Paul tells Timothy to “fight the fight of faith.” Here are five things to know from the context about this fight.
1) It’s a real fight
The word “fight” in Greek means contest, effort, contention, conflict. It implies an expenditure of energy. It’s the Greek word agon, from which we get the word “agony.” Agony isn’t just a feeling; it’s physical exhaustion brought on by an exertion of energy. We’re supposed to be using energy in our faith. Exert yourself in the agony of faith is the idea.
2) We don’t fight people
People are not our problem. Oh, they may very well be A problem, but they are not who we are fighting. Faith does not fight people. Faith is not threatened by homosexuals, atheists, evolutionists, abortionists, terrorists, or any other group. We love our enemies; we don’t fight them.
Yup, hate to tell you, the context says money is the real danger in the fight. People who pursue the love of money err from the faith. We are to flee such things that get us consumed with earthly concerns and pursue “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”
The fight consists of us beating off earthly distraction to keep ourselves mindful of eternal things. Lay hold on eternal life. In order to flee worldliness and pursue godliness, we must fight, agonize, expend energy, and expect opposition.
5) The fight is you
We fight ourselves quite honestly. We say with Paul, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain . . . I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Paul was concerned about his own life, about erring from the faith, and becoming a castaway (every other place this word is used it’s translated “reprobate,” which is always used to denote an unbeliever).
Paul is not worried about losing his salvation; Paul is concerned with fighting the fight of faith. True believers fight to the end. No prizes are given for starting.
Paul preached with many people, many of whom quit. Demas left because he loved this present world. Paul watched other supposed believers, even ministers, err from the faith because of the pull of earthly pleasures.
If Paul felt he needed to fight this til the end, I’m pretty sure we should be mindful of it too.