“The idea that all you have to do is to accept Christ and you are in is a great mistake. It leaves people with the impression that if they accept Christ they have no fight to fight, no warfare, no job to do and no temptations. They are just in. When you accept Christ rightly as your Lord and Savior you are in, but to be honest, you have just started to fight. People get converted and we do not tell them that they must fight all the way through to heaven because of the spirit of degeneration and the tendency to deteriorate. They must fight, pray through, suffer it out, and live in praise and worship, because if they do not they will deteriorate.”
A.W. Tozer (1897-1963), Rut, Rot, and Revival
Monday: Ephesians 6:10-20
Like Tozer, Paul uses warfare imagery to describe the battle Christians are in. What role does each piece of armor play in our ability to live godly lives? Do you make it a mental exercise to “put on your armor” every morning? Why might this be a good idea? How could it help you resist a "spirit of degeneration"?
Tuesday: Romans 7:15-25; 1 John 1:5-10; Galatians 5:16-26
Wednesday: Proverbs 6:12-19; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:1-7
How do these Scriptures reveal that sin is something we must continue to fight against even after we are saved? What are some of the strategies you use to deflect temptation or to overcome personal sin?
It’s impossible to fight the good fight against sin if we don’t know what sins we are committing. Read through these passages, and categorize each sin by type (make notes below). Take some time to consider which of these sins most often "entangle" you (Hebrews 12:1). Then, pray for the Spirit to help you overcome them in your life.
Thursday: Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4; James 5:7-11
Tozer says that in our quest to “fight all the way through to heaven” we must “suffer it out.” What role does suffering play in God’s plan to make you more like His Son (Romans 8:29)? Can you think of a difficult time in your life when you became aware of how God was molding you to be more Christ-like? Did that difficult time, for instance, make you more patient, more compassionate, or more determined to live a God-honoring life?
Friday: Psalm 66; Psalm 93
Tozer claims that it’s essential we “live in praise and worship.” As you read through these Psalms, let this be such a time. Spend at least ten minutes praising God. For what are you most grateful?
Saturday: Romans 1:18-32; 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Tozer speaks of how Christians must continually fight to prevent their spiritual life from deteriorating. How do these passages help us understand how spiritual deterioration begins and progresses? Examine your own life. Are you “fighting the good fight of faith” or are you “deteriorating”? If the latter, what do you need to do to reverse your status?
Sunday: 1 Timothy 6:11-21; 2 Timothy 4:5-8
What practical advice can you glean from these passages which will help you fight the good fight of faith?
Lesson for the Week:
The decision to trust Christ for salvation is only the beginning of our spiritual journey – a journey which Scripture and Tozer both characterize as a “fight” from the day we enter into His family until the moment the Lord calls us home. Before he died, Paul assured Timothy that he had accomplished his goal: he had fought the good fight of faith. Is this your desire as well? If your answer is yes, then you might begin by heeding Tozer’s marching orders:
We are going to sell out to God and not the devil. We are going to pray more, read our Bibles more and attend prayer meeting more. We are going to give more and break bad habits by the power of God. We are going to become Christians after God's heart. We are going to be protesters in an hour when the smooth, sickly, slippery, rotten, backslidden, degenerate, apostate Christianity is accepted. We are going to stand for God....
For more insight into this topic, order the book, The Fight, by John White, from our online store. Or read the article, “Fighting with God’s Weapons,” by Chuck Colson.