?I have fought a good fight. I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me ? the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me, but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.? -2 Timonty 4:7
Do you like a good fight? Most people would prefer not to fight. We teach our children to settle their differences in other ways because we learned the hard way that when people fight, someone will get hurt. We knew that there was a good possibility that it would be us as a child growing up, and it often was us that got hurt. We now see fighting as a sign of immaturity, as a negative way to resolve differences.
Yet, the Apostle Paul told Timothy that he had fought a good fight. Was Paul a fighter? Spiritually speaking, yes. Paul endured much for the sake of Christ. He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, went without, ridiculed, persecuted, run out of numerous towns, etc. Despite all that he lived through, Paul could stand tall and proclaim that he remained faithful to the Lord, he never compromised the Gospel or backed down from proclaiming it, even while in prison because of it.
Why did Paul do it? Why did he think it was worth all the suffering he lived through? He knew that for the faithful there awaits a heavenly prize, a crown of righteousness that Christ himself would give him when they would meet face to face. Paul had a purpose for living, he knew that what was before him was worth whatever he had to go through in this life. His eyes were fixed on Jesus. He was determined that no matter what, he would not give up, he would persevere until the end.
Life is not easy. It is full of ups and downs, good and bad times. It rarely goes smoothly. There are always times of suffering, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. No one who lives for long is immune from life?s sufferings. The faith walk is especially tough. The world does not like the faithful. Satan rules the world and is our enemy. He is out to destroy the faith of the faithful. God never promised us an easy road to heaven, but He did promise to be with us to help us remain faithful each step we take.
Live in such a way that you can say with Paul that you have fought a good fight, that you have run well the race of life, that you have finished what you started when you came to Christ, that you have been faithful to the end. Don?t let Satan get the upper hand; resist him daily. It?s not an easy fight to win, but it is a very winnable fight when you live submissively and obediently to Christ.
You won?t win if you do not finish. There may be many obstacles along the way, but you must finish what you have started. There are no timeouts in the race. Keep plugging away and you will get to the finish line and great will be your reward in heaven.