Today is “Discernment in Music” (DiM) day here at Faithful Stewardship (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV)).
April 14, 2015. Today we’ll be taking a look at “Good Fight” by Unspoken which currently sits at #17 at 20theCountdownMagazine.
We’ll continue using this top 20 song list until I find a better list. Your feedback in this would be greatly appreciated.
Today’s song is presented as a song of encouragement. The singer in the song is cheering the listener on. At points, though, the singer seems to be God but not quite. Ultimately, this song seems to have inverted our relationship with God making it about God supporting our fight and our struggles (in general) rather than us preaching and teaching His Word. The “good fight” isn’t defined in this song. The point of the song isn’t the fight, but a generic appeal to perseverance and a blanket “you’re gonna make it” so keep striving.
VEVO Lyric Video
Lyrics (via KLOVE)
Good Fight by Unspoken
Until you stop breathing, till you stop bleeding
Until your heart stops kick drum beating
When it’s hard times, when it’s long days
And the enemy is right up in your face
When your back’s against the ropes
And you’re feeling all alone
Keep fighting the good fight (never give up never give in)
Keep letting your light shine (holding it high as long as you live)
‘Cause I’m never gonna leave you
Always gonna see you through to the other side
Keep fighting the good, fighting the good
Fighting the good fight, good fight
Even in the roadblocks, even through the rough spots
When you feel you’re giving all that you got
I’m with you in the next step, giving you the next breath
I’ll be the voice saying you’re gonna make it
When you’re out there on you’re own
You are never alone
Just keep on singing, keep on dancing
Joy will be your banner and my love will be your anthem
You may never know what your tomorrow holds
But you can know that I am holding your tomorrow
Keep fighting the good fight
Keep letting your light shine
Publishing: © 2013 Centricity Music Publishing (ASCAP) / Tyrus Music (ASCAP)
Writer(s): Jon Lowry / Chad Mattson / Tyrus Morgan
The perspective of the one singing the song is difficult for me to nail down. The chorus, second verse, and the Bridge seem to be speaking from God’s perspective, but the first verse doesn’t. The first verse is a form of personal commentary, describing our life as some epic struggle. Who is the enemy? Whose enemy? If this is one person encouraging another person, okay… but if this is God singing, it just doesn’t seem to fit. The overall focus of the song is too fixed onto the individual, the listener. I think that is the song’s fatal flaw, it urges the hearer to focus on themselves, their struggle, their fight, their perseverance, their works without a clear Gospel message of “It is Finished”. The song’s focus is upside down. While there are elements of truth offered (we are never alone, God holds our tomorrow, and each breath we breathe is by His grace) they are stacked in the wrong order… with us at the top.
The “good fight” is undefined. It’s left completely open to the interpretation of the hearer. So, while the song has a “keep fighting the good fight” push, in not defining what the good fight is it leaves the listener to define it for themselves and then be encouraged in it. Is every fight/struggle/trial “good”?
Fighting the Good Fight
Our text for understanding this phrase will be 1 Timothy. I encourage you, dear reader, to spend some time today or in the next couple of days just reading through it as a single letter rather than broken up into chapters and sub-headings. The Apostle Paul is sending instructions and encouragement to Timothy, because he will have to carry on Paul’s ministry without him very soon. Let that sink in… Paul isn’t just commenting on matters of the church, he is providing guidance that will last beyond his death, guidance from God the Holy Spirit about how the Church will continue after the Lord has issued the upward call for Paul. I’m going to focus on a few passages that lead up to what Paul’s charge for Timothy to fight the good fight. This will be, as it were, a fly over of 1 Timothy.
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
After greeting Timothy, Paul dive right into the need to address false teaching. This issue is at the top of the to-do list, and it comes by way of reminder. Paul had already told Timothy when he was going to Macedonia, and now it is the first issue he addresses in his letter. This is of utmost importance. People have wandered away from sound doctrine and stewardship from God that is by faith. They’ve devoted themselves to myths (Jewish myths, Ancient Greek myths, Gnosticism, Stoicism, etc) endless genealogies (again, Jewish myths), and ultimately making confident assertions about things of which they have no understanding.
1 Timothy 1 (cont..) Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners
12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Here we see our first charge to Timothy to wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. Timothy is to take up Paul’s charge that Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. What is that good warfare? Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the sinners lost in unbelief that they might find Faith, repentance, forgiveness, and new life in Christ Jesus. The next portions of this letter start addressing conduct in the church, leadership, and worship.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV) | Pray for All People
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
He goes on to instruct how we are to pray and then gives instructions regarding general conduct and leadership roles in general. In Chapter 3, Paul gives specific instructions on Overseers (Elders) and Deacons. After which, Paul now take some time to remind Timothy of the purpose of his letter.
1 Timothy 3:14-16 (ESV) | The Mystery of Godliness
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God,a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
And so, again, what we see here is Paul’s central focus on the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the mystery of godliness. And, again, Paul shifts to give Timothy clear warning regarding false doctrines.
1 Timothy 4:1-11 (ESV) | Some Will Depart from the Faith
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. 6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things.
In Chapter 5, Paul gives specific instructions on matter of conduct within the church, how to treat the older men and women with respect, the care for widows and honor for elders. This portion carries over into the beginning of Chapter 6, where Paul addresses those who are under the yoke as bondservants. This is a continuation of what is being taught in Chapter 5, but we’ll pick up here:
1 Timothy 6 (ESV)
6 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved.
False Teachers and True Contentment
Teach and urge these things.3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Fight the Good Fight of Faith
11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession*, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.
Grace be with you.
It is clear that Paul’s charge to fight the good fight is to preach the Gospel, unstained and free from reproach, until the day of Christ’s return. So, is winning lawsuits or exposing the hypocrisy of the unbelievers “fighting the good fight”? Is championing affirmative action, or second amendment rights what Paul would consider “the good fight”? Is being accepted into a pagan society or having your Religious Preference honored by unbelievers “fighting the good fight”? While some of these things can be argued as “good”, these are not what Paul charged Timothy with in fighting the good fight. Preaching the Gospel to sinners, rebuking false teachers, and building up the Church, the Body of Christ, in sound doctrine, Resisting the doctrines of demons, myths, and false “knowledge” of this world… this is the good fight.
Amen. In Christ Jesus,