Before the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came out, Captain America would not have ranked all that high on my favorite super hero list. However, that changed from watching the Marvel movies. I am really drawn to the way the character is portrayed on the screen. For me the draw of the character is summed up in a scene that gets repeated across multiple movies. When Captain America gets knocked down, he gets back and tells his opponent, “I can do this all day.”
The reason why he can do it all day is because core to Captain America’s identity is a strong moral compass that does not waiver and an unwavering commitment to do what is right. Standing up to bullies and doing what is right guides the character so strongly that he could do it all day no matter what the consequences. This unwavering stance to personal convictions is why I personally like the character so much.
Going a step further, I think when it comes to living out our faith we can learn a lot from the character. Captain America has a lot of people trying to knock him down. In the same way, we experience a lot in life that tries to knock down our faith. Captain America holds to his core virtue of doing what is right and that enables him to get back up. In the same way if we truly making following Christ the core of our identity, then no matter what we are hit with we can get back up. And we could do it all day. Captain America fights the good fight. In the same way, 1 Timothy 6:12 is an encouragement to fight the good fight of the faith.”
The phrase fight the good fight of the faith is honestly one that I think requires some thought. When we list the attributes of faith we often think of faith as being positive, encouraging, peaceful, and wholesome. None of those attributes are aggressive or anything we would associate with fighting. So what does it mean to fight our faith?
The word fight to us brings up images of a zero sum game. When we hear the word fight we assume there must be a winner and a loser. The good fight of faith is not a knock out drag out brawl. It is an ongoing struggle. It is a tug of war for our heart and soul. Actually, I think a tug of war is a good analogy because the way you win a tug of war is to move as far away from your opponent as possible. Our faith is the assurance we have in God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. We fight the good fight of faith by seeking to move closer to Jesus and resist anything that would pull us further from our Savior. We fight the good fight of faith when we ground ourselves in the truth of God’s forgiveness, love, and grace.
However, we live in a broken and fallen world. The reality of our world is one that is in open rebellion against its creator and steeped in sin. Because of that staying rooted in God’s love is indeed a fight, because we encounter a lot of temptations and circumstances that seek to knock us down or pull us away. A righteous faithful life is one where God the blessed and only Ruler the king of kings and Lord of lords sits on the throne of heart. Yet in this broken and fallen world every person daily struggles with things that seek to occupy our minds and usurp that place on the throne of our hearts. Every single person has pressures in our lives that are pulling at us. Everyone has voices that call from this fallen world that call out to us in order to distract us, capture our attention, and knock our faith down.
The stress, the struggles and temptations that we all face in life are a lot like the waves of the ocean. They will keep coming and they will push us around. If we do not make the conscious effort to stand our ground then those waves will move us all over the place. If we do not intentionally set our feet then we will be pushed down. The way we fight the waves is we stand still and let them break over us. In the same way, that is how we fight the good fight of faith. We all face stress, struggles, and temptations that seek to knock us down and move us from being a faithful disciple. When these forces in the fallen world conspire to move us, we take hold of the eternal life to which we were called, and we say “no you move.” As the old hymn says it is on Christ the solid rock we stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
Making that kind of stand in our life is what it means to fight the good fight of faith. That does not mean we are going to always stand our ground though. We will get knocked down from time to time. There will be times when we get distracted for a season. There will be times when we allow some sin to occupy too much space in our heart and lives. There will be times when the stress, uncertainty, and anxiety of life gets out of control and our faith begins to strain under the weight of it all. There will be times the waves of this world are too strong and they knock us back. That is inevitable after all we are imperfect people. The good news though is that we are redeemed by a perfect savior. Paul urged Timothy, and us, to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. When we fight the good fight by pursuing those things then what we are pursuing is Jesus and becoming more like him. So even though we may get knocked down in our faith, we can take hold of the eternal life to which we were called.
What allowed Captain America to get back up when he got knocked back down was his core conviction to do what is right. When this world seeks to knock our faith down what gets us back up should be the core conviction that Jesus is Lord and Savior. We all struggle in life. If you feel like you are getting beat by the waves of life, then may you know that getting knocked down does not make you a failure because by the grace of Jesus Christ we can get back up again. May we all pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. May we pursue Jesus above all else, and may that be the core virtue of our lives. Because if we do, then no matter what life throws at us we can keep on fighting the good of faith. Being filled with the Holy Spirit may we be able to confidently proclaim, “I can do this all day.”