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To declare to be Christian is to equally declare war on the devil. Paul forewarned everybody Christian and whoever intends to be one that to be Christian is to face the devil in battle. Two major things to consider; 1) What the battle is, and 2) How it is to be fought What the battle is The devil is directly confrontational to the will of God. The battle though is not a physical one; it is spiritual (Ephesians 6:12) and is therefore to be governed by a set of rules and regulations. In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul says; ……I have fought a good fight…..What did he mean by calling it a good fight? Let us define it. To be a good fight, it is to be regulated and fought within the confines of the rules of the fight. Conventional wars, sport games and whichever, all are governed by a set of rules and regulations. If you do not fight or play according to the rules, even if you win, your win can’t be counted. Keeping the rules of the game is part of the fight and also part of the victory 1 Corinthians 9:25 It is very important that if we are to be categorized as good fighters, we fight according to the rules and regulations of the game. We are many Christians, but are we Christians according to the stipulations of the Faith? From whom are we taking the instructions? The commander of the army is Jesus. It is therefore not about the fighters, it is about the commander, who is Jesus (2Timothy 2:1-5). Every organization, grouping, religion, Country, whichever it may be is defined by a set of rules and regulations. How is this battle fought? What does it involve? In this battle, there are two things to critically consider; the Possessor and the Possessed. The battle is directed at the possessor not the possessed. The forces of evil aren’t direct; they have to find objects in form of human beings to use. For that, a Christian’s “anger” is not to be directed at the object, but at what possesses the object. The battle is not physical, it is to be spiritual, and the weapons to fight with too are to be spiritual. The battle is not to be fought by violence, not by cursing; it is by having the right mind and therefore attack from a point of righteousness. We are not going to grab pangas, guns, and machetes and fight whoever is not Christian and be aggressive to them. We are to pray and preach to them so they get free of the possessor, the devil. This principle, defines a “good fight”. Our fight is to save and set free. It is blend with love not rivalry. It must have results seen and proven to have saved rather than destroyed, to have transformed a life from death rather than to have gotten one far away from God. But we are also faced with internal personal battles which we also only overcome by spiritual means. The devil attacks by making us enemies to ourselves. The devil uses other persons to attack us, much as he uses ourselves to break us. It is a battle with former self. We are not to hit ourselves hard, it is by declaring our helplessness and thereby submit to the will of God by whose only power and grace we can overcome. We are continually confronted with uncontrolled appetite for sex, riches hunger, power, and faced with diseases and demonic attacks etc. These are not directed at us per se, they are directed at our Faith in God. The devil is already condemned and his only reward is hell. It is a battle to avoid ending there with him. By Paul concluding that he had fought a good fight, it can be viewed in two ways; 1)Paul had not only saved his life, but many other people’s lives through the gospel of love which he had spread by the faith he had in Jesus (1Corinthians 9:19-23). 2) He was assured of the prize of the crown of righteousness because he had lost nothing in the fight. A good spiritual fight saves, brings life, mends, reunites, and it is driven by love. He hadn’t substituted anything else for his love of God. He was therefore assured of the reward of success.
Games in the NAVE’s Topical Bible has this: GAMES Foot races, 1 Cor. 9:24, 26; Gal. 2:2; Phil. 2:16; Heb. 12:1. Gladiatorial, 1 Cor. 4:9; 9:26; 15:32; 2 Timothy 4:7. Figurative Of the Christian life, 1 Cor. 9:24, 26; Gal. 5:7; Phil. 2:16; 3:14; Heb. 12:1. Of a successful ministry, Gal. 2:2; Phil. 2:16. Fighting wild beasts, of spiritual conflict, 1 Cor. 4:9; 9:26; 15:32; 2 Timothy 4:7. Or another view of “fighting the good fight” besides possibly referring to the gladiatorial games is according to SMITH’s Bible Dictionary is a reference to the Isthmian games. “Among the Greeks, the rage for theatrical exhibitions was such that every city of any size possessed its theatre and stadium. At Ephesus, an annual contest was held in honor of Diana. It is probable that St. Paul was present when these games were proceeding. A direct reference to the exhibitions that I took place on such occasions is made in (1 Corinthians 15:32) St. Paul's epistles are replete with allusions to the Greek contests, borrowed probably from the Isthmian games, at which he may well have been present during his first visit to Corinth. These contests, (1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7) were divided into two classes, the pancratium, consisting of boxing and wrestling, and the pentathlon, consisting of leaping, running, quoiting, hurling the spear and wrestling. The competitors, (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 2:5) required a long and severe course of previous training, (1 Timothy 4:8) during which a particular diet was enforced. (1 Corinthians 9:25,27) In the Olympic contests these preparatory exercises extended over a period of ten months, during the last of which they were conducted under the supervision of appointed officers. The contests took place in the presence of a vast multitude of spectators, (Hebrews 12:1) the competitors being the spectacle. (1 Corinthians 4:9; Hebrews 10:33) The games were opened by the proclamation of a herald, (1 Corinthians 9:27) whose office it was to give out the name and country of each candidate, and especially to announce the name of the victor before the assembled multitude. The judge was selected for his spotless integrity; (2 Timothy 4:8) his office was to decide any disputes, (Colossians 3:15) and to give the prize, (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:14) consisting of a crown, (2 Timothy 2:6; 4:8) of leaves of wild olive at the Olympic games, and of pine, or at one period ivy, at the Isthmian games. St. Paul alludes to two only out of the five contests, boxing and running, more frequently to the latter. The Jews had no public games, the great feasts of religion supplying them with anniversary occasions of national gatherings. I think Paul could be referring to both of the above as symbolic of his life as symbolic of fighting for the Right Way, Jesus. [2Ti 4:7] I The Good Fight Have Fought “I the good fight have fought,” O when shall I declare? The victory by my Savior got, I long with Paul to share. O may I triumph so, When all my warfare’s past; And dying, find my latest foe Under my feet at last! Or Wesley's hymn could be noted here: O that each in the day of His coming may say, “I have fought my way through; I have finished the work Thou didst give me to do!” O that each from his Lord may receive the glad word, “Well and faithfully done! Enter into My joy, and sit down on My throne!” “Enter into My joy, and sit down on My throne!” -- Charles Wesley (Come, Let Us Anew Our Journey Pursue) Charles Wesley
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