Fighting the good fight

Harry Pereira

01 March, 2023

Transcript of this message is also available in Malayalam

As long as you’re evil there’s no problem since you’re so used to doing evil things; there’s no guilt or shame. But once you decide to do good, all hell breaks loose. If you’re struggling, it’s a good sign – it means you’re trying to do good. In our strength, we will fail. In His strength, we have victory. He did not call us just to survive on this earth. He has called us to the power of the new life. The problem is we don’t understand what “new life” is. We’re good with “new life” as long as it doesn’t involve trouble. Trouble is a good sign; it is a gift. We are called to be overcomers.

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James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

The condition to receive the crown of life is to be an overcomer. Remember, Jesus called you to the power of the new life; not to survive. He said, “let your light shine forth”. Jesus has called us to be the light of the world. However, in order for the light to shine, we ought to turn on the switch first. The switch refers to our character. Our character speaks louder than words. We all love to be known as righteous people. What we forget is that we have been made righteous through Christ. There’s a war going on – something that has been going on even before we were born. A war between the paradise of darkness and the Kingdom of God. Now, we are a part of the Kingdom of God. Instead of glaring at someone up and down and judging them, look at them as part of the Kingdom of God.

Psalms 139:1-6“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

When you talk ill about a fellow brother or sister, remember that God knows what you speak and think. If you have a constant awareness that God is watching you and your thoughts 24×7, you will be way more mindful of what you think, speak, and how you act. Be patient with God; He is molding you to perfection. In good times, we celebrate; we don’t change. However, when you go through troubles, you seriously seek the face of The Lord. In the Bible, you just have one fight. The good fight of faith. Every moment of your life, you are attacked by the enemy just because you want to believe what The Lord says. The devil does not want you to have faith. Because by faith, all things are possible. Everything is over for the evil one if you have faith. Those who fight with one another are the biggest fools on earth. You are supposed to be united against the evil one. Wherever you are placed, may it be your university or workplace, if you have faith, there’s nothing impossible. Pray to God to give you the grace to fight the good fight.

1 Timothy 1:18-19 “Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.”

There’s not a single verse in the Bible that says you will not be troubled. But it has been mentioned multiple times that God will be with you through your troubles. That is when you will be called an overcomer. When we cut corners in this life, it is easy to live. When you constantly want to do good, you see the whole world against you. Although He has made you righteous, you have the responsibility to keep it up through your actions. The world shows its righteousness by obeying laws. The Bible says that the law made none perfect. In fact, laws expose your sins. The law doesn’t tell you you’re righteous; it just says that you’re a sinner. Laws are good and they’re from the God. Unless sins are repented, there’s no receiving of mercy, nor is there forgiveness. The Bible says that you can be righteous if you keep all the laws all the time. However, if you fall short of one law, all the goodness of obeying them till then is lost. Your very salvation is at stake when you lose faith. We must learn to believe that the grace of The Lord is sufficient for us.

Galatians 3:10 “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.””

James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”

The natural mind is rebellious; it does not want to obey. Although you want to do good, you have another side of you (the natural mind) that has a tendency to do the opposite.

Romans 7:17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.

Romans 3:20“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”

The understanding of a law brings about the understanding of a sin. Jesus never called you a sinner. He didn’t even call prostitutes or tax-collectors sinners; instead he called them daughters and sons. However, He doesn’t turn a blind eye towards sin; He corrects it. Some people bear fruit and some people are burden for the earth.

John 15:2“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

When He cuts, it will pain. It has to. It means you’re bearing fruit. If it pains, it means you’re bearing better fruit. Ask Him to help you understand the purpose when you go through troubles. There once was a village that was being plundered by the soldiers. Just one week before, there was a young boy who fell down and broke his leg in the village farm. While everyone around him were saddened about it, his own father said it was for the good. He was the type of person who would say anything (good or bad) that happened was eventually for the good. The villagers thought that he was crazy, since he couldn’t empathize with his own son. Fast forward to a week later, when the soldiers came to the village, they took all boys with them for war, except the one with the broken leg. Often, we are so bothered about our pain and focus on it, not keeping in mind that it is for the greater good. Don’t fight with the law and grace together. You have to pick one.

Romans 8:16“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

Romans 8:14“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”

Those who continuously listen to and obey the Holy Spirit, they are mature children of God. Jesus never struggled to obey His Father. The only time He had a struggle was when He didn’t want to be separated from The Father. Jesus knew Him praying “let this cup pass from me” was not aligning with God’s will, which is why He concluded His prayer with “let your will be done”. Jesus was longing to get back to His father. When He resurrected, He didn’t straight away ascend to Heaven. Instead, He met Mary, a sinner. The least was the most important. This is where grace comes into play. However, grace is received when you have faith. The Spirit of God will direct you to bear everlasting fruit, provided that you have faith.