I wanted to take a one week break in the midst of this series of articles to ask a simple question. That question is this, "Are you fighting?" That may seem like an interesting question to ask - but it is very applicable to the battle of being a godly man. Let me quote a pamphlet with that same title, Are You Fighting? which was written by J. C. Ryle.
"There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday and call themselves Christians . . . but you never see any 'fight' about their religion! Of spiritual strife, and exertion, and conflict, and self-denial, and watching, and warring they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His apostles preached. True Christianity is a 'fight.'"
As we've walked through Psalm 101 we've seen some pretty strong language used. One might even say that this language is the language of conflict - of battle - of war. My answer to this is simple - IT IS! Our fight is perennially one against the flesh, the world, and the devil. These three are our main enemies - and if we are not engaged in a fight with them - we are most likely enslaved by them. One thing the Bible promises to us is that these enemies will not be idle. They are constantly looking for ways to make inroads in our lives. They want to set up beach heads that will serve as launching pads for further incursions into our lives morally and spiritually. What I am trying to say is that if we are not having any "fight" in our religion - we are losing a battle of which we not even aware.
Raging all around us currently is a war currently for the souls of the men of our nation. The main front of that battle is for the menl of the church. But even that front has multiple avenues where we are being attacked. Let me mention a few (and please know that in no way is this seeking to be an exhaustive list).
#1 - Guys . . . are you fighting with your eyes? I know this is a battle that seems to rage everywhere you go. From the grocery store where they put immoral magazines right at the checkout lines (and no I am not referring to Playboy, but to the women's magazines and tabloids in saying this - anyone want to argue with me biblically on this point?) to the television, to movies, to the way that women dress in our society, the battle is raging. But guys, we need to fight with our eyes - by turning them away from lust. Jesus put it this way, "if you right eye makes you stumble - rip it out and throw it from you." That sounds like a fight to me? But are we fighting? May God grant us grace to battle the lust of the eyes daily. I know that it is tough - and that at times we grow weak - but we cannot give in to the immorality of the world - the lust of our own flesh - or the lure of the devil in this. We need to FIGHT!
#2 - Guys . . . are you fighting with your mind? This is closely related to the first - but it is important. What is filling your mind? The world will offer you a smorgesboard of things to fill your mind - and none of them will draw you closer to Christ - or encourage you to walk in His ways. Our flesh will rise up and fight getting into the Word - but do it anyway. With younger men this battle rages through the world of games - both on game consoles and on the internet. The amount of time that is wasted by our young men in this pursuits is monumental. Hours upon hours are spend filling our minds with worthless quests into an electronic world that provides escape from the real world. The frightening part of all this is that these escapes are from reality - and from the real issues of manhood that should be wrestled with at this age. To bring this up, I realize, is to possibly alienate myself from a whole younger generation. But unless someone says something - we are going to either delay an entire generation from becoming real men - or - lose them altogether. We need to fight for our minds.
#3 - Guys . . . are you fighting for your morals? Here is a third area where we are being destroyed by the world, devil , and the flesh. I am speaking about pornography and gratifying our flesh. Recently I went to a sight that helps men get free from these things - and saw that they have had over 320,000 clients come to their site for help. According to their reasoning - this represents about 1 in 10 of the men in the church who struggle with these sins. If that is accurate - we have a problem in our country. There is reason to believe that somewhere in the rage of 3 million men, IN THE CHURCH, have these problems. I am not saying this to make you feel condemned, but rather to call all of us to action. If we are not free - we need to be - as soon as possible. Once we get free - we need to continue to FIGHT - not just for ourselves - but for our brothers in Christ as well.
#4 - Guys . . . are you fighting for your integrity? This goes beyond the battle in our minds - to the battle for our daily actions in our jobs, our homes, our churches, and anywhere else we walk. This is the fight to take what we learn from the Word and make it a part of our lifestyles. Here is the reason why so much is falling apart in our society - a lack of integrity. Every scandal at its core happened because someone somewhere did not maintain their integrity. When you multiply that times over 350 million Americans - you are going to have serious problems. Are you willing to fight for integrity - even when your competitor does not? Are you and I willing to trust the Lord to prosper and keep us afloat - even if we do not cut corners and "cook the books" for our benefit? The worst crisis we face as a nation is not financial. Our worst problems are not healthcare, jobs, or security. Our key crisis is one of integrity. Without men of integrity our nation will not continue to stand. Will you be one of the first to embrace God's call to integrity - and fight for it even though many other men around you will not?
These are just four areas where the battle rages - or should be raging. What is sad is that many shun the fight. They just want a comfortable life - one without difficulties or the struggles it takes to "fight the good fight of faith" the Bible presents to us. But as long as we remain on a fallen earth - filled with fallen people - who do fallen things - and who promote fallen lifestyles - there is going to be a fight. So hear me brothers as I seek to encourage you today!
Brothers in Christ . . . we are called to be MEN OF GOD! We are called out of this present darkness into His glorious light to embrace the conflict that WILL begin the moment we are saved. We are not perfect - but we are in the process where God is perfecting us! We are not sinless - but oh how we are called to both hate and battle sin in our lives. We are called to put on the armor of God - daily putting each piece on so that we can stand - and after we have fought to the last ounce of strength which God provides - to keep on standing! We cannot afford to quit! We cannot afford to be lazy and undisciplined! We fight for our families! We fight for our children - esepecially our sons, who are watching and begging us to be men they can follow! We fight for the church - the bride of our Lord - the pillar of truth - and the manifestation of God's grace - and the place where the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ should shine forth the brightest!
But in this hour, my blessed brothers, we are fighting for our lives! The devil and his world system feel they are on the brink of victory. They flex their muscles through the media and government thinking that they will win the day. We face onslaught after onslaught - attack after attack - and battle after battle. They fight us personally in our minds - relationally in our homes and churches - and morally in our national discourse. But like those who have stood in what seemed like impossible battles - we stand. Like the 300 Spartans who stood alone against the invaders who landed on their shores - we stand against hordes of those who fight against our God and against His Word. But know this, brothers, we will stand. We will stand upon the Word of God that has faced countless attacks and yet stands firm as the revelation of God. We will stand upon the grace of God in the gospel that has won millions upon millions in every generation - under every form of government - in every trial - and under every type of oppression. Finally, we will stand with our Lord Jesus Christ - Who has vanquished sin, death, and hell by His cross. Who has stood strong against the attack of every false prophet, every false philosophy, every false religion, and every falsehood the devil has thrown at Him. We will stand in Him knowing that He has won the victory - not just at the end of the age - but He has won the victory in every generation. Now is not the time for us to faint. Now is the time for us to FIGHT!
Most of these articles are taken from the Calvary Courier, a weekly newsletter that is sent to the folks who attend Calvary Chapel Jonesboro. Due to the response to these articles, we've decided to print some of them which proved to be very helpful to God's people at the fellowship.
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