Paul writes to Timothy about waging a good warfare and uses the word “charge” [verse 18]. He used the same word in 1 Timothy 1:3. It is a military word meaning “an urgent command handed down from a superior officer”.
The battle we wage has two fronts to it: the inner front – the personal battle as the enemy seeks to attack our minds; and the outer front – seeing the enemy defeated in the lives of others and in the community. It is important that we win the battle on both fronts.
Paul is specifically writing to Timothy about the battle for truth in the church and in his exhortation to Timothy, he mentions three vital elements that are necessary in order to successfully fight in this battle:
The first element is “prophecy” [verse 18]. Prophecy is God’s Word into a specific situation. It may be a word given in the Spirit or from God’s Word that is a “more sure word of prophecy” [2 Peter 1:19]. It is important to know what God is saying and we stand upon His Word. When King Jehoshaphat faced a huge enemy, he called the people of Judah to prayer and fasting. As they prayed God spoke and gave them a clear word about how to fight in that battle [2 Chronicles 20:14-17] and it led them to worship, praise and victory.
The second element is faith [verse 19]. The English Standard Version translates this as “holding faith”. This means literally trusting God and not wavering. Faith stands firm in the face of every difficulty. It would be so easy for Timothy to flinch in the face of opposition and difficulty. Sometimes the fiercest battles are raged for a period before the victory comes and that is when we have to stand firm. Paul told the Ephesians, “Having done all, stand” [Ephesians 6:13]. We must hold on and not give up!
The third element is a good conscience [verse 19]. Five times Paul mentions the conscience in his letters to Timothy [1 Tim. 1:5,19; 3:9; 4:2 and 2 Timothy 4:2]. The word “conscience” means, “to know with.” Conscience is the inner judge that accuses us when we have done wrong and approves when we have done right [see Romans 2:14-15]. Have you ever done wrong and felt guilty about it? That is the voice of your conscience. It can be defiled [Titus 1:15], and repeated sinning hardens the conscience [1 Timothy 4:2], but the blood of Jesus can make our conscience clean [Hebrews 9:14 and 10:22]
Why do you think it is important that we know God’s Word as we are in a spiritual battle?
Have you ever been tempted to give up and take the more comfortable and easier road than following Jesus? What caused this temptation and how did you handle it?
Why is it important to keep a good conscience when fighting a spiritual battle? Is there any guilt in your life that hinders you and needs to be cleansed?