1 Timothy 6:11-12
But you, as a man of God, flee from these things; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you testified so well to your faith before many witnesses.
What is the good fight of faith? This question is the foundation of our walk with God. Everyday I wake up to a fight. One that the promise of God to me is that He has provided the victorious walk of Yeshua (Jesus), in exchange for mine. He gave His Son so that I may live. In the general sense, that death may never have the victory, no final breath for me! But in the broadest of terms, everyday a life-giving replacement of thoughts and deeds has been given in exchange for what my flesh shall resume in death at the rise of my consciousness from sleeping to waking, the dawn of a new day in the good fight of faith.
One of the greatest gifts God has given me is the wisdom and discernment of what that good fight “looks like”. It’s practical application to every minute of my walk and testimony of faith. Repentence is an exchange. I give my evil deeds in exchange He gives me deeds to produce life. Repentance is a life long exchange. It always starts in the mind, where evil deeds begin as lies, and root words, if you will, that produce the weeds of the actions. Not all the lies are persay untrue. Example: my thoughts of complaint about this or that may be valid (based on a truthful assessment) ie: “Life is so hard, that person is so difficult, this pain is so bad,” etc. These thoughts are not persay untrue. People can be difficult, life is hard, pain is hard to ignore. What developed from these thoughts is the need to express them in the form of complaint for me. The attitude of complaint turns true things into lies by saying that they are worthy of complaint, God is no longer in control, good can not be had in this or that or them, etc. What we give voice to states what we believe is true. We as a people are professional complainers! Almost everything we complain about has truth to it. How then do we fight the good fight with the tendency to complain (groan, mumble)? We must exchange at the thought level complaint for praise. It’s being transformed by the renewing of the mind that Paul talks about in Romans 12:2. So the thought begins with “that person is so difficult” and the great exchange is: I give that thought to God and ask Him to replace it with praise, in turn I take the outward and inward action of thanking God for that person and His work in them instead. It literally is the power of the Holy Spirit we are given to do such an exchange. If one is tempted to take something from someone, the exchange is to give something to them instead. We can take all sorts of things from people and not realize it. Their time, their resources, their energy, their hope, their encouragement, their courage, their trust, and the list can go on. To complain out loud to someone can take many of these all at once. It’s essentially how we bring one down rather than lift one up. Often the good fight in these cases ends and begins only in the mind. Where complaint gets exchanged for the praise of God in every situation. Often its there where the deeds or actions of evil are reverted or avoided. No one sees this place but God, the hidden fight is within. Sometimes this is why we don’t do it. We like to be seen, even if we need to repent. It’s a mystery for sure, but not mysterious. Hence why we so often do the things we don’t want to do and don’t do the things we want. All sin has its source at self display; the need for us to be seen, acknowledged, praised, felt sorry for, even encouraged in a not so encouraging way. This is why the Scripture repeatedly from beginning to end says to “give thanks to God for everything at all times. For if God is the pursuit of display, our goal for WHO gets seen, then our-selves are exchanged for Him.
So we exchange every untrue, unworthy, unholy, unwise thing for His truth, His holiness, His wisdom, His worthiness. It starts first in the mind, but without taking action on the exchange it becomes fruitless. I stayed stuck at the exchange in my mind for years and wondered why I never seemed to change outwardly. It’s a wonderful thing to go from complaint in the mind to praise to God, no doubt. But the fruit must be produced. When I have a judgemental thought towards someone I know, in my mind, I praise God for them and His work in them that I can’t see at the moment (faith), but the Spirit gives fruit, and this is when I send that person an encouraging text (action) as a result of the exchange in my mind. (Now many will wonder how many times their text messages of encouragement was a result of a judgemental thought!) But, so what? The fruit of my good-fight walk with Almighty God is the point of praise, I never deserved praise in the first place!
The same especially applies to truth, if I’m tempted to lie, I act on truth. If I’m tempted to be unforgiving, I act on grace and mercy. If I’m tempted to be impatient and unkind, I act on kindness and perseverance. When I’m tempted to react with frustration and anger, I act on the steadfast love of God for me. All of these things start with the good fight inside my head, where I exchange my thoughts for His. The experience of victory is found in the action that I take as a result of the battle that gets won in my mind. Every time I have a thought of complaint, it’s my goal (and first and foremost God’s goal for me) to exchange the complaint for praise of Him, then for the proof of its existence I act on the praises of my God. I watch myself transform into a doer of the Word, not just a mere hearer.
Often complaint is towards circumstances, so the action is then to move into them with praise and thanksgiving, steadfast effort into the hope that God is working good in them, faithfulness to His efforts, His results, not mine. I take action on these instead of complain. Again, no one sees this process, but God. Hence the Scripture that says “the God who sees what you do in secret will reward you, in secret. Not hush hush, secret, but inside where peace is formed into formidable action and rest of soul. Where we cease our striving, and can be still and know that He is God – really know, faith becomes reality.
All faith must be exercised in action or it becomes a system of our own perceptions of God instead of who God really is. It’s not about works, it’s about The Worker, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. The One who provided this Great Exchange-Market of our flesh for His heart. Without Yeshua we have no access to this “market place”. The currency of the Kingdom is the Spirit that changes us from within and makes it evident outwardly as a testimony of God’s goodness to the world around us. We are witnesses to God’s transforming power in us as well as those He directs their attention to us as we learn and grow in Him. We are never to display the work of God, that’s not our job, that’s His. We are to fight this good fight and allow the process of our transformation to become a beacon of light in a dark world. He directs the light as He wills, but His direction for our attention is ever upward. For us to become aware of the light He makes us is and can be a sign that we have lost the place of exchange. For we are never light without His goodness replacing our garbage first.
It’s a Great Exchange to walk with a Holy God, whose thoughts and ways are so different than ours. The process of this invades every little part of our living, breathing, waking moments in this life. There is no place where the good fight does not take place in us. No where we can relax and say “I’ve got this.”. We never had it in the first place, we’ll never gain it to take ownership of it ourselves. The only thing that comes close, is that God gave it to us in the first place. We take hold of it, as a piece of armor, but never does it originate from us, ownership is His and His alone, always.
Now, to the One who can keep you from falling and set you without defect and full of joy in the presence of His glory – to God alone, or Deliverer, through Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord – be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
May the God of shalom (peace) make you completely holy – may your entire spirit, soul and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. The One calling you is faithful, and He will do it.
Be of good courage, take heart, the transformation of your whole being is assured and completely possible, thanks be to God. The good fight is where we are given eyes to see, a heart to understand, and turn to God. Every single battle is glowing with victory because He who is within you is greater! He can give us, in exchange for our inglorious thoughts and ways, a glorious mind and spirit and body. We are not doomed to failure, but to faithfulness! Enter the Great Exchange, and see the Kingdom of God within you!
♡ Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ♡