Perry Emerick – Mesa Campus Pastor
Recently we had the midterm elections across the nation and in our state. It is the process of voting for our elected officials and it truly is an honor to be able to do that. Not only do we vote for specific offices, but there are a number of propositions and other measures on the ballot for us to vote for or against as well. Ever notice how many aspects and issues of our lives that are framed by those two words…are you for it, or are you against it? In our culture, it often feels like we primarily define ourselves by what we are against far more than what we are for. Even when it comes to difficulties in our lives, the predominant language we use to communicate it is framed by the word against, which really means we are framing it by the problem.
It is largely connected I believe to our medical model of evaluating problems. In the medical community, people are defined by the problems they are having; the issues that need to be fixed or resolved. Even in psychology we do that as well. We are struggling with this problem or that problem. And it all makes sense, because if there are problems in our lives, we need to recognize what they are and take appropriate responses. However, when it comes to solutions, are we fighting against problems or fighting for good health? Are we problem focused or solution focused?
This semester with some of our men’s groups we focused on this issue of fight, but rather than framing the theme on what we were fighting against, we decided to change the language to focus on what we were fighting for. We encouraged men to fight for their marriages, to fight for their purity, to fight for their finances, to fight for their influence, to fight for the divine call and creation to be men. The focus was on the words of Paul to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
When we live our lives defined by the problems and challenges we face, we are always on the defense. We are weighed down by the burden of our problems and often have a hard time seeing past them to what God wants for us. Paul’s admonishment to Timothy is to fight for something…for faith. He is told to take hold of and embrace the promise of God which is eternal life and the hope of that comes with it. He has invited us who claim Christ to live in freedom not slavery. Gal. 5:1 says
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
The encouragement today is this: Fight for your relationship with Christ. Not to achieve it, but to grow in it and to experience the fullness of it. Do not fix your eyes on your problems, fix your eyes on Jesus. Focus on the solution which is Christ, and not the problem, which in Christ is finished!