Was there nothing to fight for? Surely there are things to fight for in this world, are there not? Precious things, important things that need to be protected or fought for and won. Yet everyone knows that a fight will involve wounds. Who comes out of a fight untouched and unscathed? Fighting implies effort, intensity, struggle and the danger of pain and injury. It carries not just the possibility but the likelihood of scars. Fighting is never a thing of leisure, ease or comfort. And because of that some have given up fighting.
Ortberg went on to say that entropy is “one of the great enemies of the human spirit. A person becomes apathetic or complacent or settles for the path of least resistance in some areas of life. Dreams die and hopes fade. A terrible thing happens: a person learns they can live with mediocrity.” Unfortunately it is awfully easy to slip life’s transmission into neutral and begin idling through this world. That can happen because of the simple truth that fighting usually results in pain, and after we’ve sustained enough hurts we switch into pain avoidance mode. When the priority becomes not hurting, not being wounded, we will begin seeking to avoid fights whenever possible. But entropy can also take over because to keep struggling involves great exertion. After a time we can easily just get tired. The path of least resistance begins to appear awfully appealing.
I’ve noticed something that tends to upset the comfortable life that has gone into idle mode. That something is to be exposed to a person who is passionately engaged in the fight. When a victim of entropy encounters a combatant who is ablaze with passion in the midst of battle he may experience a distinct uneasiness. He may become aware of some envy within himself, even sense a desire to once again come fully alive and to rejoin the fight to make a difference in this world. I guess what it boils down to is people fully alive and zealously exerting themselves in the pursuit of something worth fighting for are inspiring.
I have found myself challenged and inspired by people like Gary Haugen, the CEO of the International Justice Mission, which fights to save people out of slavery and human trafficking. My heart gets fired up as I observe the young people of Invisible Children, the group trying to protect and save the children of the Congo and Uganda who are so often victims of the civil war raging in that area. Their dedication is stirring. These are things worth fighting for!
But as I contemplated these things I realized there are so many things worth fighting for. There are so many causes that are like the two I just mentioned that are so important because human lives are at stake. Just a cursory glance at the landscape reveals that our world is awash in needs and causes that cry out for someone to do something, and to do it with passion and dedication. When we mix that with the fact that our own lives have important personal matters that require us to fight it can quickly become overwhelming. I cannot possibly do it all, and all too often our response is to throw up our hands in frustration and paralysis and do nothing. Entropy creeps in and complacence wins the day.
When the apostle Paul wrote his second letter to his spiritual son, Timothy, he was once again in prison. Only this time he knew he was not going to be released. He was awaiting execution. He said in 2 Timothy 4:6, “the time has come for my departing.” In the next verse he wrote “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” He wasn’t bitter. He looked forward to the Lord bringing him “safely to his kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:18). He was still alive, still thinking of ministry, still urging Timothy to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). He was old, battered, abused, but still very much in the fight. As verse 7 tells us he fought to the very end. He knew what God had called him to do and he did it with passion, accumulating many wounds and scars in the process, but he never quit. He never put it on autopilot. He fought to the very end. Through him God calls on me to live the same way.
What are you fighting for? Are you fighting for anything other than yourself? I believe these are questions we need to ask ourselves. What is it in this world that is worth fighting for? I know in my life there is one cause that stands above all others. That is the good news of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. There are many things I can and should fight for in this world, but the most important of them is that people would experience God’s grace. As I read the Bible, as I observe what happens in this world, I see that it is eternal life at stake when it comes to the grace of Jesus Christ, and this is the most crucial thing of all. If people are to experience a life of peace, freedom and joy now extending into all of eternity, it will be through that grace. It was for this cause that Paul fought the good fight. More than anything else I must fight for this with all the passion that is within me.