There are so many things to stand for today. So many ideas for which we are urged to fight. So many movements that promote themselves as a “good cause.”
But when everything is “good,” how can we discern what is right? And what’s more, a lot of “good causes” are not pursued in a truly good way. As Christians, what are we supposed to stand up for, and how are we supposed to stand up for it? The answer to this question starts with making an important distinction:
There is a difference between fighting for a good cause and fighting the Good Fight.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls us to remember that the Lord will provide for all our needs because He knows and loves us deeply. We are dearer to Him than many sparrows, dearer than extravagant lilies. All we must do is “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). What a peaceful and calming promise. But what is righteousness? How do we seek the Kingdom of God?
So many causes appear to be promoting what is good, so we stand for them. They are advertised as righteous, so we fight for them. However, the mere appearance of “goodness” is not necessarily indicative of true Righteousness. When we are asked to fight for a specific cause or publicly promote our deeply held convictions, we must first take a step back and ask the Lord for discernment.
Lord, in this fight, am I truly seeking Your Kingdom and Your Righteousness?
Scripture makes it clear that we are involved in a constant battle. We are targets of an enemy that seeks to kill and destroy. An enemy that schemes to muddle our hearts and minds and lure us away from the righteous Kingdom of God. We must never forget that war is being waged,
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).
Why is this essential for us to understand? Because the implications of this war are eternal. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has already declared everlasting victory over evil, sin, and death. He has already conquered these principalities, these dark forces both on earth and in the heavens. He has already ascended to the right hand of God the Father, and His triumph shall never cease. However, those who choose not to accept Jesus as their personal savior will not share in this glorious victory. In fact, their separation from it will be eternal also.
Understanding the reality of this cosmic struggle is essential to understanding how we as Christians go about truly seeking the Righteousness of God. At the center of this pursuit is the understanding that our struggle is not against those on another side of the political spectrum. Our struggle is not against different denominations. Our struggle is not for a movement whose only goal is to advance the betterment of today. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood.
This is not to say that our walk with Christ has nothing to do with earthly things. Of course we must represent Him well. We must acknowledge the brokenness and hurt of this world and point to His redeeming power. Yes, we must fight. However, at the same time, our battles are not only for the sake of a “good cause.” We must not commit our allegiance to wars that only seek temporary victory. Doing so undermines our allegiance to Christ and our promised citizenship in heaven. The battles we fight on this earth must ultimately seek first His Kingdom and reflect the eternal victory of Christ. All our efforts to help the poor, pursue justice, and heal the broken must be oriented toward a heavenly direction.
How do we do this?
In the book of Ephesians, Paul urges the Christians at Ephesus to, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:11) Putting on this heavenly armor is our call so that we might be equipped by the strength of God to defend ourselves and fight against the “evil principalities” in spiritual warfare. We must be prepared, when the day of evil comes, to stand our ground (Ephesians 6:12-13). The belt of Truth, the breastplate of Righteousness, the shoes of the Gospel, the shield of Faith, the helmet of our Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit: God in His grace and majesty provides us with what we need to stand firm and seek first His Kingdom.
This is how we must approach the causes and movements on this earth: armed and prepared. Before we decide to fight for a good cause or join a movement, it is important to determine whether doing so is in pursuit of God’s righteousness and the advancement of His Kingdom. An effective way to discern whether a certain movement or conviction is oriented in this direction is to analyze with the armor of God in mind.
- Belt of Truth: Is this movement or cause centered in the Truth of who God is and what He says?
- Breastplate of Righteousness: Is this movement or cause protecting what is truly good? Is it promoting the heart of God?
- Shoes of the Gospel: Is this movement or cause advancing the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done for us?
- Shield of Faith: Is this movement or cause seeking to provide a defense against evil and the lies of the Enemy?
- Helmet of Salvation: Is this movement or cause eternally focussed? Does it promote the knowledge of our salvation in Christ?
- Sword of the Spirit: Is this movement or cause derived from Biblical conviction? Does it seek to fight against what opposes God’s Word?
In Ephesians, Paul makes it clear that we are to put on the full armor of God. We are not to neglect even a single piece. Each is necessary for engaging in spiritual warfare. We should always be prepared, shielded, and protected by the strength of God, ready to stand firm. In the same way, we must consider each piece when navigating this world. In doing so, we will be able to discern where our call lies. We will be certain of our eternal marching orders, and the fight will be for something so much greater than simply a “good cause.” We will seek first the Kingdom and Righteousness of God.
This is the Good Fight.