Monday, January 28, 2013

True Christianity is a fight!

My favourite quote from the movie Braveheart:

Stephen: Fine speech. Now what do we do?
Wallace: Just be yourselves.
Hamish: Where are you going?
Wallace: I'm going to pick a fight.
Hamish: Well, we didn't get dressed up for nothing.

Now that we have our minds on fighting:
But what do we do when we don't feel joyful? Do we resign ourselves to disobedience? Should we abandon following Jesus? Not at all! We fight the good fight of faith. It is good to fight for belief in the Gospel. We fight for faith to believe that obedience to Jesus is better than disobedience. Religious affection is an expression of faith in the Gospel, but it does not constitute the whole of faith. Faith also includes trusting God when we don't desire him. It is this faith that fights to follow Jesus, even when we don't feel like it. We were recreated in Christ not to run emotional power but spiritual power-the filling of the Holy Spirit. The power of the Spirit comes to life when we trust in his Word. (Dodson, Jonathan K. Gospel-centered Discipleship. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012. Print.80)
I love this quote by Dodson. I love his reaction to trials and difficulties and joy being robbed: fight the fight of faith. Following hard after Christ  is not going to be easy. But we need to resist cynicism and pessimism and be willing to put some effort into our walk with God. Consider this excerpt by Dodson in light of another excerpt from J. C. Ryle's classic on sanctification called Holiness:
The first thing I have to say is this: True Christianity is a fight. True Christianity! Let us mind that word “true.” There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity. It passes muster; it satisfies sleepy consciences; but it is not good money. It is not the real thing which was called Christianity eighteen hundred years ago. There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday, and call themselves Christians. Their names are in the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage service. They mean to be buried as Christians when they die. But you never see any “fight” about their religion! Of spiritual strife, and exertion, and conflict, and self-denial, and watching, and warring, they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His Apostles preached. It is not the religion which produces real holiness. True Christianity is “a fight.”

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