It’s becoming increasingly harder to understand passive Christians. I didn’t say humble or meek, I said passive. The ‘oh well’, or, ‘whatever’ mentality that allows some to passively participate in questionable activities or conversations in spite of a troubled conscience. It’s the mentality that allows some to feed their minds with more worldly influences that biblical ones. It’s the mentality that causes someone to be a church attendee or member but not engaged or engaging in intentional ministry. It’s the mentality that prevents many from pursuing God with a hunger and thirst and instead causes them to be easily shaken and stirred in their faith.
Why is this a growing problem among professing believers? Because many are not engaged in spiritual warfare, they’re not in the fight. In his book, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, J.C.Ryle wrote:
“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 authentic reality that called itself Christianity in the beginning. There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday and call themselves Christians. They make a “profession” of faith in Christ. 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.”
The true Christian is called to be a soldier and must behave as such from the day of his conversion to the day of his death. He is not meant to live a life of religious ease, indolence, and security. He must never imagine for a moment that he can sleep and doze along the way to heaven, like one traveling in an easy carriage. If he takes his standard of Christianity from the children of this world, he may be content with such notions, but he will find no countenance for them in the Word of God. If the Bible is the rule of his faith and practice, he will find his course laid down very plainly in this matter. He must “fight.” (see * below for citation)
At the realization that the end of his earthly life was near, the Apostle Paul wrote:
“2Ti 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”, 2 Tim 4:5-8
He was telling Timothy to stay in the fight, and, that there is a reward from the Lord for those who remain in the fight. Paul knew the battle would be long and hard for Timothy just as it had been for him. He realized Timothy would not be able to depend on Paul for advice and encouragement so He told him to put his trust in God’s all-sufficient Grace to get him through. He reminded him of the foundation of his salvation and his ministry, as well as the Kingdom Agenda the Lord has charged him to carry out.
” 2Ti 1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”, 2 Timothy 2:1-4
Paul’s encouragement to Timothy was meant for us as well. We must live and carry the Gospel each day of our lives in spite of the opposition Satan and this world throw at us. We need to fight as if our Lord is returning tomorrow. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to be our counsel and comforter. We must march through the world with our eyes open to God’s holiness – refusing – rejecting the deceitfulness of the flesh, the world, and the Devil. We must honestly acknowledge the wickedness of this world and refuse to allow it to take hold in our lives – to the point of pain. Our walk with God, our family relationships, and our joy are all at stake. We can fight about cultural, economic, educational, and social issues but these earthly concerns will exist until Christ returns. Meanwhile, people without Christ will die in their sins no matter how successful we are in their worldly battles. To be truly engaged in this fight (this spiritual warfare) we must consider the higher plane of living to the glory of God and of mankind’s need for salvation through Jesus Christ.
Get in the fight. Fight the Good fight.
* – J. C. Ryle, Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots,(Great Britain: Evangelical Press, 1879), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Chapter 4: The Fight”.