Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

Having the Fight of Your Life, Part 1 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #4)

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TEXT: 2 Timothy 4:7-8

In our last message, Christian was in the house of the Interpreter who was sharing with Christian, through a series of vivid illustrations, what it means to live as a follower of Christ. In one of those illustrations, Interpreter showed Christian the illustration of Christ starting a fire in the believer’s life and the devil constantly trying to put that fire out. However, Christ keeps the fire burning, and the believer is eventually transformed into the image of Christ no matter what the world, the flesh, and the devil try to do.

Today, allow me to share with you from Pilgrim’s Progress another illustration which Interpreter showed Christian.

When we look around at the world, we can’t help but notice how those in authority are bent on telling people not to fight. Nations are admonished not to fight each other. Companies and people are advised to work out their differences instead of taking their fight to the court. Parents tell children that it is wrong to fight. Yet, every society draws much inspiration from fighting, and from those who fight. Some of our greatest heroes are those who fought in wars and armed conflict. Others who we look up to are those who fought disease, poverty, injustice, or immorality, and those who fought to survive difficult circumstances. And, nearly everyone loves to watch a good sporting competition such as football or basketball in which two teams fight for victory.

Fighting is a part of life — a part of our existence on this Earth. The Bible tells us that our faith involves a fight, and that is what the Interpreter shows Christian in this vision. I titled this message, “the fight of our lives” not “the fight for our lives”, because, as Christians, we are not fighting to preserve our mortal, temporary lives. However, we are required to give the fight all that we have. In other words, we must put all of our life into the fight. Let’s look at what this means from a Scriptural perspective.

1. The fight involves a decided fighter. At the end of his life, Paul was able to say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Paul, who once fought against Christ, had to make a decision to fight for Christ. When Jesus interrupted him on the road to Damascus, he had to make a decision — would he continue fighting against Christ, or would he choose to fight for Christ? That is a decision that each of us has faced or will face at some point in our lives — perhaps not as dramatically as Paul, but it is a decision we will face nonetheless.

In the vision told to us in Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian sees a good number of men standing around the entrance to the palace, but they are not trying to get in. They are scared because of the soldiers blocking the way to the entrance. They are not sure if they want to risk their lives in order to follow Christ. They are undecided.

Those who are standing at the door to the palace, ready to attack anyone who dares attempt entry, are like the many doubts and objections that the devil sends our way when we consider following Jesus Christ. He doesn’t want us to make that decision, so He makes us think of everything that we will be risking — the family members whom we will offend, the job we may have to give up, the lifestyle that we may have to say goodbye to. These nagging doubts keep many people on the fence.

Becoming a Christian is as much a mental decision as it is a spiritual or emotional one. A decision is the act of making up one’s mind; it is a resolution. We see an example of one who makes such a decision in the man who steps up to the door and says, “Write my name down in the book.”

Jesus Christ spoke of those who have made a decision to follow Him as those who have “put their hands to the plow.” Luke 9:62 reads, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” When you put your hand to the plow — when you choose to follow Christ — you are making a firm decision to enter the fight as a soldier in the army of the Lord with no intention of turning back to your old lifestyle. As the old hymn says:

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.