Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Struggle for Growth (1 Timothy 6:11-21)

"Fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12a).

During the next 12 studies we will discuss how to develop a Christian character. Psalm 119 tells us, “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless.” How can a Christian reach that point? What kind of battles lie in wait along the way? What defenses do we have against the enemies of Christ? We must first realize that the Christian life is an uphill battle, a dangerous journey, an arduous race. While many realize this intellectually, they seem surprised and overwhelmed when trials and temptations stand in their way. They become disillusioned and discouraged when they see remaining sin in their lives. While we certainly should not embrace sin, we should not become unglued when we see it. Jesus tells us to take heart, for “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The first requirement to develop Christian character is to become a Christian. This is so simple, yet we often expect Christian behavior from those who have not even made a profession of faith. A person must be emptied of all self-righteousness and humbled before the Cross before he can begin his journey toward heaven. He must embrace Christ as Savior and Lord before he can step onto the right path. The person who is regenerated, who has been given the faith to turn to Christ, will persevere in his journey despite the many struggles he encounters along the way.

The Christian battle is extremely difficult because it is waged on three fronts: against the world, the flesh (sin nature), and the devil. We have already examined these enemies of the Christian in previous studies, but it is helpful to be reminded to keep your guard up against all three at all times.

Be encouraged for God has given you sufficient grace to overcome, and He has given you healing grace when you fail. Remember that you are in Christ, that He has already overcome all your enemies and He will keep you until the day of glory. Every Christian is blessed with the indwelling Spirit, who comforts us and fills us with courage in the fight. Christians also have various means of grace to assist them in the battle: the Scriptures, prayer, faith, hope, support in the body of Christ, the sacraments. Use these weapons in your battle and do not neglect them as you fight the good fight.

Think about the various spiritual struggles you have had this week. Write them down. Using a concordance, look up Scripture verses that deal with these subjects (for example, marriage—Eph.5). Commit these struggles to the Lord, confessing areas in which you have sinned.