Fight the Good Fight :: By John Lysaught

Life can be wearing. Not about God of course, but of being surrounded by everything opposite of God. I can’t seem to get a break; and if I’m feeling this, then I know you are too. Everything around us is either anti-Christian or working towards it. Even in my little place in this world, I feel it and I feel it is getting worse.

In a way, I feel tired. It tires me out to see the world in disarray. I mean, I don’t stress about it because it must happen, but it still wears me out. There is just a feeling of impending negative pressure to be a Christian now. I can’t explain it or put my finger on a specific example, but it is there; and I think you know what I mean.

I feel we are a dying breed in this world. Christians are being wiped out in the Middle East, they’re being put to the side for Muslims in Europe, and I feel that same fate is coming home to us here in the U.S. It seems like it is going to be death-by-a-thousand-cuts kind of thing. I just pray we are home with Jesus by this point. Though it makes me wonder how bad things will get before we are taken up or how much we have to endure before then.

I’m not greatly schooled in prophecy, but rely on you other smart people for that; but I do wonder how bad it will get, really get before Jesus comes to get us. How much can we endure? How persecuted must the Church (not just the U.S.) face before we go home? It troubles me. It troubles me to think of whether what is happening to Christians in the Middle East will happen to us – maybe not physically, but being politically murdered instead.

1 Timothy 6:12 “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.”

Fighting the good fight is tiring. If you’ve ever done sports or have been in the military, going beyond what you are used to, or being pushed to the limits is so tiring. When this happens, you just want to stop, but you can’t because others may be relying on you to do your part. This is what we need to do for our faith – fight the good fight.

I remember once, as a police officer, I was in a fight along with my partner against some gang members. We were outnumbered six to two. As tired and exhausted and stressed as I was, I could not stop because my life and my partner’s life depended on it. As tired as I get with being in this fight for our faith, I can’t give up either because the eternity of others is at stake. If I give up the fight, how will I be an example to others or do the work of God for others. We all need to hold strong, no matter how tired we feel from the evil that confronts us.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

There is no doubt that the enemy is working overtime in our era. He thinks things are aligning for his victory, but we all know that is a farce – he has already lost the war. The battles are what we face each day though.

Recently, I have seen, in political circles, that the name Jesus is being invoked to further their agenda.  With the immigration debate, I saw a post on a social media site that said “what would Jesus do” about the border wall and how Jesus would be against it. I was taken aback by this. I answered the post with an evangelistic response with hopes it would at least touch a few people who saw it.

Our job is to not fight against people, but the evil that they believe and the lies put out by Satan through men. We should not fight evil with evil, but we need to fight evil with love and truth. There are many people who have been so blinded by the enemy that they can’t see past their noses. This is fighting the good fight, and we need to do so to the very end. We need to do our best, through love and compassion, to take the blinders off those deceived so they can see the true light of Jesus and the promises of His saving grace.

Is this easy? Nope, it sure isn’t. We live in a politically charged time that is greatly opposed to the truth of God. They believe in anything but God and do their best to silence us through the justice system and society. What are we to do? Stay silent? Bow down to those who detest us? NO! We must stand and be strong in our faith and beliefs.

1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

We are not alone in this world in our battle with Satan. There are countless others facing the same or worse than us here in the U.S. We all hold tight to the Truth of God, regardless of where we are from. We are all bound by the same faith and hope in Christ. We cannot shelter in place and hide in the shadows of the world. We need to spread the Word and the love of Jesus to the world.

Personally, I get a sense that there are a lot of folks who hide their faith from others for fear of offending others or being attacked by others who don’t believe or know the truth as we do. We can post memes on social media to proclaim our faith or put bumper stickers on our cars, but what about face-to-face with others? How can we fight ignorance if we are unwilling to give truth to others?

Once, a fellow church member of mine told me that he spreads the word of God through his example of living a good Christian life and that this was good enough for evangelism. Shoot, there are many unbelievers that live good lives too. Where are the interpersonal interactions with others? How many opportunities have we all missed to insert the love and truth of God into the conversation?

Opportunities abound to share the hope of Christ to others. I’ve missed them only to beat myself up afterwards because I didn’t think I could be a good spokesman for God. My boldness in Christ was weakened because of a lack of self-confidence, not in God, but in myself. These moments missed are regretful, but I can only work to do better next time and let the Holy Spirit speak through me to others.

How do we fight the good fight? Through constant prayer and study of the Word. A soldier can fight without training but will not be effective without training. For us to be effective, we must train. We train through study of the Word and through prayer. When we do this, we are strong in our faith, and our confidence will be greater.

Fighting the good fight is difficult. We live in trying times, and the fight will not end until we go home.  Through the Word and through prayer, we can help open the eyes of others for the Kingdom of God.  Don’t hide in the shadows but live boldly and proudly for Christ. There will be resistance, and you will face hate; but there will be those who respond, and they will see the light and will respond to the calling of our Father.

Apostasy :: By John Lysaught

1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV) says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” How very true this is today in our time in history.  People are falling for lies, and because so, are departing from the true faith of Jesus and the ways of living and having faith in Him.

