Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

A Reader Fights the Fight of Faith During Racquetball

The Fight of Faith

Last weekend I spoke at a conference on “How to Fight the Fight of Faith.”

Yesterday someone from the conference wrote me a note explaining how the fight of faith transformed Tuesday’s racquetball game.

His story was so helpful that I thought I’d share it with all of you.

Here’s his note —

Hi Steve,

It’s the Tuesday after a retreat that my family went to in the Santa Cruz mountains that YOU taught at (I’m the tall guy that likes to talk).

I was doing a search for the David Brainerd quote that you used in your presentation and stumbled onto this site.  Pretty funny.

Anyway, I want you to know that, in a small way, I’ve been “fighting the fight”.

Idolatry in my heart

I play a lot of racquetball and have found the game to be very revealing of idolatry in my heart, namely, that I want to never make a mistake and want to be seen as this amazing 57-year old who can beat anyone there.

When my plan is thwarted (by making a bad shot, using bad strategy etc.) I tend to get angry and yell…basically like any little kid in a candy shop whose mother has just said “no,” throwing himself down and kicking and screaming.  Yep, that has been me.

I have YOU, God!  The Treasure of Treasures!

Well, today was different.

I prayed that God would strengthen me to trust Him and His promises.

When I played, I made mistakes as usual, but I didn’t throw a tantrum.

Anytime I felt the temptation to be angry, I just said to God, “but I’ve got YOU God!”  I have God!  I have the Treasure of Treasures!

It made a profound difference. 

I never yelled, or even got angry at all.  I was at peace.  God allowed me to believe what I was saying.

By the way, my game got better and better for the couple of hours that I played.  I told the guy I was playing with (who’s used to my outbursts) what I had been doing and that it made me stay calm.

Whether I win or lose, I can be a winner if I keep God in view as the purpose for doing whatever I’m doing.

I’m looking forward to the blessings of fighting this fight!  Thank you again!

One more thought

I see my racquetball experience along the lines of how you described “fighting the fight” when someone cuts you off in traffic.  No time for deep pondering, just a quick claim of some promise of God.

In my case, I guess the claimed promise might be “I will never leave you nor forsake you”, or maybe “store up for yourselves Treasure in heaven”.

I know, by faith, that I have Him (and He has me), and He IS the Treasure, so how can racquetball success compare?

By saying to myself (and to God) “but I’ve got God” in response to my flesh’s claim that racquetball success is necessary, I’m reminding myself of that truth and my emotions follow the mind (If I’m really trusting).

When claiming a promise “doesn’t work”, i.e. DOESN’T bring about the peace that should accompany believing the promise, then I know that I’m not really trusting.

For some reason, God granted me confidence in the promises yesterday and I hope He continues to do that (I know, in the long run, that that’s the plan).

[End of his note.]

Some take-aways

His story teaches crucial lessons about fighting the fight of faith —

He did not rely on will-power

It’s easy to try to overcome anger by gritting our teeth, or trying to control our temper.

But — at best — that only subdues the symptoms temporarily.  It does not touch the underlying idolatry and unbelief.

Prayer is essential.

He prayed for strength to trust God and His promises.

Never underestimate what God will do when we earnestly pray.

He saw idolatry as the root problem.

He was trusting racquetball-player-fame as his all-satisfying Treasure.

So — when he played poorly, and undermined that fame, his satisfaction was destroyed — and he became angry.

God is his infinitely superior Treasure.

The pleasures of fame are miniscule compared to the pleasures of knowing God.

So — to fight his anger and idolatry he set his heart on all that he had in God — “I have YOU God, the Treasure of Treasures!”

As he did this — the Holy Spirit gave him such pleasure in God that the loss of fame meant nothing.

And instead of blowing up with anger — he responded with peace.

How about you?

How have you fought the fight of faith?  Share your story with us in the comments section below.

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(Picture is from everystockphoto and is by Fort Rucker.)

Category: Overcoming Sin and Temptation, Stories about Other People


5 Responses

  1. Jody says:

    I know who the raquetball player is… 🙂

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Yes, you do, don’t you!

      Reading what he wrote was SO encouraging to me — I’m glad he allowed me to post it here so others could be strengthened in the fight 🙂

      • Bob says:

        Addendum to the racquetball story: I struggled today with the fight. I tried to fight…I prayed for strength…I confessed that Jesus is the treasure, but I still struggled with an untrusting attitude and frustration. Two things occurred to me. One, I am to live by faith, not by sight, so I held (most of, not all of) my anger in check without feeling the peace that I had last week. I see this as necessary but far from ideal. Two, I deliberately sinned in my thoughts last night, knowing it was sin and continuing in it. I believe that the result of this was a dull heart today, even though I confessed and repented. There’s no getting around it, the fight goes a lot better when I’m committed to it in every area, not just a few. What do you think, Steve? Do you re-engage and have a return to peace quickly after you have sinned, or is there a climb of sorts back to where you left off?

        • Steve Fuller says:

          I appreciate your honesty here, Bob.

          Sounds like last night something besides Jesus was your treasure. You confessed and repented, which is good. Were you able to pray over Scriptures until you felt the Holy Spirit changing your heart — so once again you felt that Jesus was your Supreme Treasure?

          How long that takes varies from situation to situation. But I have found that until my heart is changed — my fight against sin continues to be a struggle.

          But once my heart is changed — and I’m feeling joy and peace in believing — then the battle is much easier.

          I hope that makes sense. I love hearing how you are fighting the fight of faith, brother.


          • Bob says:

            Steve, this may sound amazing, but it didn’t even occur to me to pray over Scripture. New habits are hard to come by and old ones die hard. However, tonight was our fellowship group, and I would say that we certainly prayed and had excellent fellowship over Scripture. As a result, I am looking forward to the battle again with renewed strength and resolve that can only be found and maintained by His grace. Thanks for the reminder to pray over Scripture. I hope to see this become a more consistent part of the fight.

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