The New Testament appropriately shares six things for which we should agonize and contend, six things that are worth fighting for. Most, if not all these battles take place primarily within our soul. They are not street fights. They are contests decided in our innermost being.
- Jesus gives us the first thing worth fighting for in Luke 13: 24. “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.” Jesus says, there are obstacles that stand against us experiencing the life of God and those obstacles begin with ourselves. Our own mind is prejudiced against this narrow door. We are tempted to believe we are an exception to this command. We can understand that the world or others may be lost, but not us. But, understand this: the greatest obstacle we face in striving to enter in is our own lack of strength and will while thinking we have everything we need.
Jesus warns us not to get involved in the wrong fight. In John 18: 36, Jesus says: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” It is our inclination to fight against the injustices we see and that’s that. Jesus warns us, pick the wrong battle and we prevent Jesus from going to the cross; pick the wrong fight and we would prevent our own salvation.
2. The Apostle Paul introduces us to the next five things for which we fight, beginning with doing battle with ourselves. The Apostle says we undertake this fight so we will not impede the pursuit of the gospel by others through any aspect of our character or self-discipline. But, we fight so after preaching the good news to others, we will not disqualify ourselves. “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9: 25) Our goal is to be approved of God and to pay the price so that others can have free access to the promise and power of the gospel.
3. The third thing over which we agonize and fight is to proclaim Jesus and to present everyone, to borrow a phrase from Jerry Maquire, as a ‘completed’ person in Jesus Christ. “To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1: 29)
4. The fourth fight occurs through prayer as we intercede for those whom we serve to be complete and fully within the will of God. “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” (Colossians 4: 12)
5. We fight so in every event and circumstance of our life faith is victorious. 1 John 5: 4 says, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” The Apostle Paul says, this is a fight worth fighting. “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6: 12) This fight allows me to lay hold of eternal life. It is mine in Jesus’ name.
6. Finally, we fight so the course of our life is set on ‘forward-to-seeing-Jesus’and gaining the crown of righteousness which Jesus gives. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4: 7 – 8)