Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Life is a series of peaks and valleys; highs and lows. Maintaining consistency at anything is difficult.
Several years ago, Janet and I decided to remodel our house. We couldn’t afford to hire workers for the project. Thanks to the encouragement provided by home improvement programs on TV, we tackled the task ourselves with great zeal. Calculated we could finish in ninety days.
This was a comprehensive project affecting every room in the house. We started in the kitchen by knocking out a wall and then tore down the ceiling. Removed the sink and toilet from a bathroom. Pulled up all the carpet in the house. Yes, we even planned to install carpeting ourselves. Oh, yeah. We ripped out the railing and steps on the stairway.
As the ninetieth day approached, we realized we had taken on too much. The enthusiasm with which we began our project had faded. Our house looked like a war zone. And so we quit. We would either regain our zeal, or hire it done. Eventually, we chose the latter.
Too much of anything can produce a similar result, including our walk with Christ. If we’re not careful, we can burnout and take ourselves out of the game.
Paul’s admonition to Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” reveals that faithfulness to the Lord can lead to the battlefield.
When you gave your life to Christ, God began a renovation project in you. Some of us have more to work on than others, but the challenges of adhering to the Lord’s expectations for righteousness and godly living can seem like an unwinnable battle.
The demands for Christian service can be overwhelming. When well-meaning church workers learn of your zealous desire to serve the Lord, they race to be the first to recruit you into their ministries. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re not careful, you’ll suddenly find yourself overextended which can lead to burnout.
Worker burnout not only causes Christians to drop out of Christian service, but also — out of church. Many times, when visiting in the homes of inactive church members, I heard stories of how they were once very active; served in the Youth Ministry, sang in the choir, or taught Sunday School.
More times than not, their inactivity wasn’t the result of overwork, but hurt feelings. A group or an individual had treated them badly, and they dropped by the wayside because they couldn’t take it anymore.
Let’s not forget Satan’s desire to disrupt all attempts at growing in the Lord and faithful Christian service. In Ephesians 6:12, Paul teaches that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood,” but the forces of evil. The devil delights in burnout. Getting you to throw in the towel on the good fight is his objective.
So when we lose it, when we burnout, what can be done to get back our zeal? Paul called upon Timothy to recall the feeling from that first moment in the faith. “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession…” Remember the excitement; the lifted burden of guilt; the relief from God’s forgiveness; the joy of an eternal home with the Father; the abundance of hope and peace.
And that confession of faith in Christ was made “in the presence of many witnesses.” The church had shared in Timothy’s born-again experience, rejoiced with him, and welcomed him into the family of believers.
All Christians can benefit from Paul’s reminder to Timothy. Living the Christian life isn’t always easy. It can often be a battle. Try to avoid burnout if you can. If not, think back to how it all began; what it felt like; the newness of life in Christ. Remember the feeling of having the weight of your sins removed. You would also do well to recall that you’re just as forgiven today as you were at the beginning.
Burnout can also lead to the absence of a meaningful prayer life. If that has happened to you, ask for the Lord to help you get back what you once had; to restore your zeal and strength for again fighting the good fight.
For more on this topic, check out this article: God’s Remedy for Fatigue and Stress
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.