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Fight the Good Fight

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Fight the Good Fight - January 06, 2006

"I get the front seat!" I'll bet I've heard that battle cry over a million times. It's usually followed by someone else shouting, "Nuh-uh, first one there gets it!" That sounds the charge. I watch incredulously (you'd think I'd have gotten used to it after a million-plus times) as a herd of determined, wild-eyed kids dash for the coveted passenger seat of the car. Stampede! I'm usually trying to shout warnings toward the herd to stop running and watch for cars as they dart through traffic and leap over potholes. My shouts are pretty futile. The kids never hear them. Every word is tuned out and entirely too late anyway. They don't hear because they're focused on the goal: shotgun.

The kids never seem to completely grasp certain laws of thermal dynamics. They don't slow down. I watch and wince as they're plastering each other against the car door. It's a five-kid pile-up.

There's usually a questionable finish on the passenger seat race. It's a photo finish with no photo. You'd think it would be easy enough to find the winner. After the other kids are peeled off, it should be the kid who's smashed the flattest against the door. Flattest kid wins. But after some loud and animated squabbling from the pancake kids, I often end up driving home with the front seat all to myself. It's one of those Solomon-type motherly moments: "If you're going to run like crazy people through a busy parking lot, and if you're going to argue over it, then I'm going to have to cut the passenger seat in two... I mean... then you're all in the back seat."

For the duration of the ride, there are all kinds of death whispers coming from the back.

"You know I was first."

"You never said 'go.'"

"Why were trying to stomp on my shoelaces?"

It's amazing how the race can be long over, but the battle still rages on.
This life is like a battle- a much bigger battle. Ephesians 6:12-13 says, "For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand." (HCSB)

Making a stand in this life is not about getting the best seat in the car. It's fighting the "good" fight. Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (NIV) The "good" fight is never over the petty things we come up with in our own flesh. And it's not a battle we fight in our own strength, but one we fight in his strength, with the armor he provides (take a look at the battle gear in Ephesians 6:14-17).

In 2 Timothy 4:7, The Message describes the good fight as "the only race worth running." The whole passage reminds us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and His coming. It has a purifying effect on our lives and keeps us fit, ready to run toward the worthy goals. Our focus should be as clear as a passenger-side door to a herd of wildly sprinting kids.

Let's never tune out the instruction to fight the good fight. Let's not wait until it's too late either. And let's see if we can raise our kids with the passenger seat still in one piece.

Rhonda Rhea writes for dozens of Christian publications and speaks at conferences and events across the country. You can find her books, "Who Put the Cat in the Fridge," "Turkey Soup for the Soul--Tastes Just Like Chicken," and "Amusing Grace" at your local Christian bookstore.
 
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Rhonda Rhea never ceases to amaze me, she makes me laugh and cry all at the same time, while bringing home such excellent points!

Our focus should be as clear as a passenger-side door to a herd of wildly sprinting kids. Amen!
 

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