Daily Devotional: 1 Timothy 1:18
The Christian experience is often times portrayed like a serene lake on a quiet morning, reflective of a life of inner tranquility and peace. And this is an accurate description, in one sense, because we who were once enemies of God have been reconciled to Him. Eternally secure as his beloved children, we can carry with us a great sense of joy and peace because he loves us with an enduring love which will never change. And our inheritance with him is guaranteed, since we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Furthermore, God is now our Father, a Father who knows us so well and cares for us so meticulously that he has numbered every hair on our heads.
But there is another reality of our experience as Christians that we need to grasp, and upon which we must predicate our lives: War. The Christian experience is war. From the beginning of creation, there has been a spiritual, cosmic war raging between God and his adversary, Satan (Ezekiel 28:11-17; Isaiah 14:12-14; Job 1:6-12). In rebellion to God, Satan has corrupted and employed myriads of angels to abandon their God-given purpose to serve and worship God and instead to revolt against the Most High like a treasonous army that forms a coup and attacks its king (Romans 12:4). These demonic and perverted celestial beings have one primary mission, and that is to destroy God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who is the perfect image of God and the radiance of God’s glory (Revelation 12:4-5; John 1:18; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3-4). Satan and his minions hate God, hate the glory of God, and therefore hate the Son of God and his church, because the church is “his body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). And “through the church the manifold wisdom of God” is “made known” to whom? You guessed it, “to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places,” or angels (Ephesians 3:10). God’s aim in all He does is to manifest His glory so that all might praise His name (Psalm 19; 1 Timothy 1:17; Revelation 4:11). Satan’s aim is to diminish the glory of God as much as possible, which is why he seeks to blind as many as he can from “seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ,” “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Knowing this, then how must we, his chosen people, respond? Paul gives a direct charge to Timothy, which also applies to us. He says, “wage the good warfare” (1 Timothy 1:18). In other words, don’t fear, don’t get timid, don’t back down, don’t lose faith in your battle Commander, don’t abandon His battle plan and start following your own. Be a good soldier and fight! Successful fighting in a war takes discipline, especially the discipline of following orders in the face of adversity. The best soldiers can endure the horrors of war and continue fighting with one aim, to please the one who enlisted them (2 Timothy 2:4). In summation, fighting is a call to walk in obedience, day by day, even when it gets hard and even when you want to question your orders. In this sense, we Christians must hold onto our “faith and a good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:19), always repenting of sin, when we have strayed from the clear directions of our Commander and always renewing our minds in God’s Word, so that we might stick to the battle plan of our omniscient, wise and benevolent Lord.
Finally, we must remember that this is a “good” warfare (1 Timothy 1:18). This battle is the one battle worth fighting and there is a guarantee of victory in the end. In a sense, with the risen Christ as our triumphant General, the victory has already been won, because through Christ’s death and resurrection, he has disarmed Satan and His treasonous, defiant horde and has secured for us the victory and the reward of eternal life in His glorious presence (Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Peter 1:4-5). So, brothers and sisters, this is a call to arms! Let us wage the good warfare! And may God grant us strength to endure to the end.