Some fight songs are best done with a loud brass band, a bouncing mascot with a big grin and cheerleaders with bright pom poms. This fight song is on the other end — quiet, sober, and reassuring. The text and tune were written in England about 160 years ago by two men, one from Scotland, the other from Jamaica. Please give it a sing-along listen, then let’s talk about the good fight.
The Good Fight
“The good fight” shows up in letters Paul wrote to Timothy:
“Fight the good fight of the faith…” and “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith…”
What “good fight” is Paul speaking of? A simple description might be, “to faithfully continue doing the works we were created in Christ Jesus to do as long as we draw breath.”
What is the purpose of the fight? For that answer, let’s look at Jesus Christ. It says in 1 John, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
When are we done with our part of the good fight? For us in this life, it seems we are in it until we draw our last breath. Look at how Paul explained it to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.”
Because we want to be like Jesus and like Paul, we want to see ourselves in those words Paul spoke to Timothy.
How to fight the good fight
Paul told the Ephesians, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, …”
Are we alone in the fight? Not at all. Isaiah passed along this from the Lord: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Do we have what it takes? In 1 John we get this answer: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
Heart and attitude
Jude wrote, “It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
In the good fight we are to contend for the faith — earnestly — and with a good heart and attitude.
- Colossians: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,…” (Salt means we speak the truth. We are told to speak truth with grace and with love.)
- Romans: “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
- Proverbs: “A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.”
Though we are not instructed — or required — to fight with a grin, we are instructed to remember our place and remember our purpose. We want to destroy works of the devil AND we want to win people for the Lord. Consider Jude’s words: “But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”
They’ll know us by our love, not by how cleverly we troll. The Lord keeps score.
Remember the long game, faithfulness and rewards
Let’s remember Paul’s words:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing.”
These are days to fight earnestly for what is right. God knows what the right fight is. As we draw close to Him we can receive from Him clarity — and might — to fight the good fight.
God bless you lots!
— Dale R.
LYRICS: Fight The Good Fight
Text: John S. B. Monsell (1863)
Tune: William Boyd (1864)
1 Fight the good fight with all your might,
Christ is your strength and Christ your right.
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Your joy and crown eternally.
2 Run the straight race through God’s good grace;
Lift up your eyes, and seek His face.
Life with its way before us lies;
Christ is the path and Christ the prize.
3 Cast care aside, lean on your guide;
His boundless mercy will provide.
Let your heart trust the Lord above
Christ is your life, your strength and love.
4 Faint not, nor fear, his arms are near;
He changes not, and you are dear.
Only believe, and you will see
That Christ is Lord eternally.
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