"Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses."
FIGHT, LAY HOLD, CONFESS. If you're going to make it, you're going to have to be a fighter. Fight the good fight of faith. This is a faith fighter. It's not a physical fight; it's not a fist fight. It's a faith fight.
Do you know how to fight with your faith? And if the doctor's have told you that you've got to die, then I'm telling you that you've got to fight to live. If you've got symptoms in your body, if you've got a disease in your body - heart problems, cancer, tumors, whatever - makes no difference what it is that's threatening your life, you're going to have to FIGHT against it.
But it's not a natural fight. You can fight the wrong way and fail. You've got to FIGHT the good fight of faith, and you've got to LAY HOLD of what God's given you.
Part of eternal life is the manifestation of healing in THIS life. See, eternal life doesn't just mean life goes on and on without end. It includes that thought, but it is a quality of life. Eternal life is the God kind of life; life that God has; life that God is. You know the Bible teaches that the ungodly are also going to exist forever and ever. But they are not going to be enjoying the God quality of life. And one does not begin to enjoy that quality life until they're born-again.
But then, have you enjoyed any of that God quality of life since you've been born-again? Certainly. The peace, the love, the strength, and the Bible talks about the Lord quickening our mortal bodies - that's foretaste of the resurrection power later to come. It's a manifestation of eternal God kind of life.
But did you notice that you've got to LAY HOLD of this? Doesn't say that it just falls on you automatically. You've got to what? LAY HOLD. Now, we might not say that language today. We might say you've got to grab it; you've got to fasten on to it; you've got to take it.
"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."
You know that word "receive" literally means "TAKE". Believe that you receive or take it. Take it. Take it. Take it.
Fight the good fight of faith. Take it. Lay hold of it. Get it. Grab it. Sink your teeth into it. Wrap your hands around it. Pull it to you. Entwine your fingers. Cross your legs. Tie yourself to it with a rope. Handcuff yourself to it. Get it!
Now, see some of you may have that mentality, but a lot of people don't have that mentality. Many many people do not. They have this attitude of "whatever will be, will be" - in other words, "it's not up to us." So if you don't believe something is yours, if you believe it's not up to you...are you going to fight for it? No. You don't believe it's up to you at all.
This is VERY important. 1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Why do we have to fight? Because you have an adversary. How many of you don't have to fight if you don't have anybody to fight? Right? Nothing to fight.
But you got to fight. He said you have to FIGHT the good fight of faith. That's how you do it. It's not a natural fight. I Peter 5:8 says to be sober; to vigilant; wake up; watch; stay clear; stay alert; stay sharp. If you drift around in la la land, wander about it and play with it...the devil will eat your lunch. Right?
Be sober; be vigilant; be on the watch; be sharp; be on your guard. Why? Because your adversary - the devil. Did you know you have an adversary?
I have had people say to me,
"Now, Brother Keith, I'm just not a fighter. I'm just a peaceful person. And I just don't like the concept of fighting. I just don't. I'm sorry, but I just trust in the Lord and I'm just leaving things up to Him."
So, that person is defeated. Right NOW! Before they ever take another step, they're history! They are defeated. I know that people have their own opinons and mentalities about things, and there's a lot of people that think we as Americans if we were really Christians, we shouldn't have a gun or a tank or an airplane - but did you know if we didn't by dark there would be another flag flying over the Capitol? Why? Because we have adversaries. And a lot that our adversaries understand is a gun. Now, that's sad. But how many of you know we're not living in the millennium yet? I'm using this as a point we have with adversaries. If they think we are weak; they think we won't fight - then they will come possess us. And we could lose our right to worship, pray, carry our Bibles. You understand? Many a man, many a woman have shed their blood so we can stand here today. They FOUGHT! I said they FOUGHT! Mortal combat - they fought and many died. If it was left up to those who consider themselves to be true pacifists, then this wouldn't exist. Say what you will.
Now, the Bible teaches us that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood. And we're talking about these spiritual things and receiving things from God - it is not a physical conflict at all. But we do have an adversary. We do have any enemy. And we're told to watch out, and be on our guard, because the adversary (the devil) is a roaring lions, goes about seeking whom he may devour. Do you see that he's always looking for an opportunity to get to you? I wish I could tell you that you could arise to some spiritual plateau where the devil couldn't touch you, and could never bother you again. But the person that told you that lied to you. I said the person that told you that, lied to you. The enemy will always be looking to get in. And he will come to attack you; he will come to tempt to; he will try to throw obstacles in your way.
Living by faith doesn't ensure that you'll never have any conflicts or problems. The person that told you it did, doesn't know what they're talking about. I tell you what living by faith will ensure though: it will ensure that you'll WIN! Everytime. Over every conflict. Over every attack. You can win, win and win...if you'll fight the good fight of faith.
But if you believe that there is no conflict; believe it's not up to you, it's just all up to God and ignore these plain exhortations and commands to fight to resist...then you will be defeated.
Notice, what He said in 1 Peter 5:9 "Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." We have adversary he told us, seeking whom he may devour. Verse 9: Whom may resist. YOU are to do something. Right? Leave it up to God? No. No, you're to do something. Resist him. How? Steadfast. That let's us know something. You may have to resist more than a minute or two, or more than an hour or two, or may than a day or two, or more than a week or two, or more than a month or two. In some situations, you have to resist longer than that.
How long do you resist? Well, let me ask you this. If somebody attacks your house, and you're going to attack to defend your house, how long do you fight? When you get tired of fighting and quit is when you are defeated. Is that right? As long as you'll stay at it, then you're still in the game. And according to the Word of God, if you won't quit and you'll believe, He will ALWAYS cause you to triumph. So if you won't quit, then you know you're going to win - if you'll stay with it. The resist steadfast...that let's us know there are situations where we've got to steadfast, keep resisting and stay with it. Not just a little bit and that's it. You know, all of us like these 10 second fights. Bell rings. We go out and punch the devil with verse. Bam. He hits the deck. Holy Ghost lifts up our hand and "Yay, we won that one buddy." Everybody likes that. But that same verse might not do it the next time he came back and you can sit over in the corner of the ring and ask why, or you can get up and answer the bell again. And nobody likes those 4 or 5 rounders, and even fewer like those 10 rounders. Nobody likes those 15 rounders. Nobody. But I'm telling you, you just got to be ready and get ready. And thing is you just keep answering the bell.
Just keep getting up. Keep fighting the good faith fight.