Staying thankful, remaining faithful
For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 2 Timothy 4:3-7 From the text, the apostle Paul compared the Christian life to a race. In a race, it is relatively easy to start strong but difficult to finish being faithful. When Paul wrote to Timothy, he knew that he was in the last lap of his life. He was imprisoned and he could feel that he might not be released. Instead of complaining to Timothy about his predicament, he wrote a letter of encouragement cheering Timothy to finish the race God set for him faithfully. Paul’s strength and positive attitude were the result of a thankful heart. He looked upon his life and realized that everything he was doing were all for the glory of God. He was committed to a life of faithfulness until the end because he was so grateful for the opportunity to serve God. When he looked back at his life, all he could tell Timothy was that he did not hold back anything but gave his all to God. “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God” (2 Timothy 4:6). He saw his life not his death as an act of sacrifice for the Lord. His commitment to God was not half-hearted but a complete obedience. This is why he could tell Timothy that he has no regrets for he had fought a “good fight.” The struggle you will face because of your faith will always be worth it to fight for. Earlier Paul urged Timothy with this; “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). There will always be an opposition that will try very hard to prevent you from living the life God gave you. What will keep you strong is the grace of God that is in you when you have received Christ in your life. Take heed of what Paul told Timothy, “Be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). So if you are grateful for the grace God gave you through His death on the cross, then express your gratefulness by remaining faithful doing His will. Follow Christ’s example by setting your focus at the finish line. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work” (John 4:34).