Faith (2): I fought with beasts in Ephesus 

Anthony Joshua (via AnthonyJoshua.com)

On April 29, Anthony Joshua of the UK fought the fight of his life against the veteran Wladimir Klitschko of Russia. 
But he did not just wake up one morning and thought  that was a good idea, it was a preparation of a lifetime with years of conditioning, training rigour. He did not live as he wanted, he lived a regimented life aiming for the heights.

He was at the top of his form and he fought the “good fight.”

He got knocked down on that day but got up again and outlasted his opponent.

Via skysports

We have an opponent, the devil 😈 and he could “knock us down” sometimes but we get up (the Bible calls him the adversary). 
I am not saying Wladimir is the devil but it is fitting for my illustration of the fight of faith. In the fight of faith there are different rounds.

Wladimir had been fighting and held sway as the head of the heavy weight boxing pack for a decade. He had a reputation as Dr Sledgehammer. The devil also has a reputation. Dr Sledgehammer wanted to win. So is the devil. He has the reputation for winning and has been operating for many years. 

Paul said I have fought the good fight. It’s not a fight if it is just a simulation. It’s not a fight if the outcome was predetermined. 
The fight people saw at Wembley, England was not a drama, though there seems to be dramatic twists.

We are conditioned by faith. And the kind of self-conditioning that Anthony puts himself through is very intense.

Watch this video
[YouTube

This level of conditioning is not for the fun of it.

It was a big fight between Anthony and Wladimir. And I have said you don’t get there overnight, you are conditioned for the such both privately and publicly, as you build spiritual stamina, capacity, capability. 

Spiritual growth is deliberate and about conditioning to take out the big devils.

In our victory over the devil, we are riding on the victory of Jesus over him, but it is still a real fight that can go either way, hence the importance of not neglecting putting on the whole armour of God.

Paul told Timothy, fight the good fight of faith. He wrote, put on the whole armour of God: that is the conditioning. It includes helmet of salvation (be conditioned by your salvation), the breastplate of righteousness (conditioned in righteousness), the belt of truth (be conditioned by the life of truth),  foot shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (conditioned to serve God), shield of faith (conditioned by faith in God),  sword of the Spirit, the word of God (conditioned by the scriptures). Paul added that all these should be done praying with all spiritual prayers in the spirit. Prayer is key to your conditioning.

The fight of faith is the fight for what God has said.

Note that the fight between Anthony and Vladimir was not a street fight, it was a fight in the ring, it was a fight for glory, there was no personal animosity involved. It is not a fight about someone losing his life or not. It is all about glory. And the Bible uses the word- crown for that. 

Paul said: I have fought the good fight and there waits for a me a crown. The fight is not about losing your salvation, it is not a personal hell or heaven battle, it is to win laurels in heaven.

Using the fighting language, Paul said I put my body under. Those two fighters in the ring in Wembley had to put their bodies under, they have to ignore the aches as they went for glory.

The fight was before a sold out crowd of 90000. But our fight is before the multitudes of the host of heaven. 

And in a fight the onlookers take sides. For Anthony, who is of Nigerian decent, I would have rooted for him if I was in that stadium. 

So also in the spirit, some associate with you and give themselves high fives when you win,  they celebrate. 

But there maybe more watching far from that stadium than on it. Those at the stadium are like those in the visible realm and those afar, watching on screens, are like those in the unseen realm.  

The onlookers (seen and unseen) are divided into those who are rooting for you (though not directly involved in the fight) and those who want you to fail and will he happy if you do because your failure means the man they are rooting for wins. But wishes are not horses, it is your preparation that matters. But you will leave the ring after you have won knowing that you have made many people happy. 

The preparation happens all the time, the fight does not happen all the time, but when it does you must be ready. Jesus said watch and pray (conditioning) that when your fight time comes you are ready, that you will not fall into temptation.

Prayer has a direct relevance to faith. Jude said, build up yourself your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. 

“Build up ” is the language of preparation. 

And Jesus in a parable about prayer said that if he comes, would he find faith on the earth?

I said before that the fight is not personal, it is about the word of God.  We fight for the word, the devil fights against it. 
It was the same thing in the garden of Eden, the same with Jesus as he was tempted in the wilderness.

According to scriptures, it is Jesus who has enlisted us as soldiers in his course; He is the Word of God.

Paul said that Timothy needs to not entangle himself with the affairs of this life so that he will please the one who enlisted him to be a soldier, so that his conditioning will not be compromised and his fight effectiveness reduced.

The big fight is reserved for the big ones. You qualify for the big fights. And it is not for personal glory, but God’s glory.

David qualified to fight Goliath by picking out the Lion and the Bear who came after his sheep while he was in the wilderness. 

Anthony qualified for the big fight because of where he was coming from, the fights he had won.

The two fighters have promoters who help them organise the fights. Our promoter is God and when he sees your level of conditioning he promotes you to fight at the higher fights for more glory.

God told Satan: have you seen my servant Job? He was promoting him for a fight. God is your promoter and you get to fight for more glory as you win lower fights. 
Every fight won is a territory (not geographical) taken for Christ’s sake. Luke wrote: so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. Again, I repeat, the fight is for the word of God.

Christ is the one who enlisted us. But even among the human soldiers there is a process of conditioning that everyone goes through. And the elite crop go through more intense and extensive conditioning and get sent on more specialised missions. 

For boxing, there are amateurs and professionals and the different body weight categories. 

You are called for big things in God, therefore your conditioning much match your assignment. You won’t go high in divine assignment if you dodge spiritual conditioning. And you must rise when you fall, no matter what. 

Many are called, few are chosen, means few are able to move on to higher level of conditioning needed for the higher calling, but drop by the way side (not heaven or hell issue, but spiritual glory). 

God chooses and he chooses those spiritually conditioned enough for the particular call. God does not want to have casualties on His hand because it’s a real fight. Therefore he cannot be sentimental about who to assign where.

I have set up Apostolic Training School with online version here

It is not a Bible school, it is strictly for spiritual conditioning so that more people in the body of Christ can be privately conditioned and therefore can be publicly released to take out big devils. 

Faith has been turned inwards, as a tool to get things but that is a gross underutilisation of faith. There is the good fight of faith which is ultimately bigger than that. 

Paul said,  “I fought with beasts in Ephesus.” There is more to that than meets the eyes.

He was referring to spiritual forces, because we did not see him engaging in fisticuffs while there. He said the weapon of his warfare are not carnal.

Again, I repeat, it was not a personal issue, the fight, it was God issue, bringing glory to God in his kingdom on this earth, and the crown, being the reward at the end of time, is God sharing that glory with us. There is nothing passive about a fight.

We can now understand why Paul insisted that Timothy should not entangle himself with the affairs of this world. 

The fight that Joshua led Israel into was a fight to establish the word of God over them that they have been given the land of Canaan. It was a tough fight, but the problem was that at the end of the day, not all the land was conquered because they were easily satisfied.

They did not pursue the end of what God wanted for them. There is the word of God over your life. Paul said that Timothy should “warfare” with the prophecies (spoken specific word) over his life.

About himself, Paul said: this one thing I do, forgetting what is behind I reach out for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

His fight of faith was for that, it is about to call of God, God’s plans and purposes for his life. It was not about a bread and butter, about cars and jets, which are all good,  but there is a bigger picture, there are the spiritual intangibles, territories for Christ, impact on lives.

Paul asked: What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus, if the dead are not raised?

He is focused on the glory in the afterlife. The fight of faith now is ultimately meant for glory in the hereafter, not to be able to do more than your mates by earthly parameters. 

…………………………………………….

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