When faced with crisis, we oftentimes find ourselves conformed to this world, fighting the good fight as the world and its’ circumstances bring the fight to us. When we find ourselves in the grip of fear, doubt, sickness, disease, grief, or any other myriad of trials, what do we find ourselves doing? Are we contending? How are we fighting? Are we simply reacting to the circumstances? Are we always in defensive mode or have we entered with strenuous zeal to defend the Gospel?
2 Timothy 4:7 says “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” This “fight” is used figuratively in the Greek language to mean in the midst of all hindrances we must exert ourselves to the utmost to attain, (not just attempt, but attain) the goal of perfection (not near perfection) set before the followers of Christ. Any struggle with dangers, annoyances, obstacles which stand in the way of faith, holiness, and a desire to spread the gospel have to be fought against.
In 1 Timothy 6:12 we read, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
In order to fight we must enter a contest and then contend with our adversaries. In this context it literally means to contend or struggle with difficulties and dangers antagonistic toward the Gospel. Many things in our daily lives are enemies of the Gospel message.
We must enter the contest with full knowledge of the Gospel and all that it affords us. Salvation includes victory on earth and His will being done on earth as it is in heaven, not just spending eternity with Jesus in heaven The Gospel is Good News which includes healing, freedom, provision, shelter, and so much more. The Gospel does not negate struggles, afflictions, or crises in our lives but equips us to enter the contest knowing we win because Jesus won the victory for us.
Typically, when something negative comes at us, we take up arms and fight with the knowledge and tools we have at hand, and often times those things are carnal and worldly. I believe the Lord would have us take up the proper tools, the Sword and the Spirit, the Word of God and battle on the field of faith.
I received this revelation of taking our battles to the proper field with the proper equipment when my husband and I were facing a physical trial. Fear swept over me one night, ten days away from Mark’s departure for a three week apostolic trip to Papua New Guinea. I took him to the ER thinking he was passing a kidney stone but the x-ray was negative so we were sent to a larger hospital where they did a CT scan to discover a mass was found in his pelvic region.
They got the pain under control and suggested he be admitted until an orthopedic oncologist came in to look at him but Mark’s only concern was going home. We signed out against their recommendation and got ourselves onto the battlefield of faith. Mark was not moved by the news the doctor had just shared though I found myself a bit shaken.
I quickly discovered Mark was contending on the battlefield of faith while I was on the battlefield of fear. He told me it didn’t matter what happened or what we had been told or would be told, God was our Healer, He would take care of this, and we would by faith move this mountain. We made an appointment with our Christian chiropractor, showing him the scan. He couldn’t read the scan but his response was also one of faith. He would not receive or accept there was anything wrong with Mark. I knew right then and there I needed to change battlefields. I needed to join the team on the battlefield of faith, meaning I would need to move myself from fear to faith.
But when I changed battlefields, the fear was left behind on another field and the fight was on. We would not accept anything Satan had come to plant in our minds or bodies. The chiropractor adjusted Mark’s back and the intense pain left his body, including nausea and dizziness from the pain medication. It was discovered a disc in Mark’s back had twisted and come out of place, pinching a nerve when he lifted a motor into a car. The muscles were in spasm to protect the nerve which is what was causing the pain. Back at home, he rested, prayed, and fed himself more with the Word. We never stopped speaking the Word through this entire episode.
While my husband was going through this ordeal fear wanted to overtake me many times. We put out prayer requests and began receiving e-mails and phone calls. People were loving and concerned, but there was also a continuous barrage of “What are you going to do if you find out it is cancer?” When we told people that was not an option, we were told not to be ignorant or in denial but to be realistic. We tried to explain to people of course we weren’t in denial which is why we went to the hospital in the first place, however the facts were not going to overtake the truth. The challenges that came before me only intensified my desire to stand on the Word of God and I found myself getting stronger in faith as I spoke the Word in response to people’s comments rather than giving in to rationalization. But in my alone times, the fear still crept in.
Because we were not ignorant of facts, I was fully aware of what we were facing and taking thoughts captive was not easy. At the time I was working at a grocery store as a cashier so I filled index cards with God’s Word, placing them on my cash register, and repeating them over and over in my spirit even as I checked people out. I had much Scripture memorized but because of the dark cloud of fear and oppression it was difficult for me to pull out what I knew to be truth. Writing it and speaking it gave me the clear sense of what God was speaking not what men were speaking. When I couldn’t be speaking God’s Word, I would try to sing praises to Him in my spirit. If I wasn’t conscious of Jesus constantly, my mind went straight to the most negative scenarios and I would find myself discouraged and hopeless once again. The Spirit of God gave me a new simple healing song to sing to Him during these times of desperation that would keep me focused on Him and the power found only in Him.
