Last week, I wrote a blog post about righteousness and the fact that you do not have to earn or maintain your righteousness. Righteousness comes by faith and cannot be earned by works.
This week I am writing a post about how to fight the good fight of faith and maintain your belief that you are righteous before God.
The good fight of faith
The biggest battle that we will ever fight is not against Satan or demons or even other people. The enemy is already defeated and is not worth trying to fight. Other people may persecute or curse at you, but they are the ones that we are called to love. Our war is not against flesh and blood. Our battle is a fight of faith to stay in a place where we believe every loving word that God says about us. By doing this, we actually inadvertently fight both the enemy and his minions in our life.
What does it mean to fight the fight of faith?
Our belief in a good God requires us to believe some things about ourselves. Many times, those things are not easy to believe and are even harder to maintain over a long period of time. The reality is, regardless of how we feel about those truths, they always remain true; we are called to fight to remain in belief.
We find both God and ourselves through his word, not through our circumstances. Truth doesn't change, so our belief is supposed to remain consistent regardless of what happens in our lives. Even if I get a cancer diagnosis, God is still good and is still the healer. Even if I don't have enough money and have bills that I have to pay. God is still for me and is still my provider. No matter what, he is good, kind, loving, and powerful. When circumstances try to show us otherwise there is a fight to stay in truth. The same happens with our own identity. Even if I sin, Romans 4 tells me that righteousness comes by faith and not by works. If I feel alone, faith tells me that God will never leave me nor forsake me.
Faith is required to maintain an accurate picture of ourselves in the face of what life tries to tell us. Things like "I'm saved, loved, known, and valuable", are true about us regardless of how we feel.
What about righteousness?
Righteousness is one of the most important truths that we fight to retain. Without fighting for righteousness, as soon as we sin or feel like we have fallen short, we may be tempted to believe that we are not good enough for God and fall into condemnation.
People are lured away from God by subtle emotions. If I sin and don't deal with it immediately then I may start to distance myself from God slightly. If you continue to let the world and your actions determine who you are, before long, you willl feel distant from God and even start to wonder what went wrong. Our feelings don't determine truth, but they will try to determine the truth you live out. In the absence of truth, there is a vacuum, and any lie that you are predisposed to believe can come flooding in.
How to fight
Our battlefield is the mind and we do our warfare through submission. James 4:7 says "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." If your mind is getting bombarded by lies then begin to submit to what God is saying about you. I like to connect to the Holy Spirit and declare truth about myself and God. It may sound like this:
"Jesus, I thank you that you have made me completely righteous. Righteousness comes by faith, and I trust in you, so I am righteous. You have declared me perfectly acceptable to you.
"When you rose from the grave, I rose with you, and you gave me a new nature and a new heart. I thank you that my heart has changed, and the fact that I feel convicted is evidence that I am no longer the same person. You paid a high price for my life, and you don't pay a high price for trash. I thank you that I have value and you will never change your mind about me."
If you sin and are tempted to believe a lie about yourself—that you are not righteous, loved, or anything else—there is an opportunity to engage with God and his truth.
When I encounter something that tries to take me away from the truth, I start to pray. As I submit to what God says about me, I resist the devil and he flees from me. I resist only to the extent that I submit, and I must have truth to submit to.