Fighting for What's Right

October 17th, 2011
Image © KWDesigns | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons license.

Real Steel, a science-fiction film directed by Shawn Levy and starring Hugh Jackman, hit theaters earlier this month. The movie, which is loosely based on the 1956 Richard Matheson short-story “Steel,” is set in a future where boxing involving humans has been outlawed and replaced by robot boxing. It follows a down-on-his-luck robot-boxing manager, Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), who drifts from place to place and fight to fight, alienating friends and racking up gambling debts and enemies.

Then Charlie learns that the mother of his estranged son, Max (Dakota Goyo), has died, leaving the boy orphaned. Desperate for money, Kenton offers his ex-sister-in-law’s fiancé (who wants to adopt Max) uncontested custodial rights for $100,000. The two reach an agreement in which Charlie gets half of his money up front and the other half after he baby-sits Max for the summer. Charlie reluctantly agrees. Over the course of the summer, Max and Charlie form a tight bond as they pit a junky sparring bot against some of the heaviest hitters in the WRB (World Robot Boxing) league. But as his time with Max draws to a close, Charlie must—for the first time in years—gather the courage to fight for something other than his own self-interest.

The “Fight” of Faith

Paul, in 1 Timothy 6:12a, tells us to “compete in the good fight of faith.” For Christians, fighting doesn’t mean proving our strength by hurting others (and it usually doesn’t involve robots). The “fight” that Paul talks about involves standing up for what we believe in and value, striving to be the people God calls us to be, and persevering in the face of whatever challenges come our way.

We all face challenges. We’ve all had times when we’ve felt tired or overwhelmed. We’ve all been knocked down, either literally or figuratively. We’ve all experienced doubts. And we’ve all been tempted to give up.

Fighting through the challenges that we face can be exhausting. But God doesn’t expect us to fight alone. God is present with us, providing for us and giving us strength and encouragement. When the prophet Elijah was running for his life from Queen Jezebel, he sat down under a bush and asked God to take his life (see 1 Kings 19:3-5). But God still had plans for Elijah and wouldn’t allow him to give up. God sent a messenger to provide Elijah with food and instructions. Strengthened and refreshed, Elijah was able to get up and face the difficult journey ahead.

In Our Corner

We are not alone in our struggles; God is always with us. But we also have the support of other people. When Israel was attacked by the Amalekites, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the battle and raised his arms (see Exodus 17:8-16). As long as his arms were raised, the Israelites prevailed. When he grew weary and lowered his arms, the Amalekites surged ahead. Realizing that Moses’ arms were the key to Israel’s survival, Aaron and Hur stood beside Moses and held up his hands.

We also need people to hold up our hands when we are tired. God doesn’t expect us to “compete in the good fight of faith” alone. Instead, we must rely on one another. We must offer support and encouragement to others and be willing to accept it for ourselves.

When we persevere in faith, we can look forward to all the blessings God has in store for us. In 2 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul writes: “I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. At last the champion’s wreath that is awarded for righteousness is waiting for me. The Lord, who is the righteous judge, is going to give it to me on that day. He’s giving it not only to me but also to all those who have set their heart on waiting for his appearance.” We, too, should fight the good fight—not with weapons and violence—but with faith and perseverance.

This post is also published as part of LinC, a weekly digital resource for youth small groups and Sunday school classes. The complete study guide can be purchased and downloaded here.

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