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1 Timothy 6:11-12 • Fight the Good Fight

"But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses."
    —1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NASB)

For those of us schooled in the military arts, one of the best strategies when factors aren't perfectly aligned in your favor is to run away. Get out of there. The formal term is "tactical withdrawal", the description of keeping a superior force at bay while you make an organized escape in order to fight from a better position and/or at a better time, preferably one that's most favorable to winning. In this case, Paul is advocating that to "fight the good fight of faith" and win, it's most advisable to run as fast and hard as you can from the pursuit of earthly wealth for the superior attainment of spiritual riches.

I would just offer that if you begin shopping for Christian seminars on wealth-building or financial security, you're probably exhibiting some serious spiritual warning signs that shouldn't go unheeded. Have you noticed that such people become so obsessed with the pursuit of financial blessings that they no longer talk about spiritual qualities like those listed here? I believe if someone to "pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness" with the same fervor as the desire for material blessings, the former would cancel out the latter, don't you?

The most interesting thing to me is how Paul ties up the past, present and future here. The future is connected to the present if we "take hold of the eternal life to which you were called" — by living now as we see ourselves in eternity. The past is connected to the present if we make "the good confession" — by living a visibly changed life now that actively rejects the sinful behaviors of the past. This is embodied in the description of our preent action to "fight the good fight of faith", remembering that "faith" can also be translated "faithfulness".

It all comes down to the question of which thing we're willing to sacrifice and struggle for, which position is going to ultimately win the war for us, the eternal or the temporal?