What is a fight club?
A fight club is a group of 2-3 brothers or 2-3 sisters who get together regularly to fight the fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). They do this by knowing their sin, fighting their sin, and most importantly trusting their Savior, Jesus Christ.
These groups look differently, meet at different places and times, and do not necessarily follow a book or curriculum. They are simple, small, and focus upon being honest, genuine, and going deeper than casual Christianity.
Here are the “house rules” of the Fight Clubs:
Rule 1: Know Your Sin
The first rule of Fight Club is know your sin. If you don’t know your opponent, how will you beat him? We must become well-acquainted with the areas in our lives where the flesh gets the best of us, where we are prone to sin. Consider the circumstances that surround your repetitive sin. For example:
- Do you find yourself tempted to vanity or self-pity when lingering in front of the mirror?
- Does sexual lust or despair creep in on late, lonely nights watching TV?
- Are you prone to pride when you succeed or when you receive a compliment?
- Are you easily angered in traffic?
In order to beat the flesh, we have to know 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, 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.
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 these sins. What do you believe they’ll do for you? Provide acceptance, satisfaction, self-worth, significance? As Tim Keller says, “Get to the sin beneath the sin.” Know the lie you believe when you give into the flesh. Knowing our sin is the first rule in Fight Club.
Rule 2: Fight Your Sin
The second rule of FC 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.
Many of us have been lulled into thinking that sin is really no big deal, that Jesus paid for it at the cross and therefore we are home free. But this is not the message of the Bible. The proof of your faith is that it fights. And the flesh doesn’t give up easily. John Owen reminds us of the relentless foe we face when he writes: “Be killing sin lest it be killing you.” We mustn’t let our guard down. It’s dangerous to not fight in the FC of faith. 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. Now, here’s what Fight Club isn’t: It’s not about morbid introspection and legalism. It’s not a religious, legalistic way to impress God or get on His good side. It’s a fight for true joy, lasting happiness, for life. Consider 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.” Though fleshly living leads to spiritual death, Fight Club is ultimately about life, not death; about joy, not sorrow; about the gospel, not good works. Fighting Your Flesh is the second rule in Fight Club.
Rule 3: Trust Your Savior
The third rule of FC is Trust Your Savior. So how do we fight? We fight, not in our own strength but with the muscle of the Spirit.
Consider 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. What does it mean to fight by the Spirit? The context of Romans 8 makes clear that the Spirit is the opposite of the flesh. The Spirit inclines your heart to believe — not the promises of the flesh, but the promises of God. Not the promise of vanity to feel important, self-pity to rectify poor self-image, sexual lust for satisfaction, or anger to get justice. The Spirit wants to empower us to believe better promises, promises that are true and lasting.
So instead of trusting fleeting, fleshly promises put your faith in the promises of God. Ask the Spirit to strengthen your faith to believe God over the flesh. Look for counter promises in God’s Word. For example:
- Instead of sexual lust, choose purity of heart: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God!” God is eternally satisfying; lust is fleeting.
- Instead of vanity, consider the beauty of God: “What we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” We will see, reflect and rejoice in the beauty of God in Christ unveiled!
Romans 8:13 is also a promise: If we “put to death the deeds of the body,” we are promised life. This is eternal life, life that is vibrant and soul-satisfying, both now and forever (Rom 8:10-11). Those who trust in the resurrected Christ for spiritual and eternal life will receive immortal bodies in which they may enjoy God and his renewed creation forever. No more flesh, sin, suffering. And no more Fight Club.
The greatest weapon against our opponents is Spirit-empowered faith in the promises of God, promises that have been guaranteed by the death of Christ. Don’t trust the promises of the flesh; trust in the promises of your Savior.
*Written by and based on Jonathan Dodson’s book “Gospel Centered Discipleship.” For more info, check out their helpful website http://austincitylife.org/fight-clubs