English word “agony.” Living the Christian life will involve a fight. It will involve pain, discomfort, and even agony. Make no mistake. It is not God Who causes that agony, but everything from the fallen nature of the world to direct intervention of demonic forces will work against you because you are one of God’s children, washed in the blood of the Lamb. Are you ready for such agona?
Probably not. When I go to my car at the end of the day in the hot months, I immediately roll down the windows and turn on the air conditioner as I put my coat and tie in the trunk. You can’t expect me to drive home in a hot car, can you? And if I am somewhere the Wi-Fi is slow, I will just switch over to data. No one can seriously expect me not to watch the YouTube video a friend has sent me at the moment I want to watch it! To say that we live in a world of creature comforts is an understatement, and while I am not inclined to give up those comforts, I have to acknowledge that they have made me soft. When hard times come, I am quick to expect God to make everything right, and when He doesn’t do so on the spot, well, my thoughts aren’t what they should be.
Paul knew what it meant to suffer hardship on behalf of his calling in Christ and he knew how to prepare for it. As he says in 1 Corinthians 9:27, he beats his own body and brings it under control. What will it take for you to prepare yourself for the fights you must face as a Christian? Is there something you need to give up? Has something that was once a tool to help you become a master to enslave you? You have a calling as a child of God. Ask Him to help you be ready to face the trials that come with it.
Lord, it is easy to believe that heaven should be right now on earth. I have come to expect now the perfection that will only exist when You return to renew all things. Help me to live in a way that does not focus so much on creature comforts but focuses more on faithfulness. Help me to fight well the good fights when they come my way. Amen.