By Jay Pearson

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things,
having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
1 Timothy 4:8

I have been exercising now three times a week for nine years pretty consistently since I turned 65. One thing I’ve learned, well maybe two. One, if I miss a week or two on vacation or other interruptions, I quickly notice the loss of strength. The peak strength only lasts a little or as I exercise it. Two, if I do an unfamiliar task those muscles used in the new task get extremely sore. They are not exercised to do that particular task. These two things also relate to the spiritual tasks we are called to do. For instance, if I slack off on prayer to my Lord and Father I find myself quickly out of touch. The Lord is speaking to me and hearing perfectly, but I am dull of hearing and slow to respond to his direction. By exercising unto godliness we are obeying the Lord and doing the word and the Holy Spirit strengthens us.

James 1:22
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

As you continue in godliness your maturity is strengthened by the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 5:14
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

I would like to share a true story with you. I spent the longest one-minute segment of my life in 1969 in Colorado Springs. Actually I spent three of my longest one-minute segments there. I was in the Indiana National Guard on a summer camp training mission. My longest minutes ever were spent in a sectioned off boxing ring before an audience of over 200 men. At 24 years old, I thought I was in pretty good shape. However, many factors play a part in the preparation for a contest. As contenders my opponent and I traveled from 500 feet above sea level to one-mile-high in one short day. We entered the ring with only one day to adjust to the altitude. If you have ever hiked in the mountains you will agree that it is a challenge for one not trained at that elevation. In a matter of only seconds into my first one-minute round I realized I was not ready for this. I had not been tried, tested, or exercised for this contest.

Fortunately, my opponent hadn’t either. I learned a valuable lesson in each one-minute segment of that contest. To be effective in a contest you must be exercise first and fully prepared for the task at hand. In relation to the Spirit we must realize Christianity is a fulltime job.

To be a top contender in spiritual warfare, preserving the earthen vessel with which you have been entrusted, you must be exercised in the use of the gifts of the Spirit. My opponent in Colorado was a good person, possible a Christian. The opponent we are contending with today in our Christian walk is not good, not even close. On the contrary he is very vicious. He is trained and commissioned to steal, kill, and destroy. He has been exercising this commission for centuries. Wake up and look around you.

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Wake up and look around you. Your opponent lurks. He wants to shift your attention away from the Lord. He wants to cause you to doubt your calling. He wants to show you an easier road so he can ambush you and steal, kill, and destroy at the very least your fellowship with the Lord. Two things he doesn’t want you to do, one count on the Christ in you and two count on God working in you to will and do his good pleasure.

Jude 1:3
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

To be a top contender in the good fight requires an effective exerted effort. Any one can swing a punch. Not everyone can connect with dramatic results that will affect the outcome of the contest in a favorable way. That takes diligence and the Lord as your strength, exercising in godliness. The Apostle Paul didn’t fight as one that beat the air, a shadow boxer. We are exhorted in scripture to follow his example.

1 Corinthians 9:26-27
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 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.

We need to walk the walk that we talk and be doers of the Word and be not hearers only. My personal observation is that many Christians spend more time looking at what they have done and less time looking at what they are doing.

Philippians 3:13-14
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul did not wait to get hit. He did not dance around the ring to avoid confrontation. Instead of waiting for the fight to come to him he took the fight to the opponent. One important thing to remember also is he only fought the good fight. The fight the Lord sent him on. Don’t poke your fist in where it does not belong.

Paul knew he was in the battle the Lord sent him on. He stayed in touch with the Lord.

1 Corinthians 14:18
I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

Proverbs 8:17
I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

He knew he was always in the spiritual battle unlike the boxer’s ring. There are differences between the contest that takes place in the boxing ring and that which takes place on the battlefield of the Christian. At the end of each boxing match, the boxer exits the ring and goes to the locker room to rest or maybe even celebrate the end of the contest. In contrast the Christian enters the ring or battlefield for an around the clock confrontation. This contest begins when he accepts Jesus as Lord. The contest doesn’t end until his earthly life is over or the Lord’s return. Another very important difference is that the Christian’s opponent is already defeated. This opponent tries to convince the saved Christian that he, the devil, can win the battle, when in truth he can only score points in a situation. The great thing is that no matter how many points he scores, he will never be the victor. The outcome has been judged, and the award has been presented to Jesus Christ, the victor over darkness. Our adversary can only seek to instill darkness in a Christian’s life. The Light is God himself and he has long ago extinguished our adversary’s light forever.

1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

For a boxer to be a top contender he must utilize all his weapons. He must use them effectively, listening to his corner man. By reason of use he wil have exercised these weapons: his hands, feet, legs, torso, and his head and mental skills. He may use these both for offense and defense. He must use his heart when he is running out of gas or energy. His heart supplies the extra effort needed to be courageous and conquer. The Christian must put on the whole armor of God to be a top contender and he must rely on his heart to supply the energy to overcome and the strength that reaches beyond his strength. The heart of the Christian is the Lord Jesus Christ. Without him we can do nothing, but with him we have overcome. You will finish your course. You will have fought the good fight of faith that Paul spoke about and lived for.

2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

The good fight of faith always comes down to a single choice. Believe God or believe something else. Let’s take our stance and believe God and fight the good fight of faith.




Presented November 17, 2019 in French Settlement, Louisiana