Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fighting Together

My continued review of Fights Clubs: Gospel-Centered Discipleship, by Jonathan Dobson (the Lead Pastor of Austin City Life Church).

In the last full chapter, “Fight Clubs: Practical Gospel-Centered Discipleship,” Dobson lays out his Fights Clubs discipleship approach. All based on . . .

The apostle Paul says: “Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim 6:12). We are to beat the flesh in the power of the Spirit: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13). These texts call us to “fight” and “put to death” our sinful patterns of anxiety, self-pity, anger, fear of man, vanity, pride, lust, greed, and so on. Upon becoming a Christian, we are inducted into a Fight Club, the Fight Club of faith. [p. 43]

What is a Fight Club? . . .

Fight Clubs are small, simple groups of 2-3 who meet regularly to help one another beat the flesh and believe in the promises of God. Men meet with men and women meet with women in order effectively address gender specific issues head-on. [p. 44]

The Three rules of Fight Clubs disciples . . .

1) Know Your Sin.

In order to beat the flesh, we have to know how, when, and where it hits. This means we need to think about the circumstances in which we are tempted to sin—rejection, compliment, late nights, standing in front of the mirror. Consider the circumstances of your sin and know the flesh. Ask the Spirit to convict you of those sins that need to be fought, to help you know your sin. [p. 45]

A second, equally important way for us to know our sin is to know why we gravitate to certain sins. Ask yourself why you are inclined to certain sins? What do you believe they will do for you? What are you desiring or valuing most when you do X? Look for the false promises of acceptance, approval, satisfaction, self-worth, significance and so on. [p. 46]

2) Fight your Sin.

The second rule of Fight Club is “Fight your sin.” Once we know our sin, we know where to strike. The challenge then is to actually strike, to beat up our flesh. [p. 46

Owen reminds us of the relentless foe we face when he writes: “Be killing sin lest it be killing you.”18 We mustn’t let our guard down. It’s dangerous to not fight. Here’s what it means to fight your sin: it is a habitual weakening of the flesh through constant fighting and contending in the Spirit for sweet victory over sin. In other words, it is constant and progressive, not occasional and instant. As my former seminary professor, Scott Hafemann says: “It isn’t perfection overnight but perseverance over a lifetime.” [p. 47]

3) Trust your Savior.

The third rule of Fight Club is “Trust Your Savior.” How do we fight? We fight, not in our own strength but with the strength of the Spirit. Romans 8:13: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” We are to fight in a particular way—by the Spirit. [p. 47]

The greatest weapon against our opponents is Spirit-empowered faith in the promises of God that have been guaranteed by the death of Christ. Don’t trust the promises of the flesh. Trust in the promises of your Savior. [p. 49]

In a final instruction about the Fight Clubs philosophy and approach, Dobson calls for a triadic pattern of TEXT – THEOLOGY – LIFE, meaning . . .

Strive to be Christ-centered, not application-centered. Jesus is sufficient for our failures and strong for our successes. [p. 49]

3 John 8
Bill H.

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