We still had the other issue to deal with, the mass in his pelvic region. The oncologist had called and set up an appointment for the end of the week but needed an MRI done before this meeting because he couldn’t diagnose from the CT scan. Throughout this week we prayed only believing prayers, thanking God for what He had already done. Long story short, we refused to believe anything other than what God has been showing us in His Word for over ten years. Mark was healed and that was the only acceptable outcome for this doctor visit. The waiting was the worst of course because that is when you find yourself contending on the field of fear once again. There were times I wondered how I ended up back in fear when just the day before I was in faith. There is an acronym for fear that seems accurate: FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. Remembering this during a crisis helps a person stay on the field of faith! We waited with anticipation that afternoon with two people we barely knew who felt led to stand in faith with us, and our oldest daughter. We spent our time praying and believing the report would be good news. I will not deny fear was right at the doorpost of my mind but I commanded my will and soul to submit to God’s truth. The doctor put the MRI up so we could see it and explained it was an inter-muscular mass that could be re-checked but it should not be a problem. God had confirmed our faith. All was well.
On the battlefield of faith, “truth” completely obliterates facts! The Truth is that Jesus Christ is the SAME, yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. When we truly believe this, we will come to expect Him to do the same things, the same way He did them when He walked the face of this earth. He healed! Period!
Before I continue, I want to say some of you have already stopped reading or hearing what I am speaking into your spirit right now because there is a voice inside reminding you of situations where your outcome or the outcome of someone you loved did not turn out this way. I want to say to you I have heard the same voice and had the same experiences. Not every ordeal I have walked through in life has come out as this one did.
However, in every crisis God was near and teaching me how to face the next one in faith. Going through is not easy and we need discernment. But more than anything we need to seek His face and His direction and simply trust Him believing Him at His Word, contending on the battlefield of faith, not on the battlefield of logic, reason, or fear. We have had several major crises since this one I spoke of, and we were able to rely on what God has taught us in the past to fight smarter and more strategically because we know more about the tactics of the enemy.
When we are on the wrong battlefield, we find ourselves fighting the crisis based on facts or our experience. We collect the facts of what is happening in our crisis and then bring that before the Lord. In a recent battle I faced, we were so passionate about discovering the source to pray more effectively, we sometimes got discouraged. When we focused on seeking God and trusting Him, He gave me a dream revealing how the source was being hidden from me, and how I needed to move past that blockage to discover the cause and receive healing. He gave some people insight into the natural cause of my pain and sickness. He gave others spiritual insight into what was happening to my body. The waiting period was not fun. It was painful, frustrating, and debilitating. It was difficult for everyone involved, not just for me. We must seek the Lord
But one thing we did – we settled in our minds that God heals. My husband says there is no option “B” only option “A”. With only one option, Jesus, persistence comes easily. When we stop trying to make the spiritual and natural work together and instead let God work good, we will see more things in our lives line up with His revealed will by the Word of God. Romans 8:28 reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Love the Lord and all things will work together for good. That is a promise.
When we contend on the battlefield of faith we make no excuses for failure. We just pick ourselves up, speak the Word, and battle according to the Word of God. We do not waste time blaming others, including God when we don’t experience victory. We just get back up, seek God, knowing we will find Him. On the faith field, we don’t say one thing and do another. We are doers of the Word not trying to figure out all the exceptions and come up with our own theologies making us hearers only. We must be proactive in this rather than reactive. We must know our enemy, his tactics, his strategies, his modes of attack, and his character. Some Christians think it is wrong to spend time studying our enemy, suggesting this is giving Satan too much credit. This kind of thinking removes any responsibility we have for fighting the good fight of faith. If we don’t know and understand the fight or whom we are fighting against, we will be ineffective as soldiers.
On the battlefield of faith, we rely wholly on God and His Word which creates faith that conquers all. Romans 10:17 says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Even though we may “hear” natural facts we must understand these facts affect our faith, therefore we must “hear” the Word of God to have faith come forth.
If you find yourself in crisis at this moment, take heart!!! Make sure you are on the right battlefield, the one of faith, and then remember who is fighting with you and for you!!! He will not fail you. You will go through! Seek Jesus above all else. Fall in love all over with Him again. Trust Him with every part of your life. When fear is crouching at your door, let the perfect love of Jesus fill you with His peace which passes understanding. His perfect love casts out all fear! As you continue to contend in faith, victory is assured. He said it! That settles it!