There is no victory without a contest

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

The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I realize I’m in a fight.

I hear a lot about blessings, victories, overcoming and miracles. I even preach about them. When I do, people get excited.

They become emotional, clap their hands and shout for joy, because they believe their victory is on the way … and it is! The breakthrough is coming, the answer is en route, your metaphorical walls of Jericho are coming down. The problem is, that’s only half the story.

You see, to claim a victory, you have to engage in a battle. To overcome, you must face a major obstacle. To experience a miracle, you have to be willing to be put in a position to need a miracle.

I believe Christians in the Western world tend to want the victory, but they don’t want to engage in the fight. We want to bypass the struggle, the pain and the hardship and get straight to the celebration. We want the glory without the guts.

However, I’ve come to realize that life is more about fighting. It’s in the fight that God shapes us. It’s in the fight that we learn to depend on God. It’s in the fight that we develop our prayer life. It’s in the fight that God teaches me things about myself, my character, my attitude.

It’s in the fight that I learn things about God’s character — his faithfulness, peace and justice. I learn to lean into him, hear his voice, and trust the Good Shepherd.

I think of Joshua and the battle of Jericho. I can only imagine standing outside that city, staring at those massive walls, and the thoughts that must’ve been going through his head: thoughts of fear, doubt, strategies of war, and so on.

It was in that time, facing Israel’s greatest foe, that Jesus came and spoke to Joshua (Joshua 5:13-16). The Israelites learned to trust God by marching in silence for seven days around those walls. It was standing in the shadow of this great fortified city that they learned to step out in faith and shout their praises to God on the seventh day, believing God would bring them a victory.

That’s exactly what happened. When the people shouted, those walls came tumbling down. Jericho crumbled to the ground.

Wow. Isn’t that what we all want in our situations? We want the walls to come down. We want the obstacles to be obliterated. We want that miracle breakthrough.

The funny thing is, as soon as those walls came down, the people picked up their swords, ran into the city and engaged in battle. God will bring your breakthrough, but there’s a fight waiting on the other side. After Jericho, there was another battle waiting at Ai, then another, and another.

Until we reach the Promised Land we must be ready to fight the good fight. I say we embrace it. Let’s step into the pain. Let’s run toward our giants. Let’s lean into the Lord, put on the whole armor of God, pick up the Sword of the Spirit and engage in the fight before us.

God will bring the miracle. He will bring the victory. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17)

The only way we lose is if we quit. Let’s fight.

To hear more on this subject, visit www.realifechurch.org, click on “messages” and watch the Fight series. You can follow Adam Detamore on all social media @adetamore.

Detamore is pastor of Realife Church in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.

To hear more on this subject, visit www.realifechurch.org, click on “messages” and watch the Fight series. You can follow Adam Detamore on all social media @adetamore. Detamore is pastor of Realife Church in Greenfield. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.