Each day brings a new blow towards the Christian faith.  Laws, justice, and society are all pointing to the destruction of our faith and marginalizing those of the faith.  Schools spout out lies in education and doctrine of other religions but are despondent towards even touching the subject of Jesus.  Our children are being indoctrinated with teachings that are contrary to the precepts of the Bible.  Everything other than Bible teachings are espoused to children, but our faith is left out because the truth of the Word and the truth of Christ are not in line with the godless goals of society.

Humanism is the name of the game now.  Self is more important, and whatever people want to believe is truth is truth to them, except Christ of course.  Want to be a girl if you’re a boy?  Good.  Want to be gay?  Fine.  Want to follow Islam?  Great.  Want to be a Christian?  Well, this is bad and should not be tolerated.  Everything against the Word of God is tolerated and considered right, but want to follow Jesus? This idea is thwarted through the justice system and social “norms.”  People are taught that to be a Christian is to be intolerant, old-fashioned, and just plain wrong!  How sad it is that people believe and follow this way of thinking.

Some churches are scared to address this apostasy, and some are conforming to what society says is okay, even if it is against what the Bible teaches.  Watered-down sermons and feel-good messages are normal now.  No one wants to offend anyone.  Those that preach tough messages at churches turn people off, and they are drawn to apostasy of faith and run to the world for comfort.

Churches seem more inclined to draw people to them by the means of entertainment through good music and lighthearted messages instead of the truth.  They do this to increase numbers, but not necessarily to save souls.  When the hard truth is taught about having to have Christ as a prerequisite to enter the Kingdom of God or going to Hell without faith in Christ, some people are turned off by this and don’t come back to that church. They instead search out a church that gives them a good feeling about themselves and skirts around the truths given to us in the Word.

Why?  Why does this happen?  Are we so scared of the world that we hide in the shadows of society now?  Are we so programmed that our faith is only about feeling good about how we are living?  I have an opinion though, and it is that we fear society’s reaction to us.  We are so fearful of sharing or defending our faith because of negative repercussions from the world that when we are faced with a situation that requires our faith in action, we shrink back out of fear.

Now, don’t get me wrong; there are many that are opposite of what I said above, and they are superstars in my eyes for the fight of our faith.  But… are the many the few?  Do we tend to rely on those few to stand up for us many?  I think so.  We may rally behind them at church or in small groups at home, but when we are on our own out in the world, what do we do?  Do we hold on to the zeal we had or do we conform or ignore the urging of the Holy Spirit to stand for faith?  This is for you to answer for yourself, not me.

God does not want us to fall away in apostasy.  He wants us strong in the faith.  He wants us to live for Him in every facet of our lives.  One of my favorite verses is Galatians 2:20 which says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

If Christ lives in me and I live by the faith of Christ, I should not fall away from Him because He has a hold on me.  Yes, I can choose to turn away from Him, but I won’t.  Others do; and that is sorrowful, but that is their choice to not respond to the calling of Christ in their hearts and walk away from Him.

I often wonder why people leave the faith.  Do they think it is hard?  Well, it isn’t.  Following Jesus is freedom from the burdens of the world and the ever-changing ways of the world.  Is it trust in God?  Do some not trust that the Word of God is from God?  I think that may be part of it.  But I think the biggest and most prevalent reason people turn from God after they come to Him is because they don’t want to give up self.  They are too selfish to give themselves to Jesus.  Why? Apostasy.

I believe society, as directed and influenced by Satan, is all about self and pleasing ourselves.  I just look around, and all I see is a society that puts forth ideas that are aimed at self-gratification.  People are indoctrinated to believe that they are the most important person in their own lives.  They exert their efforts to gain for self at the expense of serving God.  Yet, God requires differently from us.  He wants us to give up self for Him, to live our lives for Him and not for self.

Jesus doesn’t teach us to live for ourselves.  He doesn’t say to not be content with our lives or our place in life.  He doesn’t tell us we are the center of our own universe.  He teaches to love God with our hearts, souls, and minds and to treat others as we want to be treated.  This is too hard for some to swallow.  They are so wrapped up in themselves that they can’t see past their own wants and desires. Their 401K is more important than living for God. Their personal time is more important than time spent living and working for God to serve others or the Church.

Look, I don’t mean to sound preachy.  This is not my intent.  My point is that apostasy is a growing concern with God’s people.  We are living in the end times, and it is important – so important that we guard ourselves against the evil and wickedness in our world.  Not only that, but we must protect our hearts and minds against the influence and will of the apostate society we live in.

Matthew 10:22 says, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” It is up to us believers to hold strong with God.  We are not to hide in the crevices of life or society, but we must stand up to evil and disarray.

Will we be marginalized, lose friends, and possibly jobs or family members for our stance and strength we hold in Jesus? Yes, yes, we will.  We will be persecuted and sought after to be destroyed by society and individuals’ hostility to the truth of God.  It is difficult and will get harder. The world is unwinding and spiraling downward as it is written will happen.

Endure, my brothers and sisters. We are in battle for our souls and the souls of others.