2 Timothy 4:7
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.”
The Apostle Paul was a devoted man of God. He took his faith in God very serious. He was given to us as an example of how to live for Jesus, even in dark times. This world has been dark since that serpent deceived us in the Garden. Now, we are in a fight and a race and the prize is Eternity in Heaven.
However, we have much to learn and much to conquer. Paul showed us repeatedly that our life is nothing apart from Christ. He was beaten and jailed, and he was persecuted time and time again. He didn’t seem to care about what he was walking into, only that Jesus would be glorified through the event.
Jesus is asking us to live the same way. Sure, we might not all be called to be Martyrs. But if we are living for Christ and sharing our faith in Him, we will all likely be persecuted to some degree; even if only through joking and laughing at us, followed by gossip. Paul is trying to encourage us through all his letters to keep at it, to not lose heart, and to remain faithful to the One who will give us a reward.
How bad do you want to win?
What is the good fight?
1 Timothy 6:12
“Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.”
1 John 2:16
“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”
Satan, the enemy, wants us to be filled with all that he offers. He offers money and fame and power and pleasure and all things that feel good. However, this is all smoke and mirrors. There is no true wealth or power or joy of victory through him. Instead, all there is, is death.
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On the surface, we don’t see death. We only see this as what we have and how we feel. But under the surface, in our souls, we are in a fight for our lives. Satan knows that if he can confuse us and occupy our attention through meaningless stuff, then our focus and attention won’t be on Jesus.
Why does this matter to him? Because all who serve him on earth will serve him in Hell for eternity. For every person who learns about Jesus and devotes their life to Him, will be with Him forever; this means, apart from Satan. Satan is a poor loser. He will cheat and lie and trick us into following him. He will take a win any way he can get it.
What he wants to see is us suffer in torment forever and he wants to bring anguish to God. Sadly, many don’t see themselves in a fight or a race in life. Instead, their fight and race is to get to the top of their job; to buy the big house and car and boat. But while they are fighting to gain these things, they are losing the ultimate battle; the great spiritual battle for their soul.
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What is the race?
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.”
This race that we are in is one that tests our endurance. We start out claiming Jesus as our Lord, and Salvation and Eternity as a reward sound great. However, with the struggles of life, with persecution for our faith, and with the constant attacks of the enemy, we can run out of steam and drop out of the race.
Again, this is exactly what Satan wants us to do. He doesn’t want us to keep going. He wants us to give up and quit.
To effectively run in this race, we must put on the full Armor of God every single step of the way. We must become best friends with determination and perseverance. Our endurance builds as we go. We don’t start with great endurance and stamina; we build on it as we press on and keep fighting for another step.
But soon, we find our rhythm. Soon, we find our true identity in Christ and when we learn exactly who we are, exactly what strength is in us through Christ, and exactly what we stand to gain, then we start to gain traction and speed and force and the only thing we can see is the finish line.
However, especially in the beginning, but also throughout the race of life, the enemy will be there trying to trip us up and make us fall. He will put temptation after temptation in our path. He will put distractions all around us. He will even bring hurt to our life just to get us to curse God.
This brings us back to the fight. The fight and the race are one and the same. They intermingle, and they both yield a great reward if we stand our ground. They also both yield eternal torment if we give up.
We are not in this fight and race against the enemy alone. We must understand that if we side with Jesus, and not with Satan, then we are siding with a known Champion. Jesus has already defeated death through His death and resurrection. He has already conquered Satan. The more we know about Jesus and what His Victory over death really meant, the better off we will all be in this fight and race.
How are you doing in life?
This article is meant to challenge you to examine yourself. Do you believe in Jesus? Do you strive each day to get ahead and to gain material possessions in life, including great financial wealth? If you don’t have Jesus in your life, you aren’t even in the fight or the race.
This fight is called a fight because there will be very few times throughout our life where we won’t be tempted or tested. Satan will always be right there to attempt to defeat us through deception and lies. Even more so if we try to live for Christ.
His goal is to keep us out of the fight. If he can do this, then we stand no chance of victory and no chance of Eternity with God.
Look closely at your life; is there any known sin? Is there anything that holds a high place in your life; meaning, is there anything that steals all your attention each day and consumes your every thought and your energy? If so, these are knocking you out of the race. These are disqualifying you from victory.
God will help each one of us through this fight and race if we turn to Him. We might sin; we might have things in life that are important to us. But if He see’s that we have a heart for Him, believe in His Son, and are at least trying to live for Him, He will uphold us through Grace. By trusting and believing in Jesus, we stand to receive our Great Reward.
God doesn’t tell us that we have to get through life without making any mistakes; He tells us to try and to keep our loyalty in Him.
When times get tough for you, how do you do? When things go wrong, when money is short, when someone wrongs you, do you still trust God and remain faithful, or do you throw in the towel and drop out of the race?
I spent many years doing this. Every time something would go wrong, I would throw a fit and a pity-party for myself. I would go into depression and I would beat myself up. I would soon snap out of it, but always feeling like I had to start again at the starting line; at round one.
This life will throw curves and debris in our path. But God will keep us upright and moving forward if we keep our focus on Him. The devil will be constantly trying to pull us off the right path through temptations, distractions, and even sickness.
If we strive to do what is good and right in the eyes of the Lord, He will reward us greatly in due time. As a Christian, we may or may not have much money; we may or may not have a nice home. But what all Christians have, and will have for the entire journey, is the love of God and His Holy Spirit in us to guide and direct us and to keep us moving into victory!
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you can follow this link (Prayer for Salvation) to find out how. Also, if you need prayer for your life or your family, feel free to fill out a private prayer request in the provided prayer box in this article. My wife and I would love to pray for you.