Keeping the Faith

Among the last words written by the apostle Paul are these:

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

The Abandoned Apostle

   
9 Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me.

The apostle Paul has come close to the end of his life and he knows it. He is about to be martyred. But he has no regrets. He can say that he has fought the good fight, he has finished the race and that he has kept the faith.

If there is such a thing as human achievement, then truly keeping the faith is foremost among these things. We know that without the grace of God we would surely fall. We need God's empowering and divine action to do the will of God. But it is possible to "receive the grace of God in vain" or to "believe in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:2,10). This happens when a person gives up the faith. When they "depart from the faith" (1 Timothy 4:1) and when they do not return. These are the branches who do not abide in the vine (John 15). It seems that Demas, who loved this present world, was one such person. Though he undoubtedly was selected by Paul as a fellow gospel worker, at some point his heart became discouraged and he decided to follow after the things of the world rather than the purposes of God.

Paul talked about having "kept the faith" as if this was a major achievement, along with "finishing the race". I don't think Demas could say the same thing at the end of his life.

It has been said that if God fights ALL our battles for us, there would be no reason for him to ask US to put on the whole armour of God, or take up the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-20).

We are in a battle for faith. Satan is going to fight us.

I am sorry if this doesn't please you: but whether you like it or not, you are in a warfare – a spiritual warfare – and you have a real enemy who wants to KILL YOU. He still wants to get you to renounce the love of God in favor of the love of the world, compromise your soul, and take you to hell to suffer regret, anguish and pain forever. But this enemy – Satan – is not going to be upfront about this. Instead, he works subtly, with deception, with half-truths. He draws your attention to certain things and creates certain suggestions in your mind so that you will get your mind off Christ and His promises.

To resist Satan effectively, and to keep the faith, we must learn to monitor our thoughts and realise when what is playing in our mind is contrary to God. Then we need to take up spiritual weapons and bring these thoughts down.

Thoughts are powerful. What you think about determines your life, character, actions and destiny.

The Bible says: "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is" (Proverbs 23). Paul said that the spriritual weapons God gives us are designed to cast down strongholds and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3,4).

Don't think of "thoughts" as something weak, minor or insignificant. They are super important and if you can control them as a Christian you are on your way to having a powerful and effective walk with God. It is the distracting thoughts we consider that somehow take our minds off Christ and make us vulnerable to discouragement, temptation or fruitlessness. Let's learn then how to fight for a godly thought life.

Chief among our weapons in the Word of God. The Word of God – the Scriptures – can be utilised in a number of different ways to cast down strongholds. We can:

read the Word of God – it will wash us as we read it.

speak the Word of God – this can be done in a number of different ways.

study the Word of God – you need to know what the words there mean

meditate on the Word of God – ponder and reflect deeply on it until its truths move you emotionally

Sing the Word of God as praise to God – praise is a powerful weapon that attracts God and destroys Satan's works

preach the Word of God – dramatically emphasise its truths to your hearers

teach the Word of God – expound it fully so people understand what it means to them

listen to the Word of God – hear what others are understanding from it and just hear what God is saying to you from it

confess the Word of God – personalise the promises of God and make them your own by speaking them out repeatedly until you really believe they are for you

pray the Word of God – use the Word of God to make prayers that you know are in God's will

 

All these things are inter-related but work in different ways. If we truly love God we will find different ways to centre our life and our thoughts around the Word of God. When you speak and declare God's Word, God's declarations, it is really hard to listen to the suggestions of the devil or your flesh at the same time.

Making yourself to focus on the Word of God is a discipline at first, but it results in tremendous blessings and is a key to avoiding major disasters and loss both in this life and in the life to come.

I urge you therefore to seriously take up the Word of God in your life and do as the apostle Paul – not as Demas. Fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith.

 

God bless you.

 

Michael

 

What do YOU think?

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

Comments

  1. barbie49701 says:

    I believe that there is a spiritual warfare going on. This battle happens in the mind. I find in my own personal experinces that it happens with my thoughts. I even end up fighting with the thoughts that enter my head sometimes. However, it does says in James 4:7 if you resist the devil he will flee from you. I believe this. Once I was in a store and I saw this little bracelet I really wanted. However, I didn’t have the money to make the purchase. Something inside me said go ahead and take it. I had never stolen anything ever in my life. So when this thought came into my head I knew where it came from. Also, God said Thou shalt not steal. I said to myself Get behind me satan in Jesus name it is written thou shalt not steal. Then I left the store praising God. My sister was with me but I didn’t share any of this with her. A few days later my sister showed up with the bracelet. She had known how much I liked it and she bought it for me when she got paid. I was blessed because of my faithfulness. I also resisted the temptation and the devil did flee from me. When we take our thoughts and put them in line with the word of God it strengthens us to do and know what is right. When we do good God knows and he will reward us. I loved the bracelet and I was very thankful. I think though the fact that I knew I did something that made God happy was even a greater reward. I felt very confident and peaceful about my decision. We can apply this in our lives every day. When something doesn’t line up with the word then rebuke it and cast it out. The spirit will help us to plant new seeds within the fields of heart and mind. These seeds once they grow and bear fruit are benefitual. We don’t want to give into temptation within our thoughts. If there is something bothering us and we feel it’s very wrong we need to seek help. Ask the Holy Spirit what God says about what we feel is wrong. Learn what God teaches about it. Then rebuke it and cast it out of you to never return. God is so good isn’t he? He left the blue prints for us to build ourselves up and survive like Jesus did in this world. Lay a good foundation, which is knowledge of Jesus. We have to follow his example here on earth. Ya know it talks about how Jesus fasted and was very hungry after 40 days and 40 nights. Then the devil came and tempted him. Satan knows when were at our weakest point. Just like Jesus though we to can resist his temptations and lies. We just have to remember to be faithful in our studies. The more scriptures we know the better protection we have. I exspecially like how this study talks about our weapons against distracting thoughts. We read the word, speak the word, ponder and reflect the word, preach and teach the word, listen to the word, Confess the word, and pray the word. If we don’t know the word we will be lost and fall into sin. John 1:1 says that Jesus is the word. Maybe if were having troubles we should start out seeking the word. Find out what would Jesus have done in the situation. The way to do that is threw our personal study. Time management is very important. Always take time for prayer and study. If you don’t you will be in a world of mess. God didn’t create this world for us to live in a mess. He wants us to be happy and successful. The devil tricked Adam and Eve and brought death. Jesus came and brought life. Death is darkness and Life is light. Studying the word brings you into the light. Studying the scriptures and learning about Jesus will bring you life. Jesus is the light and the truth for us all. Think about it. Good Study loved it.

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