Wednesday, April 14, 2010

“Fought”, “Finished”, “Kept”


2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. (7) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (8) Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.


As he neared the end of his life, Paul could confidently say that he had been faithful to his call. Thus, he faced death calmly, knowing that he would be rewarded by Christ. Is your life preparing you for death? Do you share Paul's confident expectation of meeting Christ? The good news is that the heavenly reward is not just for giants of the faith like Paul, but for all who are eagerly looking forward to Christ's second coming. Paul gave these words to encourage Timothy and us, so that no matter how difficult the fight seems, we can keep fighting. When we are with Jesus Christ, we will discover that it was all worth it.

In Roman athletic games, a laurel wreath would be given to each winner. A symbol of triumph and honor, it was the most coveted prize in ancient Rome. This is probably what Paul was referring to when he spoke of a "crown." But his would be a crown of righteousness. Although Paul would not receive an earthly reward, he would be rewarded in heaven. Whatever we may face-discouragement, persecution, or death-we know we will receive reward with Christ in heaven.


If you'll ask Him for it, God will give you - holy determination! It's something that God has in Him, and He imparts it to us through His Spirit. Therefore we're not quitters or the type of people who are easily defeated.

We must be determined to overcome the past; to go forward and not stagnate. We must not be afraid of difficulty - for things worth having never come easy! A good definition of determination is "being resolute or firm in purpose." That means you must commit to a thing, and then stay with it.

If you find yourself being double-minded about something, ask yourself what God said to you in the beginning - then stick with it! Don't go in some other direction because of worry, or discouragement, or the opinions of others.

You have what it takes to succeed in whatever you've been called to do! If you've accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, then His determination lives in you - because He lives in you. So fight the good fight of faith, run the race to win, and be determined to take the prize!

Here are three vitally important things you need to know:

1) You're not alone (1 Peter 5:8-9). "Be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers… are going through the same kind of suffering you are" (1 Peter 5:9 NLT). We're all on the same battlefield. The devil would love to convince you that you are the only person that has ever experienced anything like this. Why? So that you'll feel like a failure, and cut yourself off from the support that comes from fellowship with others. Don't let him do it to you!

2) Remove any hindrances! "Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God" (1 John 3:21 NIV). We all sin. The mistake is trying to cover it up. Solomon said, "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper" (Proverbs 28:13). If you're constantly struggling and being defeated, ask God to show you where the trouble spot is. Then deal with it immediately!

3) Don't quit! Anybody can begin a marathon. It takes a champion to finish one. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). Every one of us experiences adversity. There are no exceptions! But it's those who stay strong to the finish who get the reward. Pace yourself. Determine to go the distance. Study the lives of men like David, Abraham, Joseph, and Paul, and then tell yourself, "Their God is my God, and He will bring me through victoriously."


"Lord there are times I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through a difficult time or situation in my life. But I have testimonies of men like Paul who went through so much than I ever have, yet he was able to victoriously make it through the storms of life rejoicing, praising, and thanking You. He was able to do it because he FOUGHT a good fight, KEPT the faith, and FINISHED the course. Because of that he received his reward, a reward that awaits all who give their life to Jesus and FIGHT, KEEP, AND FINISH! In Jesus name, amen!"