“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” ~1 Timothy 6:12 NLT
Have you ever been to a restaurant on kids’ night? There are some places that go all out! There are costumed characters, face painting, crafts, special desserts, and all kinds of mayhem designed to give kids a great time. One of the most common things you’ll see at a kids’ night is those bright, colorful floating beauties – latex balloons! It’s the first thing kids see when they enter and every parent’s joy. I have a distinct dislike of latex balloons and I’ll tell you why. First of all, as the parent of a child with severe allergies, I know the panic of swelling lips and a throat that’s closing up. While my child is not allergic to latex, I know it is a very serious allergy and pulling out an Epi-pen at dinner is not something any parent desires. Secondly, my mother told me one of those parenting horror stories where a child bit a latex balloon and it popped and flew down his throat, blocking his airway and causing him to turn blue. This terrified me as a new mom years ago and I’ve avoided latex balloons as a result. So, walking into a restaurant on kids’ night always gave me anxiety because my kids are just as mesmerized by those colorful, bouncing balls of air as the next kid. Sometimes I wondered if the free kids’ meals ($3.99 each) were worth the sad puppy dog eyes at the end of the night. Those sad looks are nothing, though, compared to the face of a child who lost his grip on the ribbon of his balloon in the parking lot and is now watching it float away. Talk about a mental breakdown! That’s why you hear parents telling their kids as they exit the restaurant, “hold it tight or it will float away!” Most of those kids have a death grip on those ribbons. That’s the picture that pops into my head when reading Paul’s passionate instructions for Timothy – a kid with a death grip on a latex balloon walking to the car after kids’ night.
Just like that kid, it’s up to us to hold tight to the eternal life to which God has called us. We have the tendency to take our eyes off Jesus – take our minds off of Him, really – when we should be holding tight to His promises and teaching. We end up in messy situations that we’d never be in if we kept our minds focused on the truth of God instead of the pleasures and worries of this world.
Back up to the first sentence in the verse and focus in on Paul’s powerful urging of Timothy to “fight the good fight for the true faith!” We so often forget that there is an enemy working against us as we go about our daily lives. We have to be aware and alert, fighting for the faith that God has given. We have to hold tight to the eternal life to which God has called us! This is not a drill! This is is serious. People constantly let the worries of this life consume them. Their minds and hearts become focused on the pain or sadness or frustration instead of the victory offered by Jesus. Sometimes people let the pleasures and fun times of life take their eyes off Jesus. Believe me, your enemy is seeking to destroy you in whatever way he can, whether it’s through pleasure or pain. Make no mistake, this is a fight you’re in and you have to put your fists up and be ready to defend yourself against those attacks.
How do you do that? You’re not fighting against a physical enemy, but often against a mindset or deep desires. You can’t physically punch lust or greed or depression! But you can annihilate them through worship of God, fervent prayer, declaring the Word of God, and talking about it with others who can build you up and pray for you.
I urge you, when you’re facing those moments of doubt or when you want to give up or give in, tighten your grip on the promise of eternal life! Press into your prayers with determination and believe that God will rescue you. Just like that kid with a death grip on his balloon, don’t let the enemy pull your hope or faith from you. Hold on tight and fight the good fight!
P.S. – Just so you know, my kids have lived full and happy lives without knowing the joy of bringing home a latex balloon from kids’ night. They have had many happy moments with mylar balloons, which float for weeks or even months sometimes, by the way.