2 Timothy 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” NASB
Not only did Paul Fight as is revealed in his life and emphasized in his declaration, “I have fought a good fight,” but he also “Finished his course.” It is one thing to begin good but in the final analysis, it is not how we begin but how we finish that matters most.
Paul knew that if there was a Beginning there must be an End. His starting point was not his training in Judaism but The Cross. He understood the principle and truth of Grace that Salvation cannot be earned or bought it is a Gift of God. Paul’s life was rooted and grounded in the Truth of a song that we used to sing in church. Jesus’ Blood Can Make the Vilest Sinner Clean. Hallelujah!
Paul understood something that we need to develop an understanding of and confidence in. That to Run this Race we must be Equipped! Some scoff at me when I tell them that it is imperative that they put on the whole armor of God daily. But God has given that armament with purpose. It wasn’t so Christians could do some little exercise at the beginning of their day. It was for understanding, protection, and enablement that we could and would pull down strongholds.
Athletes learn early in their quest to be the best that the right equipment is mandatory. They also learn that proper training and exercise are essential. A part that some miss is the importance of diet. It is vital that we maintain a proper and healthy diet. No, I’m not talking about natural food but spiritual food. We are what we eat in a very real sense. If I have a steady diet of the Word of God and drink of the Spirit of God, I will find that I am spiritually healthy. If I miss meals and am helter-skelter in my approach to the things of God, I will be weak and easily defeated. Being properly Equipped is Vital.
To Finish the Race or the Course it is vital that we have a vision of the Finish Line. If we see the Finish, we will no longer fear death. It is in viewing the Finish the Prize that we are striving for that we are encouraged and emboldened and given a reason to persevere. When I consider or contrast Eternity with God to Eternity without Him, I am motivated to Fight the Good Fight and to Strive to Finish the Course.
Those two things, Fighting the Good Fight and Finishing the Course are incredibly important but do not overshadow the third part of the equation. Paul said, “I have kept the faith.” In all his trials, struggles, difficulties, and even defeats he never lost confidence in God.
When doubt raised its ugly head, he resisted and encouraged himself in the LORD. He had come to the place that he was content in anything and everything because things were not his source, and ease not his objective but God was. He did not count his earthly life as the most important but his eternity and the eternity of others of paramount importance. He truly saw death as a promotion and gain. That takes all the sting out of death and removes its power to cause fear and torment in the heart and mind.
He was not a bench warmer, he was a starter in the game of life! He fully comprehended that his labor, his efforts, his investment in others were not in vain. He believed, as should we, that God has a purpose and a plan for each of us. He believed, as should we, that God’s Word never returns void but achieves its purpose.
Paul fully embraced the truth that there is Nothing Impossible with God! In that confidence, he believed that because he was “in Christ” nothing was impossible to him either. He never allowed himself to think otherwise and we would be behooved to do the same. He addressed that confidence in 2 Timothy 1:12 saying, “…I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted Him until that day.” That is the view of victory!
Paul affirmed in his life and acknowledged here that there was more to life awaiting him after his physical departure from earth. He said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” (v.8). John echoed that sentiment saying that “every man that has that hope in him purifies himself even as Jesus is pure.”
Someone said the church is looking for better methods, but God is looking for better people. That is a powerful truth. God is looking for Warriors, not Spectators. He is looking for Finishers, not simply Starters. He is looking for those who will Keep the Faith until the End. Can He find what He is seeking in you and in me?
God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!