Fight The Good Fight
I don’t know about you, but normally this time of year I’m ready for the final push to see out the old year and welcome in the new one. However, my Christmas season’s concluding effort this December month of 2021 is feeling a little weary and bedraggled. What with the drain of navigating a pandemic for almost two years to the restrictions that have followed and the disappointments of plans not happening, these things have all taken a toll on even the strongest of faith-filled followers. And I know that most of us are very well aware of the listless sense of exhaustion from fighting the good fight in our faith and are in need of a little bit of breathing space.
So, we find ourselves flicking open our Bible’s and reading wholeheartedly Galatians 6:9, reminding us to not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in. But if we’re honest, our faith feels weary by doing all the good we can give as we try to pivot our feelings around these difficult and different times, convincing ourselves that we couldn’t even muster enough strength to raise a “Hallelujah” let alone raise the battle cry.
But this is where our enemy prowls around like a lion on the battlefield, looking for every opportunity to take out the weary, disheartened soldier who feels as though their emotional fatigue has not only locked them down physically but emotionally too. Satan circles around the ranks of believers, figuring out his next move as we focus more on fighting the ‘not-so-good’ fight of our struggles, our high expectations, and our shortcomings than actually focusing on fighting the ‘good’ fight.
Perhaps this is how John S.B. Monsell felt when he penned the lyrics to the hymn, ‘Fight The Good Fight’ in 1863? His inspiration came from the scripture of 1 Timothy 6:12, ‘Fight the good fight of the faith [in the conflict with evil]; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and [for which] you made the good confession [of faith] in the presence of many witnesses.’ (Amplified Bible)
Here, I’ll let you read the lyrics to this old hymn for yourself.
Fight the good fight with all thy might!
Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right;
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy Joy and crown eternally.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.
Cast care aside, lean on thy Guide;
His boundless mercy will provide;
Trust, and thy trusting soul shall prove
Christ is it life, and Christ its love.
Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear;
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.
When you read these lyrics, you can just feel Monsell’s struggles and weariness as he writes about running the straight race, casting cares aside and not to faint nor fear. He’s been on the battlefield, fighting the good fight, not giving up or giving in even when he senses his faith is fatigued and his soul needs sleep. Through the hymn, Monsell points out that everything we need to fight the good fight is all found in Jesus.
But how do we keep our strength up in challenging times and continue to fight the good fight?
Psalm 103:1-5 reminds us to praise God. ‘O my soul, come, praise the Eternal with all that is in me – body, emotions, mind, and will – every part of who I am – praise His holy name. O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done. Despite all your many offences, He forgives and releases you. More than any doctor, He heals your diseases. He reaches deep into the pit to deliver you from death. He crowns you with unfailing love and compassion like a king. When your soul is famished and withering, He fills you with good and beautiful things, satisfying you as long as you live. He makes you strong like an eagle, restoring your youth.’
So, over this holiday season, if like me, you’re finding that you’re feeling a little weary in doing good, I do hope you’ll take a break, a breather to reset, realign and regroup your faith. But please, for heaven’s sake, after some rest, don’t stop, don’t give up or give in, keep on fighting the good fight, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus because this broken, busted up world requires a company of steadfast warriors who will keep on ploughing the field, keep on planting seeds into the soil to see the harvest come!
Have you felt weary in doing good throughout 2021?
I pray that today you will find rest for your weary soul in the sweet presence of God, and I pray for newness in the joy and strength of Jesus as you cast all your care onto Him and fight the good fight by sowing into the soil ready to see a harvest in the next season.