The Good Fight!

I recently shared an important message with the ministers who attended our Ministerial Leadership Conference, and I want to include you in the same conversation. I Timothy 6:12 tells us that we need to fight the good fight of faith, and leaders are frontrunners in that battle. I’ve participated in the fight for many years, and I have some valuable insights for you about what the fight of faith entails.
 
Winning the Fight Begins with Contentment
The context of the statement in 1 Timothy 6:12 begins several verses earlier. 
 
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment; let us be there with content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (1 Timothy 6:6-11)
 
Godliness is holiness. Holiness is not about whether women wear makeup or cut their hair; it is living according to the Word of God. Contentment means being satisfied. Winning the fight of faith begins with being content about living according to God’s Word.
 
As a ministry leader, you need to come to the place where you are satisfied. Some people mistakenly believe that they will be content when their ministry is a certain size or when their bank account holds a large sum of money. However, if you can’t be content today, in whatever situation you’re in, you’ll never be content.  I’ve known people who had millions of dollars and others who didn’t have a dime; both types of individuals always wanted more!
 
It’s About Attitude and Focus
God is not opposed to financial wealth; it is not wrong to continually try to improve yourself, your ministry, or your ability to be generous. Scripture is clear that God wants to bless His children financially. Proverbs 10:22 tells us, The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. However, your focus should not be on becoming rich. It should be on one thing- what does God want you to do? Your attitude should be the same as the Apostle Paul’s.
 
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me. (Philippians 4:13)
 
Paul was effective as a soldier in the good fight of faith because he had his focus on God’s plans and purposes. Paul’s attitude was, “Whether I’m on the mountaintop or way down in the valley, I can do all things through the anointing. My strength comes from the Holy Spirit within me, not from my status in the world; I am led by the Holy Spirit, not by the size of the offering.”
 
Why the Love of Money is the Root of all Evil
The love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10) because when people love money, it supersedes their love for God and the desire to do His will. The Lord may want you to take a job that pays less than you’re currently making. If you are looking solely at the bottom line of your checking or savings account, you will pass up that opportunity and miss God! Some people decide where to go to college, what kind of career to pursue, even whom they will marry based on an inordinate desire for money. These people don’t pause and ask God about where they should live, what college to attend, what job to take, or whom their spouse should be. The love of money often restricts people from following God fully.
 
When people make decisions based on temporary fleshly things, they become worthless for the kingdom of God. They won’t be in the right place doing the things God wants them to do; they won’t be following God’s plan or building His kingdom. 1 Timothy 6:10 says that those who love money have erred from the faith. That means they have been led astray and led away from trust, confidence, belief, assurance, and reliance on God. The verse continues, and pierced themselves with many arrows. In other words, they have taken the sword to themselves; the enemy didn’t even have to lift a finger in that battle.
 
The Real Fight of Faith
Fighting the good fight of faith is about two things. First, it’s about the decisions you make and the basis on which you make them. Second, it is the willingness to endure whatever comes your way when you make your decisions based solely on God’s direction.
 
When you fight the good fight of faith, you stay on the front line regardless of your comfort or discomfort. You follow your Commanding Officer to the highest mountains or the lowest valleys without questioning His ability to take care of you. You don’t seek status or money, but righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness (1 Timothy 6:11).
 
When you fight the good fight of faith, you lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed [acknowledged] a good [beautiful, best] profession [acknowledgment] before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
 
Laying hold of eternal life means that you grab the things that last forever. You won’t take your house, car, jewelry, or bank account with you to heaven. Let go of carnal things and hold onto eternal things-what God has called you to do.
 
Paul said that there were many witnesses to the good fight of faith. In other words, this is not a private fight. People are watching and listening to what you do and say. Your declaration, backed by action, should be, “My God is the One who tells me what to do. I care about what He thinks more than I care about what man thinks. My God is the One who supplies whatever I need. He is the One who puts me in position, provides protection, and keeps me safe. I am not ashamed. I will never back off, back up, or back away from the good fight of faith.”
 
In it to Win it
Keep your focus on what God has called you to do! Don’t get misled by status, money, fame, or the size of your bank account, congregations, or offerings. I’m on the front lines of the fight of faith, and I’m in it to win it. I pray that you are as well!

This article is written by Bishop Keith A. Butler