Throughout the epistles of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus there is a very prominent theme of soldiers fighting for Christ and opposing Satan and his angels. Paul charged the young preacher, Timothy, to “war a good warfare” (1 Tim. 1:18), to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:16), and encourages him to be a “good soldier of Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3). Paul, in his farewell address, declared, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Clearly, fighting for the cause of Christ should be the desire of every faithful Christian.
Interestingly, though, in 2 Timothy 2:23-24, Paul tells Timothy not to gender strife – but to be gentle. Is it possible for us to fight for Christ, and yet, not gender strife and be gentle? I believe we can and must, and briefly, I would like to suggest something for us to think about as we go about to accomplish this vitally important task.
I believe there are two types of fighting in which men find themselves involved. There are those, on the one hand, who fight with reckless abandon, who jump into a situation without thinking, having no regard for the innocent parties involved. Their job is to accomplish the task no matter what. Then there are those who keep a cool head while in the midst of fighting, those who are aware of the innocent parties involved and try to keep them from being hurt. This is they type of person who will not drop an “atomic bomb” when a “hand grenade” would have easily done the job.
I believe when Paul says, “fight” and then later says “don’t strive, but be gentle,” he was pointing out that when one fights for the Lord he must have the proper attitude, purpose, and method. We do not want to have the attitude of some, it seems, whose attitude declares, “Let me at that false teacher so I can rip his eye balls out!” Is this person’s motive or purpose what it should be?
We are to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) – we are to fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 1:18), but at the same time we are to do so with the purpose of saving souls. “Seek and destroy missions” have no place in Christianity, but we are to “seek and save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10). We must “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). “If any among you err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins” (Jam. 5:19-20).
Shake or Nod!