I Will Run … I Will Finish ….
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.”
(2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Final words are carefully chosen and should command our attention. When the apostle Paul wrote his last words to Timothy, he chose to encourage his young disciple to persevere ~ to run the long race for Christ without shame. In the closing moments of his life, Paul said, “I have fought a good fight.” He had no regrets about fighting against anything that would keep him from pressing on “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
The battle isn’t against other people, though they may be involved. The battle is a spiritual one, and the battlefield keeps changing (Ephesians 6:10–20). Yet, we are called to fight “a good fight” …..
You will discover that your struggle may be with your finances, your marriage, employment, or your thoughts and emotions; but no matter where you are called to battle ~ keep fighting. Don’t give up!
Paul goes on to say : “I have finished the course”…. There is a celebration to anticipate as we approach the finish line; not only do we get to hear those beautiful words of our Saviour: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21); He will give us our “crown of righteousness” which He has reserved for us. We also will have the joy of knowing it is done ~ I have made it, I have finished!
This is the same expression Jesus uttered on the cross in (John 19:30), “It is finished.”
Our goal is to run through the finish line, even accelerating as we break the tape!
The greatest shame of human existence is when we start something but don’t finish well. Think about it ~ you can give up on your marriage, your kids, or even on God; and you may feel a little relief at first, but give it some time; as soon the waves of “why didn’t I press ahead” …. “Why did I give up”? can overwhelm you …. You have to be willing to struggle on for as long as it takes. If you don’t cross the finish line with your family, friends, and the Lord, what have you accomplished? Nothing really; because without Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:5), and a life without Him is not only meaningless, but in vain, because devoid of Him there is no crown, no victory over death, NO eternal life …..
Paul wasn’t going to end his race empty-handed. While some had fallen away, he could still say, “I have kept the faith.” He didn’t lose it, distort it, or fail to pass it on. He kept it, and the faith kept him. Paul realized that beyond the finish line there waited an award worth far more than anything he might have to endure this side of eternity. He had his eyes on the prize: “henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.” The words “laid up” mean; ready, prepared, already on the shelf ….
His claim can be yours, too. Your crown is already on the shelf. It has your name on it. God wants so much to place it on your brow. In just a very short time, you are going to cross the line ~ that day will arrive. You can affirm the source of your crown by saying with Paul, “this crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” is mine! I will NOT quit!!
The words “love His appearing” perfectly describe the persevering Christian. Her eyes are on the future; she’s waiting for the day Christ will return, wanting to be found faithful. Does that describe you? Are you fighting the good fight, finishing the race, and keeping the faith? The day is coming, and if you are fighting, persevering, finishing, and keeping ~ your crown will be waiting …..
Something to ponder:
Which one of Paul’s three phrases; “fought the good fight”, “finished the race” or “kept the faith” most challenges you today? Are you growing weary on a particular battlefield? Are you willing to call in the reinforcements, drawing nearer to God and leaning on those He has provided to guide and support you?
Let us pray ~
Lord Jesus; I do not know if I should have minutes, hours, days, months, or years ahead of me, but whenever my time comes; I want to be found faithful. Help me to run this race with endurance for Your glory, and strengthen me daily that I may keep the faith. I confess that I desperately need Your strength in this fight. Lead me on to cross the finish line and accelerate my joy.
I know that the joy of the Lord is my strength, so please help me to do only what honors You the most that You would find my life pleasing and have joy in me. In Jesus holy name I pray, amen ….
God is with us …..