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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
1. First Paul says, I have fought the good fight…I have fought the good fight. Here Paul calls this life a good fight. I’ve thought the same thing, when things are going good. But Paul doesn’t say, “I have fought the good fight, only when things are going good, and I have finished the race….” NO! He makes a blanket statement and says that life is a good fight.
When Paul writes this, he is approaching his death. He knows that he doesn’t have much time left and he is leaving his apprentice Timothy with some final thoughts.
If you know the life of Paul, you know that he did not have a grand life of wealth or popularity. He was rejected by the religious officials of the day, flogged several times and thrown in prison a time or two. Yet we find him in a cold dark cell, not moping about his situation, but encouraging Timothy!
And it’s not like Timothy was oblivious to Paul’s challenges in life, as I mentioned before, Timothy was Paul’s apprentice. Timothy was one of Paul’s closest friends, he knew about his ups and his downs.
2. Second, he claims that he has finished the race. I recently went to work out and started things off with a run around the track. I did not drink nearly enough water that day thus resulting in the beginning stages of dehydration after about 1 mile. Slightly embarrassing, but the point I want to make is that I had pushed myself to the end.
I’ve never seen an olympic race run where the runners weren’t spent afterwards. Why? They push themselves to their limit in order to run the race the best they can. In the same way I would much rather finish this race of life knowing that I put everything I could into it.
3. Finally, “I have kept the faith.” Even when he was beaten, left for dead, criticized, gossiped about, abandoned by close friends, and simply unloved…he kept the faith. It has always been easy to keep the faith when things are great, but the times of trial are when your faith can really be tested.
One verse with three powerful statements of encouragement. Fight! Finish! Keep! YOU can make it!